Neville John William Day 7 March 1922 - 26 November 1990
Dad and the North Sea Gas Pipeline
One day in 1966 a large 12 wheel low loader arrived in the yard. It had travelled all the way from Berlin in West Germany. Onboard was a brand new and enormous red and white tracked excavator, made by a company called O & K (Orenstein & Koppel).
Dad smiled. Mother didn't.
"Who is that for?" Asks Mother. Nervously.
"Us." Replied Dad in his usual eloquent, yet succinct and unambiguous style.
I will spare dear readers the body of the somewhat strained conversation that followed but suffice to say it ended in two further questions.
"What did it cost?"
"Why did you buy it?
Answer to the first above was £17,500. About £325,000 in today's money and the price of a typical house in the UK.
Answer to the second question was. "Dunno really. I always wanted one. I suppose we'll find a use for it."
This reply was of course a little mischievous. One might almost say facetious.
What no one knew, not even family, was that Dad had landed a contract to be part of a team of around a dozen 'Subies', that is sub-contractors, laying a 36" diameter steel natural gas pipeline from the north east Norfolk coastal village of Bacton then all the way to Rugby in the Midlands. A trench, sometimes up to five metres deep, across a distance of one hundred and forty miles. Along with of course the occasional river crossing and groundworks for construction of overpasses. A formidable project of national importance.
By the middle of 1968 Neville Day Plant Hire Ltd had purchased another similar machine. Together the two machines worth two thirds of a million Pounds in today's money.
Ford Consul and only a sad little grey Fergie was stepping out his onion plot on a close to bankrupt rented and no longer viable Fenland smallholding.
Lots of tales to tell about those exciting days and enough to fill another little book. If ever I can get a Round Tuit. As Dad used to say.
Chris Latham-Smith 2022.
Your details will be removed without question. No further correspondence will be entered into.