Bertrand and Lionel returned as promised and laid a white carpet of felted geotextile membrane. THis will stop the mud lifting through the stones and keep the stones from drifting downwards into the soil. It looked almost too clean and neat to cover with stones but it disappeared soon enough with the first four cubic metres of stone. They spread it with the digger whilst the lorry headed off for the second load. Three hours later it was all done, or so they thought. I was encouraged to get the van and give my new drive a go.
I rounded the corner, with slight apprehensiveness and started to climb. The corner was tight but achievable, but I didn’t start with enough speed. I stalled, then dropped back to give it another go, foot down, the wheels spun in the stones digging an impressive hole. OOps. I dropped back again and realigned Percy managing to overcome the slope and get to the top without further problem. After much gesticulating and tutting it was decided that the campervan was rather heavy and had a long wheelbase - yes, I could have told them that in the first place. On top of that it’s turning circle (I forget the french for that) was rather pathetic. Yes, I know that too. So all was not good, they had a little discussion and came up with a proposition. To acquire some tarmac and add a thin layer to the bottom of the drive, just enough to take in the worst of the corner and give traction till the wheels had time to straighten out again. They’d head off and have a look on Monday, but it would cost another hundred or so euros. I agreed and they went off home for the weekend.
About twenty minutes later as I was busy with the terraces again, leveling the soil and positioning some plants to go in, Bertrand and Lionel come hurtling up the road in a pick up, overshoot and reverse straight back onto the drive. They had come across a highway team, some of Lionel’s colleagues (from his real job) with just enough fresh warm tarmac to do the job and they were finishing for the day, what an opportunity, not to be missed. They got on with spreading it out and rolling in into the gravel sub-base just as promised. The roller hadn’t yet been collected thankfully. It looked rather smart and a bit over the top for a rural driveway, but if it does the trick I’ll be a happy man.
“Leave it a few days, and water it well” I was told. It’s a new formulation with ‘eco’ oil products in it, whatever they are. It was sticky and moved about under foot, so I vowed not to abuse it for a week and continue to do my turning round up the road just till it is right solid. We had a beer to celebrate and they went away again, happier that they had completed the job in it’s entirety and confident that they’d done the best they could. Fair play to a bit of later evening work on a Friday in the land or rules and can’t do’s.
|it's going to change the landscape fast, that one|
|overnight, with Percy in the background|
|it feels so bare and open|
|stabilizing in progress|