The mortar work has come to an end for the time being, rain stopped play. It hasn’t been continuous but fairly persistent for a good period of every day that I have been here. So down into the cellar instead, to create a drainage channel around the edge to encourage the water that is seeping in through the walls to flow directly into the drain rather than creating puddles all over the place.
It wasn’t a particularly difficult task, but in the near darkness and with ever heavier footwear I got a pretty good work out. The sticky mud gathered on my boots in ever larger quantities as I moved about and however hard I tried to clean it off, the next few footsteps gathered seemingly more.
The mattock that I had previously used in the garden and found to be a delight, took on new properties too, instead of the earth falling neatly off the end as I raised it up out of the gutter I was forming, it clung on for dear life, creating an ever larger clump that needed dislodging from time to time as it got in the way of what I was creating.
Another downpour outside triggered ever larger volumes of water to enter the cavern, providing an excellent indication that I had the trench falling in the right direction. After a break for lunch the water began to run clear and the puddles in the centre of the room began to drain. There was a pile of dust, lime and old mortar in the corner of the tower, most of which had fallen from when Dennis had drilled a hole through the wall, an ancient 1.5 metre thick wall, the spoil came in useful. I threw down buckets of the dry material and covered the wettest areas of the floor and left it for a while, it soaked up much of the excess damp from the floor which slowly became firmer and easier to walk on.
Thankfully Nick decided that it was no the best use of time to haul the stone slabs down the cellar steps to form the floor at the moment. He has a crowd of rugby players here for a few days in the summer and has decided that it will be a good bit of training and much better use of manpower to get them to do the heavy work whilst they are here. The cellar is going to be left to dry out for the time being and other tasks focussed on.