‘Ash’ is leaving us at the end of the week, taking some holiday time before going back to university. He had sent us his CV a month ago, a conservation student at Aberystwith looking for work experience. More often than not we cannot match the requirements, but his list of experiences included work on revetments, and we had a weir to repair.
This weir repair has proved a bigger job than expected. We tried a number of techniques, sandbags, shuttering, to hold the water back while we plugged the leak; none were successful. I approached two civil engineer friends, but their suggestions would have cost thousands. Eventually we dug down and unblocked the channel which runs under every such structure and the work went ahead. In all those early efforts I was a failure; I am the ‘elder statesman’, the guy who rebuilt the weir when it was totally collapsed nearly forty years ago. and I didn’t think to suggest unblocking the channel! Time to hand over to a younger generation? Probably so, if I could find any youngsters not fully occupied with their own affairs.
Alongside the weir Ash has helped with other projects. He has cleared out an empty house in Derby, demolished a brick wall in Melbourne, pumped out a blocked sewage tank here at Staunton. Dust and mud and muck has been his lot with us. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that, back in Wales, he has switched course to accountancy or biometric science.