Hole in the wall

25 January 2010

Long before I moved to this area, the juice bar had squeezed its last kiwi fruit, the twentieth financial services institution along a street lined with them had taken in its A-boards with their tempting interest rates, and the… well, the third and fourth units had been stripped down so far by the liquidators that I never figured out what had been meant to be going on in there. Perhaps the tenants hadn’t, either.

The landlords had no more patience for it. As soon as the icefail had melted and my winter boots started going clack instead of crunch, sheets of corrugated iron had that entire part of the terrace fenced off.

(At least they’re not the same contractors who took over one of the old bomb sites down by the railway line. That company are called First Wessex, and their URL runs in a frieze around their fencing, making it look like one of those scraps of waste ground where people go to carry out the verb.)

On Sunday I noticed one of the shops had gone. There were some garages behind, and a stretch of tarmac belonging to the driving school.

This morning, when I went to work, the crane had started early. For the first few minutes at the bus stop I was looking down into the light-relief supplement of my morning paper, until I realised where the other passengers’ attention was. The crane had lifted off one corner of the juice bar roof and was shaking its jaws like a classic Japanese monster, or the cat we used to have.

Whatever they use to fix cheap flat roofs on to seventies buildingsĀ  gave way and the roof came up in the air. The crane operator guided it down with the disappointing minimum of dust.

And that was it for demolition for the morning. A construction worker had climbed up, or climbed out, to inspect something on the roofless second floor. By the time I’d got off my bus home, the juice bar was gone and the landlords’ entire section of the parade had taken a punch to the teeth. A connecting door to nowhere was hanging listlessly from what was now the external wall of one of the building societies that still worked.

Nobody knows what they’re planning to build there, but they’d better have something in place soon, and not go bust, and not leave the parade looking like an accusing monument to superpower air superiority.

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4 Responses to “Hole in the wall”

  1. Aimee Says:

    you tell em!

    having moved recently to a newly formed suburb, we have construction going on all around us. And it’s strange seeing things look different every day, and feeling a sense of possessiveness over what will be there tomorrow…classic japanese monster, so right.


    • Hi Aimee! Yeah, construction’s a weird thing in general… although there’s maybe an extra sense of the bizarre in coming along and ripping out the middle of a row of shops (where most developers are pretty reluctant to re-purpose units anyway, let alone knock them down and invest in a new structure)…

      Have they given you any idea what the suburb’s actually going to look like yet?

  2. Aimee Says:

    well, no they havent as yet, although to tell the truth I haven’t asked them about it…I receive a little pamphlet every so often saying “on such-and-such a date we will be working through the water pipes, could residents please not turn on the taps or use showers, washing machines, water hoses at this time” – and that goes on all day and the water comes out this weird orange colour afterwards – ugh! Perhaps I should ask them to give me a drawn out plan…little old me!


    • When there are big developments here, they have to submit artists’ impressions of how the plaza (somehow, there’s always a plaza) is going to look. The figures of little people are much more purposeful and well-dressed than anyone who’s ever going to walk through there, and the full glass walls (somehow, there are always full glass walls) are cleaner than they’re ever going to be again…..


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