Been a few days since I blogged, why? Okay well when you are having the largest ever slab of concrete laid since the centre opened, and also the most expensive well theres a few words you never want to hear, words like: Rain, Delay, Cancelled, Snow, I think you get the picture.
Okay so the day before the pour at 3pm everthings brilliant, the guys are just checking thelast bit of shuttering making sure the large machinery that we will have to use will fit safely, due to the slab being so wide and long and the drainage being placed in the middle a number of factors dictated what we did and how, and as it was so long we had to have a pump to get the concrete to the correct place and a huge machine called a Bunyan Striker that levels it all. But we were ready and it all looked spot on, Chris checked the weather, may get a drizzle in the early hours after the pour, so that wouldn’t cause any problems..Okay all good to go. A hot drink was called for as the lad were freezing, I even treated them to a doughnut now that is rare 🙂
While having the drink my phone rang, it was the pump guy, “sorry mate, the pumps broken, I cant make it tomorrow” NEVER was the scream that replied, so after the excuses poured out, the panic set in, the Bunyan striker had already arrived and been paid for, all the concrete was on order for 7am and more importantly, all the lads were on site waiting…I got on the phone, but knew it was almost impossible as these things had to be ordered well in advance, so when speaking to a pump supplier called Mark Jenkinson and after telling him the problems, he said if we could guarantee being finished in the morning he will squeeze us in, Phew!!! panic over. The very next morning we were all on site at 6.30 and the pump arrived, so all we wanted now was the concrete, the rumble down the country lane indicated this was on its way so now no problems. Out came the concrete and there was tons of it and things started looking good, but then a call saying one of the wagons would be delayed a little, now that could cause a problem with the pump company and they have been so good with us we didn’t want to let them down so just agreed that if he was too late then we would barrow the last wagon, all all 40 tons of it :-} and let him get off, during this delay a spot of rain fell and like everyone laying concrete you just have to shrug it off, argh it will only be a drop, they said it wasn’t going to rain till tonight. Well the concrete arrived but so did the sleet, the snow and even more rain, there’s nothing we could do about it it was down now and Andrew the pump man felt so sorry for us knowing it looked like was going to lose a huge amount of both concrete and money, he got on the telephone and rearranged his next job so he could stay with us and God did we need it. We struggled through the constant rain and sleet and the last bit of concrete was down, but not looking good, it was impossible to cover so we had to pray that it would stop as we had another machine that needed to go over it to smooth it off, but there was no chance that was going to happen. While all this was going off we were also pouring the macaw house insulated floor and the meerkat path so a lot was going on at once.
It went dark and the rain kept falling, i had resigned myself to the fact we have lost it and there will be no option but to dig it up tomorrow and start again next week, but one of the guys suggested using the machine very late and seeing if we can at least recover some of it. So at 4.45am the following day and still in the rain we got the next machine out named a power float and started work again. Up and down, Up and down we started walking, and slowly the rain ceased and we could see a little bit of usable concrete, so as the other lads started to arrive they took over and worked this machine for 10 further hours until we had some kind of surface and now we may be able to recover some of it. Another machine was ordered and after what seems like the longest and hardest 2 days of work at the parrot zoo, we ended up with a finished macaw floor, all the meerkats paths installed and and large slab of concrete to start building our conservation centre on….Phew is a massive understatement, but got there, now the bricklayers can make a start and get the walls done, but this will have an impact on opening and has put the date back to the 1st of March.
But at least we are there, take a look at the pictures and you will get an idea of what we had to do.