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Remove bolts and rivets

We live in France, in the Dordogne, rent a small airstrip and fly a microlight. My hubby (Bob) flies it and I take photographs. Recently the elderly owner of the land died and the land has to be sold. Since it’s part of an enormous parcel we couldn’t buy it and had to find another suitable field. Luck has been with us and we’ve found a local farmer who is happy to rent to us. The new strip is longer, wider, and only 5 minutes drive from home. Great! Just one problem – we have to move our hangar. I’ve never moved a building before.

First the roof has to come off – thirty feet long by three and a half feet wide panels of corrugated iron – thirteen of them – held on with rivets and bolts. Bob was spread-eagled on the dome-shaped roof at one point, wielding a drill to drill out the rivets. I was sure he was going to slide off the side. Later in the afternoon the sun heated the metal up and it was so hot he couldn’t crawl on it. Once de-bolted and de-riveted we had to decide how to get the first panel down, and attempted to push it off from underneath with a long ladder. It slipped suddenly and shot over the edge, hit the ground and twisted. Trying to manhandle the blasted thing was something else! I’m of pensionable age and haven’t done much physical work for a few years, and this thirty feet of twisted iron was unwieldy and heavy.

Heavy and Unwieldy

I did have one terrifying moment. I was around the side of the hangar and Bob was inside attempting to push panel number three off the edge. Instead of sliding off it skewed and fell inside the building. There was an enormous crash and then dead silence. Ghastly thoughts raced through my brain – the worst picture being that of Bob lying in a bloody puddle having been decapitated by the falling metal! I screamed his name. No reply. I tore to the door at break-neck speed and skidded to a stop, only to find him standing in a cloud of dust, grinning at me. The air was blue. Fury born of panic and dread. I was livid. ‘Why didn’t you answer?!’ I screamed. ‘It’s not funny!’ He’s still trying to convince me that there was so much dust that he didn’t dare open his mouth!


One panel left


We did eventually find it easier to bring the panels down inside the hangar. It’s taken about a day and a half to remove the roof. The next challenge will be to transport it to the new airstrip. Were hoping a friendly farmer with a big trailer will come to our rescue. But that’s for another post.