We made a picnic of it, though

What followed was a patient drill to position the three RCC piers. They had to be the same distance from the bore well hole. And they had to be equidistant from each other. The four screw studs in each of the piers had to be oriented to the centre in a precise way. All this was important, so that when the windmill tower arrives the holes in its footings will drop precisely into place. We used wooden props to hold the piers in place and to fine tune their relative positions. wMillFoundationThat took a lot of nudging the piers, lifting and re-placing and walking round and round with a measuring tape. Finer concrete was then poured to integrate the footings with the piers.

By the time we broke for lunch it was 3.30pm. The work described in the above two paragraphs had taken 6 hours to complete. That includes an hour lost when we ran short of a bag of cement. Poor Babu Reddiar had to make a 3 km run to his field store and fetch a bag in his tractor. On the way back he was buttonholed by a friend for a 20 mins chat as the crew sat around in the sun waiting for cement. That’s life in rural India.

Palani and Sridhar took off for another proposed windmill site. Babu was happy to be released for the day. The remaining 8 people headed for a well in the nearby coconut grove for the packed lunch. We were a motley group of mixed up castes. It must be an unprecedented event for that conservative belt [-being a Sunday, the lunch was not witnessed,for any jaw to have dropped] : there were 3 Dalits, a Muslim, 2 intermediate caste men and a Brahmin, sharing lunch and having a good time. We had decided to make a picnic of the day.

When we arrived at the storm water ditch where the pipes lay haphazard culvert[photo] it was 4pm. We unloaded the rig that Venu had fabricated from my description of the job: 4 pipes lying random had to be aligned in pairs with a ring between them and set in two rows. Venu’s rig was clever: a pair of screw-jacks that would push up the ends of a beam. From the beam a chain dropped and went around the 300kg pipes. The idea was to lift a pipe at an end, slip the ring over it, dig a trough in the ground to receive the ring’s 2″ thickness and then lower the pipe. The second pipe was to be manoeuvred in line with the pipe plus ring. and then pushed along its axis to enter the ring. Repeat with the second pair

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