1 March 2009

sunday workday - repaving by the noticeboard

Sunday Workday - Peter, Tom, Graham, me.

The noticeboard at the gate has only recently been moved here from the opposite side of the path.  It had completely blocked views of the bed behind it but now, this side being much lower, it is much better placed.   It is so much lower because of the test pit dug by surveyors after a row of cellars had fallen in under New Compton Street in 2007.  They were looking for signs of imminent catastrophic collapse in the garden (there were none) but their 'dig and make good' hadn't and over the past year the ground had slowly slumped as it settled.  As you can see - not pretty and a 'board reading bearpit.

After tea and a slow start all the paving bricks were lifted and the area dug out to a starting level.  A layer of rubble filled the hole, bashed firm with a rubber mallet, and sharp sand spread over to bed the bricks onto.  Peter managed to reclaim a good number of whole bricks from the great excavated rubble mound - the pile of bombsite booty that swells and shrinks repeatedly but never entirely disappears.  
The bricks were laid out to match the existing path and tamped into place.  It was frustrating to cut the end bricks to fit tight as they were soft and damp and would not break cleanly preferring to shatter instead - ideally we'd use proper frost proof paviours but unfortunately we are not digging these up.  Sharp sand was brushed into the gaps to bind it tight.  Peter is convinced I am building sandpits on all the new paving - I am generous and it WILL work its way in!    
A last bit of tinkering to tuck a few bits of ox-eye daisy and some oxalis 'knuckles' into the gaps along the edge to get it going.  Doesn't that look better?

I'm sure there will be some further gentle settlement but laying the bricks on a sand bed means they can be simply and easily lifted and relaid as needed.  I like the flexibility - literal - of this simply laid, sand -bedded brick paving as it gently shapes itself to the traffic.  You have to keep an eye on it, it struggles with heavy loads, but we wont be resin binding paths here anytime soon.  Anyway, under those bricks will live ants - and I like ants.  

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