Friday, 19 June 2009

Um, was that you???


The area in which I work is an 'urban regeneration zone'. It used to be factories and breweries and tobacco warehouses - and now, with a huge injection of EU money, it's being rebuilt as offices and flats for people who want to spend £400,000 on a one bedroomed box simply because the outside of the building is old and it looks over a canal.

About a year ago the huge pile drivers digging foundations for some buildings managed to rupture a gas main. They evacuated a good chunk of the centre of Bristol, but because they did so in the same road as the main fire station, it was all resolved without much fuss.

Or so we thought.

For the last 6 months, the gas company has been digging up and replacing ALL the gas mains in the area. It turned out that when they went to fix the leak they discovered that the pipe appeared to have been constructed of Ryvita. We've all got used to walking past a big hole in the road, in the middle of which is a pipe join something like this:

Every few weeks they replace the old Victorian pipes with yellow plastic ones, fill the hole in, and move 75 yards down the road and dig another hole. That is, until they reached the end of their project.

The final gas main lay under the exit of one of the main bridges in the centre of town. It's always smelt slightly of gas over the last 18 months - in fact the gas engineers had brilliantly just run a open vented pipe through the pavement to let the gas escape rather than build up. An open gas pipe in the middle of the pavement as smokers walk by. I can see no flaw in this plan.

Anyway, last month they closed half the bridge and dug it up to expose the pipe join. On my way into work that morning I passed about 12 senior looking men in hard hats standing around a big hole, all shaking their heads slowly. It really looked like someone had died, so I wandered over to have a look.

(I'm nosey, so what? :) )

In the middle of the hole was a pipe join. Except it didn't look like the above picture, no no no. It was two pipes, one about 30% wider than the other that been *taped* together with yellow sticky tape.

This was the major gas junction for a square mile and someone had decided the best way to join two pipes was to splash out on three rolls of yellow gaffer tape.

I'm surprised they didn't try welding it....

Potentially explosive situations aside, does anyone own a Nokia N85 phone? I got one last week and it's ace.

A small tip though, if you use it as a MP3 player (and why not, with its 8GB memory card as standard) with headphones plugged in, do not have it on silent mode.

For if you receive a message or phone call while the phone is in SILENT mode, it decides that seeing as the phone is in SILENT mode - and you have headphones plugged in - that actually what it will do is switch to loudspeaker mode and blast your music out at 100% volume until you frantically hit any button to shut it up.

A nice touch that - the world's first 'ironic' silent mode.

My office especially enjoyed my phone blaring out 'Sweet MOTHERFUCKING country acid house music ALL NIGHT LONG!!!' for no apparent reason while I beat it with my keyboard.

Cringe factor ten.


Sweet Cheeks said...

Are you sure you don't want to move to America, Little Squirrel?

We sell pretoasted bread and have cheese in a can...and nuts. Lots of nuts.

Just a thought.

Kevin Musgrove said...

I expect similar has been going on in the town where I work. Once every ten months either a pavement or a shop blows up. Luckily only the one fatalty so far.

Belle said...

They are so fucking stupid those workmen. Especially the ones that work at night.On the roads. Do you have any of those? They do all the work around here at night.Once my car broke down near them and they all gathered around to 'help'. Not a brain between them. I'm sure if they had gaffer tape I would have been on my way.

Red Squirrel said...

Sweet Cheeks - I'm not sure I could live in a country that sells spray-on cheese, sorry :)

Kevin - blimey. Next time I'm going to run away rather than peer into the hole then...

Belle - gaffer tape and WD40 normally fixes anything. Thankfully I've never experienced night-time roadworks. They'd never get away with it in Bristol - someone would knife them for keeping them awake :)