I venture to the bank at lunch, scuttling between the tall buildings of the City that offer shelter one moment, only to fool you with these deadzones as they unleash tunnels of wind the next. Sitting in the middle of a large open plan office, I am some ten metres away from the nearest window, so often am completely oblivious to the conditions outside. Not that the window seat dwellers are any the wiser I suppose, being unable to see much more than their own reflections in the mirrored windows of the nextdoor building, so close that it seems to lean into our own. Either way, I think “Cor, it’s a bit blowy” to myself as I make my way back to work.
The building opposite ours is having some sort of building work done, and is covered in scaffolding. The scaffolding sheets are acting like sails, and one can see this whole exoskeleton swaying in the wind. The fire brigade has arrived, and cordoned off the pavement around the building, but it is clear they don’t really know what else to do as they mill around, stopping short of scratching their hard-hatted heads. There is some sort of perverse pleasure to be had watching the emergency services at a loss – bearing witness to all their hard practised drills still leaving them as unsure what to do as the rest of us – and a crowd has gathered to watch this potential drama unfold.
I’m sure some horror movie – or one of those gruesome safety films those bastard people from the council used to make us watch at school to convince us building sites are not playgrounds – has made graphic use of scaffolding as an instrument of death, and – after a quick mental calculation of the wind speed and modest area cordoned off beneath the building – decide I have no desire to bear witness to such a thing and have it hardwired on my brain for life, so I retreat back indoors.
“The roof has blown off London Bridge station, and all the trains have been cancelled,” someone calls across the office with half an hour of the day left. You can work out who all the Bromley, Croydon, Sussex and Kent dwellers are by the groans that lift into the stagnant but still air.
5 weeks ago