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Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Getting Laid Before Christmas?

As some of you my know (assuming anyone actually reads the rubbish I write) I commute to work each day on my bike. It’s a fun experience, scything through all that jammed up rush hour and school run traffic. I’ve always enjoyed the way that I rarely get stuck, laughing at the frustrated drivers as I wiz passed them in their nearly stationary boxes. It’s true that in times of bad weather and the cold, dark winter it can be a little less fun. But it always makes me feel like an intrepid explorer trekking into the urban wilderness. That and I always carry a spare pair of socks in case the weather decides to climb inside my boots, as it often does.

When I arrive at the office in Croydon, I park my bike next to all the others under a very handy canopy near the entrance. There she keeps dry for the most part, which (hopefully) means she will last longer than if she were fully exposed to the elements.

Since Monday of last week however, we have been asked not to park there due to the car park being resurfaced. For this purpose, three car parking bays were allocated. This worked fine for the first three days, but on the Thursday morning two of the bays had cars in them when I arrived. One of the regular bikers had parked in another bay so I decided to join him there. It was about this time that the car park resurfacing contractors were starting the process of planeing the surface of the tarmac off by where we usually park our bikes. The building manager was in the car park, so I asked him where I should park my bike. He said that using the parking bays was only a temporary measure for the first three days and that I should now park under the canopy as before. The problem was that while I was chatting with him, the contractors had fenced of the canopy area, which would have made access difficult what out the use of some very advanced shunt riding. The building manager looked more than a little confused & stressed about the whole car park situation, so I decided to leave my bike in the bay.

The workman appeared to make very good progress with their surface removal during Thursday. At their disposal they had a very impressive array of machinery. A large planer, which ground the surface off and deposited it into a large tipper truck and two more trucks waiting in the wings. They also had a JCB style digger, a “One Man” surface grinder and a large road sweeper lorry. There was an awful lot of activity, some of which the Heath & Safety Executive would have had a fit about!

Friday was a completely different day. After Thursdays hive of activity and impressive amounts of industrial plant & machinery, Friday was a total contrast. They were reduced to the “One Man” surface grinder, two shovels and a wheel barrow. I kid you not, it was like watching a “Laurel & Hardy” silent movie. It was taking them absolutely ages to get anything done and by 2:30pm they’d packed up and gone home for the weekend. If they were to continue at that pace for the remainder of the car park, they’ll be at it until next March.

Monday was a better day. Tarmac was delivered by very large lorry and spread quite thickly and evenly over about half of the area that they had prepared. On Tuesday morning when I arrived, I was surprised to see them attaching the freshly laid tarmac with a pneumatic drill. I can only assume that they were creating a straight line from which to start afresh today. Either that or Fridays “Laurel & Hardy” team have returned for our entertainment!


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