Expression is an extraordinary thing.
You generally think of an earnest way with words: written or spoken. But physical gestures are also of equal importance & can convey such meaning that words are not required. Certainly, whilst our goats don’t actually speak they can tell us exactly what they mean with a glance, a tilt of the head, a subtle movement or particular posture. And it’s the same with people.
I watched in fascination & awe today as Iwan & ‘Zac carefully manoeuvred the second of our two twenty-foot non-op reefers (stainless steel-lined refrigerated shipping containers) into place beside the Dairy Complex. Once again, we’re practising the ultimate in recycling: the containers will eventually house our new Process Laboratory, where we’ll craft our gelato. Owing to the narrowly twisting lanes leading to the Ffarm – & the even narrower drive to the steading itself – we could not have moved a single, 40ft container here, which would have been the otherwise ideal solution. So we’ve had to do a bit of literal ‘thinking outside the box’; & that’s just what Iwan & I did, one typically overcast summer’s evening a couple of months ago….
“Well, I doubt we could get a 40-footer down your drive; but we might get it down the fields, at a push….” Iwan scratched thoughtfully at his chin. “Once the hay is cut the ground should be dry enough so it shouldn’t be a problem.”
I glanced anxiously at the sky. Call it seventh sense, female intuition or whatever; but I wasn’t exactly getting a warm & fuzzy feeling where this year’s allegedly impending harvest was concerned. I pondered the hefty doors of one of the many containers in front of me on Iwan’s yard.
“When we were trying to get inspiration from the Internet I noticed there were a few companies doing all sorts of things with shipping containers – even turning them into multi-storey offices, that sort of thing. They actually looked pretty smart; & from the inside you wouldn’t realise it was a container for a moment. Is there any way of joining them together, perhaps….?”
There was an expectant hush. Iwan gazed carefully at the container we were casually leaning against, casting an expert eye over every join, every bolt, every seal.
“Yeah, I suppose so….it’s an interesting idea, anyway.” Suddenly he became fired with excited enthusiam. “D’you see the back of this refrigerated container that we’re about to deliver, to your place?” he gestured abruptly towards the smooth-sided container which had evidently seen plenty of action on board many a high sea, judging by the sun-bleached paintwork. “Now, look at the back of it, where the freezer unit is located. It’s just bolted on, see? We could remove that, pretty easily I should think…..” his voice tailed off, lost in thought. So it could, possibly, be done; & the light at the end of the very long tunnel we’ve been groping down for so many months now, was finally flickering into life once more.
I returned home full of gabbling excitement to explain the good news to Tony.
Gesticulating wildly, I babbled excitedly as he calmly trudged between the goat pens, patiently sloshing water into the metal buckets with this seemingly unending chore.
“….so you see, it can be done!” I concluded in triumphant breathlessness.
“What can?” he inquired casually. “you were babbling so much I couldn’t make any sense of what you were saying.”
Hmmm. Testiculating, that’s what my Blogosphere friend Mopsa, calls it: talking bollocks whilst waving your arms around. And it would appear I’m exceptionally good at it. Only on this occasion – for once – I was actually talking SENSE.
Meanwhile Iwan was a Man on a Mission: having delivered the first Reefer, purchased from our dear friend & producer of the UK’s original goats’ milk ice cream, Warren of Caprilatté (of which said Reefer’s ‘tackle’ is still, thankfully, fully functional & will ultimately furnish us with a fantastic walk-in freezer) he was now intent on securing us a second similar ‘beastie’ to link up with Warren’s original container.
It took some finding, for a fair price….but if anyone can, it’s Iwan; & bless ‘im – he did, for us. After a brief ‘holiday’ at the Pembrokeshire Show, our new container then endured a wee bit of ‘cosmetic surgery’, with the redundant freezer unit being cut carefully away before the now denuded container was delivered here, to its’ new home.
This was an anxious moment for all of us: dropping off a container is never an easy job, especially on a site like ours. Once upon a time, the site looked like this….
….but the levelling of the groundworks for the new Dairy Complex has dropped the base of the southern end of the site, by around 15 feet / 4½ metres. So rather than resting the containers on a level site, they’ve had to be lowered into their new postitions…by machine AND, by hand.
And with the noise of the crane drowning out the possibility of any speech Iwan & ‘Zac had to work together with only a few hand signals or jerks of the head to guide them. It was fascinating to watch. First, the original container had to be picked up & turned around 180 degrees so that it was correctly oriented against the other. Then the second container was carefully dropped into place. The whole thing took a remarkably short time; & Iwan’s wry comment about this being a “Friday afternoon job” – i.e. one where things were most likely to go wrong – proved thankfully unfounded.
Unfortunately though, meanwhile, Dyfrig – who was excavating more of the trench for the irrigation pump pipeline – managed a ‘Friday afternoon job’, all of his own; slicing through the telephone cable & rendering all lines of communication to the Ffarm, immediately useless. Thankfully Tony has somehow managed to patch together a temporary repair; as the last time a line was damaged, it wasn’t mended for around three weeks.
So at least I’ll be able to continue testiculating, after all….!