Days of commemoration
My extended leave of absence has been fairly well spent. First of all scrabbling around in the mud to dig a foundation trench for the sculpture that will be sheltered under the roof. Then on Sunday the 17th spending a day with bags of ready mixed cement and gravel to mix and pour concrete into a T shaped shuttering filled with a network of reinforcing bars. While the concrete was curing I made some metal brackets to hold the sculpture on the old mine drill shafts that were driven into the ground to hold it up. On the 23rd my daughter manned the crane controls while I chipped off bits of wood and concrete to mate the sculpture with its base. This was a timely day for ceremony as it marked the 25th anniversary of my marriage to Mrs P.
After more final woodworking and going over all the timbers with the spokeshave to clean them up and remove machine marks I painted on a pale stain/preservative and was ready for the big day on Monday. Rain was forecast, so I left it a day and used that day to do a bit more staining and lift all the timber onto the truck for the big day on Tuesday. I had asked two friends to come along and help out. Sadly the almost volunteer nature of this project meant the best I could do was to offer them a day of work in exchange, but that is the nature of the friend ship. I don't think it would have been possible for the erection to have gone much better. All the measuring and surveying worked out right and the pillars and beams all went up nicely one by one. The helpers seemed genuinely satisfied to be part of the task, which was most appropriate as days like this when parts crafted over several months come together are some of the sweetest.
Even now with all the hobbling of scaffolding there is a very tranquil sense of power about the structure when one is in its vicinity. I hope that will only be gently refined as I work on completing it and then the essential scaffolding can be drawn away. I suppose I could put on the architect hat as I stand back to admire the work and pretend that I fitted in to the category, but certain qualifications are requisite and I don't feel that I was ever suited to sitting exams.
I feel rather vindicated in a belief that architecture without architects does have a place in the world as long as the health and safety men keep clear. It has been a long haul since I started gathering timber back at the beginning of July, but I think I have earned my fodder.
I believe this 26th day of October marks the end of my brother's 50th year on the planet and I can not think of a better tribute on such a day than threading a structure like this into the fabric of the universe.