18 September, 2006

Iron brew

I came home from work this evening to discover almost the entire outside of my building caked in scaffolding. The whole three floors, from ground to roof level, had been virtually enclosed in a cage of metal pipes and wooden platforms, with only a bit of space at one end to allow daylight into the flats within.

I felt like I'd walked into a Terry Gilliam film, or that a dozen Kafka-esque anonymous authority figures were about to materialise from nowhere and escort me off the premises while the mysterious "repairs" were completed. Nothing of the sort transpired, naturally, but the presence of this unappealing, unwieldly lattice of iron right outside my windows is immensely off-putting.

I don't know why it is there. I don't know who put it there. I don't know for how long it will remain. I don't know to what end it was so artfully constructed then so artlessly left standing without explanation.

Part of it has been built so close to my exterior walls that I can't actually open some of my windows. The ones I can open are right by ladders or walkways or other highly accessible vantage points. The wind has picked up during the last couple of hours and now the whole edifice is shaking eerily and groaning melodramatically.

I'd feel a whole lot better about the situation had I been told it was going to happen. I can only surmise it's something to do with the state of the outside drains, which as you know are highly unreliable and which I guess need a thorough overhaul to avoid any future cases of self-combustion.

Better it be done now than in the middle of winter, I suppose, but better it be done in a way that didn't suggest a stranger was about to drop into your living room the moment your back is turned. Still, at least old fag ash Fred downstairs can't open his windows anymore, thereby depriving my flat of the omnipotent odour of his pipe smoke.


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