Friday 11th May. The day started well with some sunshine, almost warm enough to wear a Beazley British Fencing polo shirt – and I did, admittedly it was under a fleece by the time I reached Winchester station.Neil, Nigel, Steve and Luke left early and were on site ready to offload the lorry from Hillier and receive the rest of the materials delivered direct to site: paving, sand, blocks cement, ballast etc.At this stage we hardly need to discuss tactics – everyone knows the ropes as long as everything runs as usual. Once everything is off the lorries it’s time to cover the site in black polythene – we can then mark out the plan on the ground.
The main priority today is to get main pathway marked out and under construction; ramps have to be built to cope with the monument plinth.The standard of construction has to be A1; a lot of feet will pass along our yellow brick road during the show and we can’t have rocky slabs and an uneven surface. The stone for the path has been designed and made by organicstone and Brian arrives on site to supervise its installation.
We also need to get the base for theM&M Timber gazebo down ASAP – this is being constructed in less than 24 hours time so we want it as firm as possible before the M&M crew start work.The big trees also arrive on site on Saturday.We have to get these into position before the pathway is completed otherwise the paving would be damaged.
My priority on day 1 on site is to plan the positions of these trees – one they are placed they have to stay put. It’s not easy moving a 600 litre tree that’s as high as the monument so it is essential that they are put in the right place when they arrive.
It is funny – however negative I feel about doing yet another Chelsea when I arrive on site and meet up with a few members of the Chelsea family I feel quite different. It’s good to be home – back on Planet Chelsea. This is a virtual world far from reality – so here we go again – beam me up......