Monday, 15 October 2007


At the entrance onto our site from Charterhouse Square, the road surface has been getting into a terrible state. I think it was getting pretty worn out anyway but then the extra traffic caused by development work here has, aha, taken its toll. Certainly most of this traffic comes in by the back gate but there have been periods when that has been unusable, and I am sure that on one or two or more occasions they have had to use the front gate to overcome particular access problems for some of their specialist kit or vehicles.

Anyway, when word came round that they were going to resurface the roadway outside the front gate I felt a mixture of pleasure and apprehension. Clearly it needed doing, urgently, as the cobbled surface was breaking up badly and becoming unsafe: on the other hand I was concerned that some cheapskate would decide to ditch the fiddly, labour-intensive cobbles and resurface it with some elegant modern finish like, uh, tarmac or concrete.

In fact, I am delighted to say that I was wrong. Something has protected the surface - I don't know if this was magic, conservation area, the council, the Charterhouse itself, some combination of these factors and others, or what. What I do know is that a couple of blokes have just spent a couple of weeks meticulously replacing the whole thing by hand. They took the whole lot off, laid a new concrete bed, then cemented in the cobbles. For a while the builders had a "little man" sculpture, made out of hard hat, gloves, boots and the like, laid peacefully there amusing passers-by. Then (first removing the little chap) they filled in the gaps with sand and stamped it all down and removed their fences and went away. This was proper skilled hand-tools-only craftspersonship. It looks great. Several rousing cheers for the people who carried out the work, and for the people or policies or bodies which enabled it to be done so nicely.

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