The Esplanade

Several people have asked for an update on the work to create a terrace in the lower garden after the great earthmoving operations carried out in January.  Markus’s patience and persistence were finally rewarded and here he is tiumphantly resting on the first load of sleepers we brought back to les Sarziers  to hold up the shell-shocked flower bed,  (no longer much of a flower bed in fact, but it too is due for an overhaul this winter).

The saga of pinning down the chef de chantier  dragged on all over the summer but finally several things came together all in a rush.  We were kindly lent a massive trailer, (thank you Tony and Jenny), and Markus managed to get the chef on the phone and fix up a definite rendezvous at the station for nine the next morning.  At eight forty five we pulled up in front of la Gare de Lamastre, somewhat relieved that a little car was just pulling away, freeing up a space for our rather impressive convoy.  Erreur!

We picked our way through piles of twisted metal, old rails and boiler plate to reach the new engine shed and approached the foreman – another charmer and one of the band of twelve Polish workers skilled in rebuilding archaic railways and rolling stock who have been employed to work in Lamastre.  We managed to make him understand why we were there, only to discover that the little red car had contained le chef, who was now heading down the Doux Gorge and unobtainable on his mobile phone!

Fired with frustration no doubt, Markus eventually managed to get hold of him and after a jerky conversation in French and Polish it was agreed that we could load up fifty sleepers ourselves – the only slight problem being that the pile was located 200m down a stretch of track currently occupied by a four- carriage train.  Nothing daunted, Alex our saviour, handed Markus a mallet, and told him to halt the train once the red carriage had passed the points!  Meanwhile he himself nudged the rear car with his fork lift and set the whole convoy in motion.  Fortunately everything went to plan and the carriages obediently came to a halt – Markus had had visions of the whole lot careering off into the gorge and being unable to stop them!

With the help of Alex and his fork lift we were able to manoeuvre the sleepers over the rails and into our trailer and bore them home, in two trips and great triumph.

One thought on “The Esplanade

  1. Congratulations! Persistence pays off (sometimes)! It looks very nice! I also built a wall with railroad ties, because it is so much faster than rock (maybe not in your case!), but I have a lot of oozing of tar/ creosote or whatever that nasty stuff is. I will have to put something on top to be able to sit on the wall. Ky and Paul (the contractor) finished flooring theold bedroom, which had a rollercoaster floor! It’s now at least flat, but still can’t play marbles on it! Tomorrow tiling the bathroom is on the agenda! Mica cameby yesterday to celebrate an early Thanksgiving with me and Ky (she had business in Phoenix, but Alex stayed home recouperating from knee surgery of an old injury.) Happy Autumn! Love, sorella

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.