11 May 2006

The Most Quintessentially British Thing About the Summer: Roadworks

I was walking along past Haymarket yesterday in the baking sun as the traffic compressed itself all to one side. In doing so a though popped into my noise-polluted mind: Is there anything more quintessentially British in summer than men drilling at roadworks? I can't think of the last time I actually saw someone out on the road with a digger smashing through the concrete/tarmac. Wait, I can, it was last summer. Why do councils wait until the decent weather comes along and then send out all their crews to dig up the bloody road? No one would care if they were stuck in a forced traffic jam in the pouring autumn rain, at least they'd be warm and sheltered. It's when the heat finally arrives and we have all the windows down but are essentially still sitting in a greenhouse, when we need to be moving quickly. That's when some sadist decides to throw all our plans into disarray and make us melt, stationary in the dusty air as pedestrians saunter past us. Having made my peace with a small disruption as I wander about, I open my window this morning and all I hear is the hammering sound of a pneumatic drill pounding into my room. Working crews like this must be likes bees, only come out at summer. Either that or the drills are not actually mechanical, they are cold blooded and so need the temperature to rise beyond 20°C.

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