A week ago we finalised an arrangement for the two workmen to start work today (Thursday) and at that time a little rain was foreseen. Yesterday the weather forecast was 90mm of rain on Thursday and it had already started when we got up. I speculated that work would be delayed by a day but Janet said they will work in any weather. She was right. In pouring rain and dim light Luis and Jorge arrived, unloaded stout wooden poles and metal posts, and set to work placing end poles to wire my vines into lines.

First end pole

aligning metal posts

aligning metal posts

Dressed in waterproofs and wellies, I went down to the small vineyard and met them. I explained exactly what I wanted and they carefully measured out where the metal posts should go.

P1030500a  Posts are hammered in using the cylindrical hammer which Jorge is carrying in this photo. How does he know when to stop driving the post in? Use one’s built-in marker aka nose.

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When all the metal supports were in, the end poles were secured to the ground to resist tension in the wires by screwing helices with a strong metal tie-rod (pictured) 50cm into the earth, starting off in a hole 20cm deep.

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P1030511aWhat is not conveyed in these pictures is what it’s like working in heavy rain. The gritty soil from the hole slips back in from the spades as you try to lift it out, the rain goes into your eyes when you’re trying to look along the line of posts, your hands slip about on the tools. Twice the rain rate touched 8cm (3 inches) per minute; working outdoors has to stop in this.

P1030520a By late afternoon the rain stopped. The men fixed the horizontal support wires which will carry the vines tied to them.

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Each wire is tensioned with a ratchet at one end.

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The sky became dark grey to the south, it was 5pm and time to knock off. Our damp but tenacious workmen left. Two minutes later the heavens opened and down poured 2cm of rain in half an hour.

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