Never underestimate the power of brute force and ignorance. With no machinery to hand, we would need to improvise. Picture the scene in the story of The Enormous Turnip where all the characters are holding onto one another and pulling with all their might. Similarly, there we were, the delivery man, my husband, Number One Son, Number Two Son, and I, all inside the van, behind the butyl, huffing and puffing, pushing in synchronisation for all we were worth. The butyl hardly moved. At best it rocked to and fro, but always came back to rest in its original position. After many futile attempts to budge it, and getting nowhere, we all needed a rest to get our breath back. A new tactic was called for.
There was the length of washing-line I had used to delineate the shape of the ponds. If we could somehow manage to tie this around the butyl, we would each be able to take hold of a piece of the line, pull with all our might and heave the butyl out of the van. The trouble with that idea was that the butyl would come crashing down onto the large red chips on the drive, and they in turn would, in all probability, pierce the butyl, an outcome we wanted to avoid at all costs.
My husband then suggested we place two planks of wood against the van so that the butyl would roll down these, as we heaved on the rope. I can’t remember exactly how long this operation took, but in the end it worked. Suffice it to say that, by the end of the operation, each of us felt our arms had grown by two inches and we had rope burns as proof of our success.