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Thursday, 4 July 2019

Spelunking

Spelunking - a delightfully silly word which sounds much dafter than the English version of potholing.

Potholing - a word which, whenever I hear it, has me asking (usually loudly) BUT WHY?   Why the hell would you want to . . . It's not that I am disinterested in geology, but claustrophobia and going underground into confined spaces just don't mix.  I can no longer get on an aeroplane, and forget using a lift (that's what stairs are for).  So it came as a monumental surprise to both Management and ME when this morning I found myself suggesting I got appropriately dressed and braved the confined and cobweb encrusted voids under our house.



We have found a new plumber/heating engineer who seems unfazed by many of Bag End's idiosyncrasies and one task he agrees would be worthwhile is to rummage about under the house where access is possible, and put new insulation on as many pipes as we can reach.  This is a thoroughly horrible job which other trades have agreed to do, but never actually completed.  Having spent nearly an hour under the floor this morning I cannot really say I blame them.  Some of the spaces are a metre tall, but the main access is about 12" and requires a belly-crawl.



A bit of a survey was needed, and one that we were in charge of, not someone else emerging covered in cobwebs and dirt saying "yeah, 50 metres ought to do it".



So off I went, and took as many photos as I could (which don't even begin to show how dusty and messy and generally horrible it is) but of course once back in the real world and cleaned up it was apparent I might need to do it again; oh the joys of an old house 🤬.  And there are big sections where access is frightful and getting materials in would be a nightmare, so I've suggested a Plan B.  Plan B will cost five times as much and take eight times longer but I think might be worth it.







Remember that big bit of wall under the bedroom window - behind it is a big void.  I'm thinking large hole in the wall with a lintel, door and a padlock . . .   just need to find a co-operative builder.













18 comments:

  1. You are so brave! There is absolutely no way I could make myself do that - claustrophobia fear and of spiders to name two reasons.

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    1. Thanks Eileen. I admit it was not fun, and I only made it about half way along the house before I knew I couldn't face any more. Management was within shouting distance all the time and very supportive. I felt worse after a shower and a pot of coffee - adrenaline/shock at what I'd done kicked in and I had to sit down before I fell down!

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  2. Dear Jayne
    I am with you on the potholing - Why?! Good luck with this (it sounds like it will be a big project, but worth it in the end).
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. Hi Ellie - did you see that Steve Backshall documentary recently where he went cave diving? Ye Gods . . . underground AND underwater, certain death if any little thing went wrong. WHY??? (Yes, I know the answer was exploration, knowledge, they were researching pollution spread through a water course, but even so???)

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  3. Now I can relate to all of the above phobias, but apart from the stressful lead up to some, I grit my teeth (literally) and do it. I can go in a large caving systems, but really confined spaces......NO! Whatever you decide to do, ho[e all goes well. Take care.

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    1. It was a spur of the moment decision Susan, if I had planned it in advance and had time to think about what I was proposing I would have had time to bottle out!

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  4. Now this is where you should have sent for me - that sort of thing is just up my street and something I would do just because it's different from the norm and slightly crazy :) I remember my dad sending me under the floorboards when I was a kid, he was rewiring the house and needed a length of cable passing from one room to another. Well done for braving the cobwebs and tight spaces anyway, I hope the next part of the project turns out well :)

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  5. Never been a house with space like that under the floorboards - how strange. I thought floors were all concrete nowadays.
    Well done for getting right in there to have a look. Did you have one of those trolley things for getting under a car?

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    1. Sue, it's an old house built on a slope. There's no gap at the back of the house and about a metre at the front.
      A mechanics trolley sounds a great idea, but the ground levels are too uneven.

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  6. Rather you than me. I never understood the appeal of potholing either. Just the very thought of it has me freaking out. X

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    1. Years ago we went down Gaping Gill, and if you get the chance to do that then it's quite an experience, but the cavern is VAST, almost incomprehensibly huge. But why anyone would try to slither through those narrow 'squeezes' beats me.

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  7. When I was teaching I had to pothole and abseil when taking my class on a residential visit to Askrigg. For potholing add water to the mix. You can’t bottle out when you are the adult though.

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    1. Oh, that's way beyond being a good teacher ... and yes, you could have declined but well done for going through with it.

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  8. Eeek, that's not for me, clambering around in such a confined space. I went potholing when I was on an outdoor pursuits course with work, I can't say I was impressed.

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    1. Well, at least you've had a go, which is more than I would be prepared to do!

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  9. EEK! Very brave of you. My husband did the same a few years back and had a hell of a time getting back out (I was contemplating phoning the fire brigade at one point) so if you have to enter this claustrophobic hell a door you know you can get out of seems eminently sensible to me.

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    1. Cheers K. It's only really a claustrophobic hell in the horrible narrow access channel. If we can get directly into the rooms at the front of the house by a different route then although things will be mucky and awkward, they won't be quite so intimidating (well, that's the plan). Glad your hubby managed to get out - that sounds pretty hairy.

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