16 April 2014 By Mick Griffin
It has been quite an astonishing month for putting Alitex action flags on a map of the world - Mick Griffin, our Installations Manager, brings us up to date.
One of our assembly teams has just returned from a trip to Norway. It took 52 hours on a freight ferry - each way - with a 7.5 tonne truck. The extreme temperatures were a bit of a shock, as was the extreme cost of a pint - £10!
Colin will be travelling to Melbourne in Australia next week to erect a National Trust Hidcote greenhouse; this will take him approximately half the time that the journey there will, and is the third greenhouse to date in the Land Downunder. This will be the furthest from Torberry that Alitex have sent a greenhouse and still never fails to impress the team.
The previous record was set in 2013,when the first greenhouse was shipped to Australia, and before that the record was held by the greenhouse in the foothills of the Andes, where a pack of dogs was kept on the ranch to chase away any panthers that strayed too close. The guys thought they had been tricked out of their money when a willing volunteer offered to get them some supplies from town and promptly disappeared, only to reappear 2 days later and explain that is how long it takes to get to the nearest town and back.
I have just returned from Northern Russia, about 40km from the Finnish border, other than that I had no idea where I was. Since returning I have been able to see my location with the aid of a GPS tracker I took with me. I know we were not as remote as the site in Chile but the roads ran out of tarmac a long time before we arrived at our destination. It was so remote that when the geese quietened down, you could hear absolutely nothing - complete silence which was both eerie and blissful at the same time. Before our return, we spent a some time in St Petersburg which is a lovely city and, as with Moscow, I was struck by the grandeur of the buildings and large streets. (The garden image gives you some idea of the beautiful gardens we get to work in.)
Another of our teams will be heading out to the USA this week to supervise an installation in Virginia and visit sites in upstate New York and Long Island. I have no doubt that with all the different time zones I will get more than one call in the wee small hours.
We have also sent greenhouses to San Francisco, Dallas, Cape Cod, South Carolina, Chicago to name a few in the USA. Nova Scotia, Sweden, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Lichtenstein, Japan and the Isle of Wight amongst others. The paperwork involved before we arrive on site can be a complete nightmare, both for Glenn in the office, who recently spent the best part of two days applying for visas for our trip to Russia, or the assemblers themselves. (Two of whom recently spent 26 hours trying to get into Switzerland as they were missing one vital form that had been missed.)
Whilst we all look forward to our overseas trips, the current sunny weather is reminding us all of how lovely it can be here in the UK... when it stops raining!
For more information on International Projects with Alitex click here.