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In which we stare into a big hole

Following Monday’s post about a burst water main: I should probably point out that someone did turn up, the following day. A whole team of contractors turned up, and dug a rather large, and deep, hole across the road. They pumped out gallons and gallons of dirty water, filled the gutters with silt, and then the water stopped flowing. Presumably, they fixed it.

What they didn’t do was: fill the hole in again. So now, outside the house, there’s a big spoil heap* and a rather deep hole. Fortunately, not so much outside the house that we risk teetering on the brink of the abyss every time we step outside the front door, but close enough. Presumably they’re waiting to borrow a road-roller, or something along those lines, before they can try filling it back up again.

*quite a lot of dark red sand, overlying browner silts, with plenty of non-imbricated gravel in it, based on the quick glance I took down the hole this morning.

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In which there’s a leak

The weather has turned warmer, but it hasn’t done the water pipes any good.

The roads round here are mostly tarmac, but tarmac on top of cobbles. The tar doesn’t extend right to the edge of the road – the gutters are still cobbled. It’s a common arrangement around here, but I’ve never seen it anywhere else.

Anyway, we got up yesterday and went out of the house, only to notice the gutter full of water. Walking uphill a little, we found that it was pouring into the gutter rapidly – from underneath the tarmac road surface. At the edge of the gutter, a stream was gushing out from a small crack between the tarmac and the cobbles underneath.

I’ve reported it to the water board. A chap drove up a few hours later, and painted a big blue arrow on the road, pointing at it. Hopefully, it will get fixed, before our foundations start to get washed away.

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Road safety

In which the area is notorious for something

You often see stuff about road safety on the telly. Less often, things about specific roads. And it’s very rare for this area – the Forest, if you like to think of the Symbolic Forest as a physical place – to get on the telly at all. So when I heard that there was an hour of Channel Four last night solely devoted to road safety in this area, I had to watch it. Even more specific than that: it was purely about one road, the one from here down to Somerset.

We didn’t manage to watch the whole thing; the catalogue of deaths was just too depressing. It wasn’t helped by my habit of saying “That’s the bend coming out of Fir Park” or “That’s just by Cottagers’ Plot” when random stretches of road were shown on-screen; I spend so much time trying to get out of this area, I know all the main roads out of here in great detail. As we didn’t see it through to the end, I don’t know if the documentary tried to offer up any reason why that particular road is so dangerous. All we got was: people round here are crap at driving.

This may be true. Certainly, in my experience, it is true. People in London, say, may have a reputation for bad, aggressive driving, but people in this area are good at sloppy, careless driving; or drunk, too-fast driving; and that’s what leads to so many people dying on a fairly short, fairly ordinary road. It’s because, paradoxically, this area is quiet and isolated, compared to the rest of the country. The question is: is there anything we can do about that?

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