Sunday, February 12, 2012
The hole truth
The Goat hasn’t needed an alarm clock for several weeks. New electricity cables have been being installed in the street outside his flat since the summer, and the inexorable progress down the road is now having a direct impact on the Goat’s lifestyle.
Every day at exactly 6am, the contractor’s diesel engines are all started, and gently warmed up by revving them to the red line. The compressor powers pneumatic tools, so at 6:05 the jackhammers start. At least the contractor waits until spot on 6:30 before starting with the pecker attached to the excavator. VroomVroom! DinkDinkDinkDinkDinkDink! DinkDinkDinkDink! There isn’t even any respite by going to the office: there’s a vast hole in the plot next door to the Goat’s office block and, six floors down, three excavators spend all day pecking away at the native limestone, as they create space for a third basement level for a new building. VroomVroom! DinkDinkDinkDinkDinkDink!
To the Goat’s delight, he noticed last week that some lines had been spray-painted across the frontage of his apartment block. Clearly, digging a trench on the other side of the road wasn’t going to be sufficient, and the contractor had plans for works on both sides.
Getting home after dark has for many months involved weaving down the street and avoiding potholes, plastic barriers, road cones, and flashing orange lights. Last Thursday morning the situation became worse, because a bloke in a hard hat and carrying a red flag was standing guard at the end of the street and only letting motorists out.
It seemed obvious what would shortly come to pass, so the Goat didn’t drive home after work on Thursday and then take a taxi to the airport. Instead, he parked at the airport so that he could drive home after his weekend in Dubai with Beloved Wife.
This turned out to be a staggeringly astute decision. At 3am on Sunday, he arrived back at the flat to discover a huge, barriered trench all the way across the frontage of the apartment block. There is no way in or out for a vehicle, and all the tenants are parking over the road on the open ground behind the buildings opposite. A different decision would surely have resulted in Rio being trapped in the car park under the apartments, and leaving the Goat with no reasonable means of getting to work.