What’s this strange thing?


It looks vaguely familiar.
I think I’ve seen one of these before somewhere.
I’ve pretty darned certain I read about them in a book once at school.
Short word.
Might start with ‘H’.
It’s on the tip of my tongue…

If I stand in the middle of it, and you others all hold down the fencing in case it gets breezy again, I’m sure the word will come to me.

I’m remembering a sort of ‘O’ sound…

Nah, let’s get some tea instead.

OMG not more

Guess what folks?

They’re building another fence!

Fortunately this one is really well protected by another fence each side of it, so it can’t get scuffed by any passing trucks / kangaroos / Australians / fush.


Look at that picture again.

If you count the blue hoarding behind the metal fence, there are now 7 fences (complete, partial or being built) between Zepler and the building site. Am I the only one that thinks they can probably stop now, and actually put the fecking building up?

Talk about milking a project for all it’s worth.

P.S. It reminds me of the Isle of Lewis, at the northern-most tip of the Outer Hebrides off the north-west coast of Scotland. When I visited in the early 90s, the EU thought it would be a cracking idea to encourage the locals to divide up the land into areas so they could make better use of it. The Scots, being a wily bunch, had a better idea. The locals worked out that if you could build fencing fast and cheap enough, you could live off the EU subsidy for erecting fencing. End result: acres of land divided up into the minimum size required by EU rules. At which point the land was totally useless, but the locals had more beer/whisky money.

Hang on tight peeps!

It must be a whole lot more windy out there today than it appears.

To most people, it is a warm sunny morning with a gentle breeze.


But our wise builders clearly know better.
It is in fact so windy that anything not bolted to the ground is going to be blown away totally!

Fortunately for us the savvy folks are holding stuff down, so poor innocent by-standers are not struck by flying fencing


or even flying 1 tonne water tanks.


If it wasn’t for the valiant heroes desperately hanging on to this stuff, just think of the mayhem that could ensue!

VC’s Awards all round I think, for collegiality and self-less devotion to everyone’s safety in these hazardous conditions.


Piles. And signs. Again.

I promised you all some more details about piles.
(Ed — no, not that kind of piles, that kind of piles)

But like all people, the builders clearly spend most of their time staring at the ground 2 feet in front of them.

So they need lots of signs like this:


My apologies for the quality (or lack thereof) of the photo above. It’s a really small sign.

Because if you didn’t carefully read the signs, you would understandably miss this


in front of you.

After all, without the signs the builders might be able to sue someone when they walk across the site and smack straight into that teensy weensy pile driver.

Mind you, students would still walk into it as they would be staring at their phones full time. But you would at least have the fun of tripping up those who walked into the signs instead. I think we need more signs. I think we need a version of that photo with students zombies marching across it.

Is The Folly now complete?

Yes I know, I bang on about The Folly.

But judging by the addition of lots of bits of yellow foam (to protect the scaffolding joints from being damaged by builders walking into them) as highlighted below


I really think it might be complete (for an indeterminate and probably varying value of “complete”).

It is now 3 storeys tall, and double-decker buses look tiny by comparison!
(The whitish building is 4 storeys tall — Ed)


I believe The Folly was intended to fit a double-decker underneath it. So why is it actually more like twice the height of a double-decker?

And someone somewhere must still think that the builders are going to prefer to climb up 3 steep flights of stairs one side and down again the far side, instead of walking 50 yards on the flat along Salisbury Road between the 2 sites. Who are they kidding?

P.S. Am I the only one who thinks the wooden planks across the top are going to get kinda slippery after they’ve been soaking wet and growing moss for a winter or two?

The Folly

Aah, the Folly.

The site is split into 2, with a bus lane running through the middle. The resulting building is one side of the bus lane, but all the space for their Portakabins, deliveries and so on is the other side.

And they don’t want to have to walk round. That might take 30 seconds.

So instead, they are all going to get super fit by climbing up and down stairs all day to go over a bridge between the 2 sites. You remember it’s going over a bus lane, yes? Most of the buses are double-deckers, so the bridge has to be twice the height you would imagine. That’s a lot of stairs.

Going over bridge, apart from being far more effort physically, is almost certainly going to take significantly longer than walking round. Particularly when you do it for the 20th time that day with legs that have had enough of climbing stairs.

To give you an idea of the scale of it, here it is looking from the Salisbury Road (North) end:


And from the Interchange (South) end:


Not small. It’s taken weeks to build.

You may notice the footpath entrance under the white bit of wood in the 2nd photo above. This is a covered tunnel the whole length of the site, right up to Salisbury Road.

When they have a crane lifting, say, several pallets of bricks from one side to the other, if the crane drops it all, you won’t get killed by being hit by tons of bricks, and buried under them.

Instead you will get killed by a collapsing tunnel that can’t take the impact of a few tons of pallets+contents being dropped from 20m and hitting it at considerable speed. For the physicists, there’s quite a bit of potential energy in them thar bricks at 20m, is there not?

( Editor’s note: can a chemist please advise on the amount of dynamite containing the same energy as 2 or 3 fork-lift pallets of bricks dropped from 20 or 30m? A physicist can help you with the potential energy bit, your job is the chemical energy. Then we can imagine putting a suitable bomb on the roof of the tunnel instead. )

I, for one, am not convinced that a tunnel made entirely out of scaffolding planks and metal pipes which are only clamped to each other is strong enough to withstand that impact. So you will still be dead, but buried under a load of steel and wood as well as pallets of bricks.

And don’t even think about what happens when the crane “drops its load” onto a bus. They are basically made out of tin plate. The roof of a bus is about as strong as the roof of a tent. But you know that already, everyone has seen a news photo of a bus that has driven into a low bridge; the top of the bus just crushes totally where it hits the brige.

We should do what many countries do in such situations: build a little shrine (complete with candles) at each end, so you can at least say a prayer before entering. The prayer will be at least as effective as the tunnel.