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 buildings 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.