Sunday, 7 August 2011

Something big this way comes...

Something large, noisy, yellow and mechanical arrives... it is busy digging on The Moor.

'The Boy' (Brian, 49) looks on. Occasionally there's a 'toot toot' from John JCB in the digger for 'The Boy' to move a flagstone or assist in some other way. The first of two 'scrapes' has been dug. They must be five metres across; shallow scrapes as new watery habitat for our newts and frogs.

John JCB likes 'The Boy' and has telephoned to check he'll be around this weekend and not working. 'The Boy' lops tree branches off so they don't scratch the digger and gets a Murray Mint as a reward.

John JCB sculpts the second of the two scrapes. This one is fed by a sparkling spring. We stop thinking 'frogs' and start thinking 'ducks'. John JCB realises he has an audience of two women and two little girls and chases 'The Boy' with the bucket. He looks over at his audience with a cheeky grin as 'The Boy' dives for cover.

There's tremendous skill to wielding such a machine. John JCB uses the bucket like it's an extension of his arm. Yesterday he cleared the lambing shed with his other digger and piled the manure in the garden (it looks like Everest at the moment, but it will rot).

The stream is trickling clean, clear water into the 'scrape'. We note how deep it is, stop thinking 'ducks' and start thinking 'wild swimming'.

Just a final bit of patting and sculpting. Edges cannot be left untidy, John JCB is a craftsman. He's also a character - I once had a whole conversation with him where his gaze never left the comfort of my cleavage while he regaled me with tales of 'f***ing this' and 'f***ing that' with my two little girls listening in with wide eyes and big ears. I'd love to think of him meeting the Queen, I'm sure he'd say something (in his broad Pembrokeshire accent) about the 'f***ing weather, Ma'am, while gazing happily at the Royal bosom.

The side effect of digging - useful flagstone sized bits of slate.

The liberated stones piled into the garden. They've been slumbering underground for who knows how many years. Now they face a new life over ground as part of our garden.


  1. How funny - and how interesting! I hope your frogs and newts appreciate the care and skill involved in creating their lovely new home.

  2. Oh mags I love this. South and north Wales are more similar than different. I love the skill of a true jcb operator and think our septic tank man (locally known as stan the smell although incomprehensibly called ieuan) would have lots in common with him.

  3. Off to a "rocky" start — which was a good thing for you in the end. John and Brian made a good team.
    I'm sure the aquatic creatures will enjoy their new home.
    Your bit of Pembrokeshire reminds me a portion of Central Ontario, part of where I grew up. Rocks, trees, rivers, large grassy spaces. Ah, yes.

  4. Your post did make me laugh!

    I`m sure your pond/ scrape/ wild swimming pool will give hours of pleasure to you and a wonderful home to all sorts of wild creatures. I love sitting by a pond and watching life in that "other world".

  5. Ah, we've got one of those Digger-boys too. He doesn't swear, but he's lecherous! He now has a new nick-name after trying to barter a few tons of top-soil for ahem, services rendered from one lady he's worked for! I hope you get lots of frogs and newts now. We had an incredible amount of frogspawn here this year, plus toads and newt-spawn too.


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