I don’t know what the neighbours thought, but me and the Neanderthals have spent the morning rowing a large box full of stone chippings round the garden. I told them there was beer underneath.
Gordon, it works like a dream. And there were several things about it that I hadn’t realized:
First, the weight of the oars themselves helped considerably in the lifting process, so the effort involved is amazingly small – as indeed you said it was.
Secondly, it’s JUST like rowing (as indeed it ought to be since it’s almost the same process) and the good thing about that is that you can keep the stone straight, and steer it, almost intuitively by putting more or less effort into each stroke compared with the person opposite you. It’s like being side by side with someone in a boat, each with an oar, you just automatically co-operate to keep it straight.
Thirdly, I hadn’t appreciated that you could repeat the rowing action a number of times without stopping and re-positioning the oar. If you get it right the stone can be kept moving with hardly a pause between strokes.
At the end, one of the Neanderthals said “rollocks!”. I think he may have meant that if you had notches for the oars cut into the fulcrum logs then you’d be able to row even faster. It may have been through finding no beer though.