26 September 2010 (Sunday) - Sound Mirrors
Brian had phoned in the week to ask if I’d help him with lifting some furniture about; he had a nice man coming with a van to collect some bits he no longer needed. So after a quick bit of brekkie I wandered round the corner to his house. As always we started with a cuppa, and then we got some wardrobes down the stairs. There was a dodgy couple of seconds when I was trapped under a wardrobe, and another dodgy five minutes when it looked like we might be resorting to our old friend “Mr. Hammer” to encourage a wardrobe to go round the banister, but eventually all was well. And so we had another cuppa before taking a cupboard off of the wall. It didn’t want to come, but it soon changed its mind after a gentle bit of persuasion from our old friend “Mr. Hammer”. With the cupboard down we put the tumble drier where the cupboard had been. Moving tumble driers is thirsty work, and so we stopped for a cuppa.
And then the nice man arrived (with his van) to collect the furniture. He took one look at all of it, and then went mental. His ex-wife had asked him to collect the stuff, and had told him there were only two flat-packed wardrobes. There were actually three wardrobes, two bedside tables and two chests of drawers. None of it was flat packed. Whilst he phoned his ex-wife and had a major domestic, we helped his son load up the van. I did laugh when we couldn’t get it all in. As they drove off the nice man’s son said they’d be back soon to collect the rest of it. And so we drank another cuppa as we waved goodbye to the van. We then spent half an hour moving furniture into the front room into the space vacated by all the wardrobes and stuff, and soon enough the van was back. Minus the nice man. His son was driving and he’d found a friend to help him. I didn’t like to ask what had happened to his dad in the meantime. By now there were no parking spaces outside for the van, so they just pulled up in the middle of the road and blocked the traffic in all directions whilst we wrestled the last of the furniture into place. With the furniture all gone my work was complete, and so after a final cuppa I left Brian hoovering up the mess we’d made and I came home for some lunch.
‘er indoors TM had been mucking about on the Internet and had found that there was a guided tour around the Dungeness sound mirrors this afternoon. As we had nothing else planned we thought we’d give it a go. Dungeness sound mirrors were built some eighty years ago as an early warning system designed to hear the approach of enemy aircraft. Within ten years of the instigation of the project, the invention of radar made the entire concept of sound mirrors redundant. But the afternoon was an interesting look round “what might have been”.
The weather was awful, but it was either the sound mirrors or sitting around at home. The sound mirrors are on an inaccessible island on private land which is fenced off by barbed wire. The locked gates and swing-bridge to the island are only opened to the public three times a year, so it would have been a shame not to have gone along. Something which rather sold me on the idea was that bearing in mind how awful the weather was, not many people would want to brave the elements. We thought that there might be maybe half a dozen other brave souls who wouldn’t mind the rain and would also come along on this walk. The chap leading the walk did a head count as we crossed the bridge onto the island where the sound mirrors were. There were one hundred and ninety one of us. Although we got soaked it was a good day out. At every point along the way we stopped and listened to experts telling us what we were looking at. My only regret (apart from the awful weather) was that we didn’t have enough time to let friends and family know about it, but we only had a couple of hours notice of the event ourselves. Next time will be different….