Tales from the Theatrical Woods: Chapter 15

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22 February 2017

Stuart Robinson, the site manager at West Horsley sets out each day from Andover at 5.00am and is on site by 6.00.  It is still dark, but those living in site accommodation are beginning to stir and by 7.00 the site is active again.  Stuart has worked with Martin Smith, the opera house builder, for over thirty years.  He runs the site, ensuring appropriate plant is in the right place at the right time, materials deliveries are coordinated and correct, and the labour and skills are on hand.  He personally has set out every part of the building including the structural steel which needs to fit together with absolute precision, and, as we have seen, it was spot on.  When I left to return home the other evening he was busy with cutting disc, laser and spray can setting out the locations of the stepped reinforced concrete slabs that form the floor of the stalls.  These are the last major structural components to be installed.

“He’s like a Duracell bunny” observed Martin as he looked across at Stuart on his hands and knees in the gathering gloom.  “He keeps going.”

Rabbits… suddenly they are at every turn on the lawns, down the paths and in the woods.  The birds, oblivious of construction cacophony, are singing in the trees, underfoot there are great drifts of snowdrops, the hazels have sprouted yellow catkins and the willows bunny tails.  Spring is stirring down in the West Horsley woods.

David Lloyd Jones