With the hitch professionally welded back together and back in place, M. Bouger returned this evening to move the crane the last few feet into position.
To give you an idea of the constraints - the road is eight feet wide with a steep embankment on one side and a slope down to the river on the other; the crane is just under eight feet wide and 32 feet long and the platform is at a 90 degree angle to the road.
The crane's front wheel had sunk about a foot into the gravel platform but without even revving the engine, M. Bouger pulled it out and then, in a show of tractor gymnastics worthy of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, pushed it back into place. The tractor wheels just seemed to have lives of their own. When M. Bouger asked if he could leave the machine here over-night (BB said he could leave it here for as long as he liked - with the keys), he reversed it up the embankment at a 45 degree angle while the ten of us stood there gawping.
So, the good news is that the crane is finally in place. The bad news is that, to his list of toys of three motorbikes (including one 30-year old Laverda 500 which has never been ridden because it won't start), one mountain bike (brand-new and ridden twice), one pair of snow shoes (brand-new and never used), six pairs of skis (a new pair each season), one rusty old crane (never used) and one Ural sidecar (on order but will no doubt be ridden twice), BB wants to add a tractor. I've said we can discuss tractors when the house is finished - which at this rate will probably be in ten years time!