CM918 Setup Day and Day 1
Friday 21st was our setup day, so a small group of us started off at our store at West Liss at 9.00am ready to load the equipment into Mark's van, Arthur's trailer and our cars to take across to Colemore. I actually got there at 8.30 and found that John (in whose outbuildings our store is located) needed to go into Liss to collect his car after its MOT, so I gave him a lift to the garage by the station. When we got back the other helpers had arrived.
Meanwhile Juliet was over at the site, getting all the other helpers organised and signed in. We were fairly concerned because although the heavy overnight rain had stopped at 6,30am, the local forecast was still for strong winds in excess of 40mph between 11.00am and 3.00pm, so we needed to get a move on with erecting out tentage.
The first vanload and all our cars were in fact loaded up by just after 9.30am and we all drove across to Colemore. Mark spread out a tarpaulin onto which all the equipment was offloaded, to avoid it getting wet from the damp grass. David Bale's tent had survived the gales of the night before.
While Mark then drove his van back to Liss to collect the remainder of our equipment - mainly tables - the rest of us got on with putting up the tents while Juliet supervised the mini-digger's removal of turf and topsoil. Our first priority was the store tent so that we could get the equipment under cover, and our second was to get the generator and hot water urn going so we could have a brew! We had a few problems with the generator; it was working all right but there was no power going through to the urn. By trial and error we discovered that only one of the output sockets works and managed to get the hot water on the go.
I then organised the erection of the finds tent, which also went up very quickly so that Soo could start transferring all our finds gear into it: tables, chairs, trays, baskets, racking and so on. Then as we approached the forecast time for gales we quickly assembled the frame of the marquee - without making some of the mistakes we usually make, such as forgetting the cross-braces. The marquee's cover was fitted, the roof lifted into place by its supporting poles and then we had a tea break. Then some got on with cleaning and stocking up the toilets while the rest of us fitted the marquee's side panels and doorways.
Once the marquee was complete it was lunchtime and Mark had returned with the rest of the equipment. Fortunately, although it was breezy there was no sign of the very strong winds. Mark got on with anchoring the marquee with huge anchor pins and strapping, I moved the rest of the finds fear into our tent, and after lunch the other volunteers went over to start stacking the turf from the three trenches that had been done by the mini-digger.
At this point it started raining fairly heavily for a brief time, despite the bright sunshine, and we were treated to a double rainbow.
The rest of the afternoon until 4.30pm was spent continuing to stack the turf and fence off the areas around the trenches with road irons and mesh fencing (which acted like sails in the strong breeze). The mini-digger was really struggling with the very hard soil, following the recent dry weather, so the decision was made not to finish off the 6th trench and to call it a day.
I arrived on site at 8.30am with more of the finds equipment that is stored in my garage and also the projector equipment that David Pink had asked me to bring for him for the forthcoming pottery workshop. Carl arrived soon after and we carrid on with setting things up. The day's participants started arriving soon after and I learnt that we had four people who had not been at Colemore before. After the daily briefing Juliet wanted to get everyone over to the trenches as soon as possible because the forecast was for rain to set in from late morning, so we need to get as much done as possible before the weather deteriorated.
Over at the trenches the first tasks were to finish stacking the turf and erecting the fencing, then to accurately measure in the trench corner co-ordinates as dug by the mini-digger, followed as soon as possible afterwards by tidying up the trench edges and levelling the bottom of the trenches. We made good progress but at about 11.00am we started to get heavy rain, so after tea break I gave the usual background brief and guided tour to those new to Colemore. The rain eased off a little so we were able to get on again as seen here:
The day continued in the same vein with measuring the position and height of the corners and tidying the trenches. Juliet pointed out that soil colour changes were particularly noticeable in this trench once it became damp - notice the orange clay nearest the camera and the darker band curving across the trench - whilst the shape reflects the shape of the feature seen in the geophysics scan:
By 4.30pm the 5 or 6 of us that were left were getting cold and very wet. We had done very well in the conditions and it remained only to measure one of the trenches the next day. I was really pleased to get home and warm up under a hot shower.