Stories tagged with industry
The dog wheezed, clearly straining at the leash. I pulled the hood tight around my face and then tugged the sleeves of my jacket over my hands. The animal of course knew exactly where we were and it wasn't a surprise when it brought the handler directly to the foot of the ladder, barely five meters below us.
/ Germany, Luxembourg, France
The last stop on the trail was Luxembourg with a night camped out in sleeping bags on a grass verge, much to the amazement of the morning commuters. From down here below the southern tip of Belgium it was a long old way back to Dunkirk, deviating once more only so that Larey could go nuts in the hypermarket. And go nuts he did...
/ France, Belgium, Germany
Before casting the machine into that vast pit of despair I decided to take him on his first outing abroad. Quite why I'd got so caught up with air travel and not done this sooner I'm not entirely sure, but nonetheless, it was happening now, with Larey and dsankt aboard and a whole heap of place markers pasted into the netbook...
You won't read about him in Heat magazine, and you certainly won't see his grinning face march onto a Premiership football pitch. It's probably true that unless you're the sort of person that drags themself through sewers, metro tunnels and old bunkers, there's a fair chance you won't even have heard of siologen.
/ Hungary, Slovakia, Austria
/ Romania, Hungary
/ Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria
Bosnia. If you're old enough to remember the news coverage then the very name is enough to conjure up images of burning buildings and cars, weathered soldiers, UN vehicles and refugees. Indiscreet in our red Seat we passed through the border controls with no issue and continued our course towards Sarajevo.
There's an amazing feeling being down in the workings of a hydro plant, knowing that there's all that water potential above your head, held back by a man-made wall and a few valves. And of course, hand controls and levers attached to those valves are always going to provide temptation to mischievous intruders...
And there they were, indeed looking dark (at least the windows were) and satanic. Neither myself nor DLB were, however, among them. We were instead being summoned towards a pick-up truck, the driver of which had spotted us as we scampered from one bush to another. For us, the war was over. For the second time.
Once more we were shepherded off to the side and instructed to park next to another vehicle. Beside the other car stood two worried looking men, roughly the same age as us. Inside the front of their car several customs guys were busy pulling the centre console apart. Wires and plastic were going everywhere.
/ Germany, Belgium
This, the second ferry crossing, lasted only an hour or so. The air was bitter and cold, a low mist hung over the Baltic Sea. Our company at such an early hour comprised mostly of 'torn faced' truckers. Shabbily dressed and unshaven, we fit in just fine. On arrival in Germany the border guards paid us no attention and we hit the Autobahn.
/ Sweden, Denmark
One dull clunk produced no results, as did the second. The third produced more fascinating results: the fans sparked into life, enveloping me in a cloud of rust. At this point, annoyed and covered in dust, I descended the ladder and barked at siologen to stop messing about. And then he threw the fourth lever...
The first night in the car produced two stiff necks and a bemused stare from an elderly lady hobbling past the car. The windows were misted up and siologen lolled to one side in a grey sleeping bag that generally made him resemble a vast slug. I climbed out of the car, had a stretch and grinned at the old bag.
A good while before I ever took the kind of photos that appear on these pages I spent a lot of time riding various kinds of bicycle in places I shouldnt, which is how I came to feel so comfortable with the idea of trespassing, and the realisation that a good majority of the better places to spend ones time are, officially, off limits.
Looking up and around I contemplated the massive open space before me like the cathedral to modern manufacturing that it is. Here within these vast halls Henry Ford conceived the snaking mechanical monster that would shape industrialisation in the 20th Century, radically changing the way of life in the West.
Standing forlorn on the Toronto Harbourfront, the old Canada Malting silos were no strangers to intruders. For the several decades after they fell into disuse countless people breached the somewhat-fortified exterior. On a bright day in October 2009 a small band of us risked our necks to clamber up and into the remains of its workings.
A vertical ladder took me up beneath a hinged steel lid, apparently devoid of locks. Shoulder to the cool metalwork I pushed, swinging the grill upwards and then letting it fall open. Stepping upwards one last time I clambered out of the misty darkness and emerged onto the main turbine hall floor. The method had worked.
Standing near the top of Horseshoe Falls, for the time being just another tourist, I watched the waters never-ending procession with unease. A gigantic cloud of mist and a terrifying persistent rumble completed an experience like no other I can think of, but one that would later that night be completely surpassed.
To enter Yaggy's Eagle River Power Station we had to cross some exposed wasteland watched-over by a man in a portacabin. Once inside all of us relaxed and toured this mighty ruin. Water ingress has hastened it's destruction, with the beautiful roof above the turbine hall on par with those at the grandest of railway stations
On the morning of the last full day in Belgium we awoke on scaffolding attached to a church tower. Daylight had found us and so we reluctantly took this as a cue to get moving. As we climbed down onto the pavement the caretaker turned up and scowled at us but she was too stunned to actually say anything coherent.
/ France, Belgium
Loud French voices announced Paris coming to life, and as it turned out maintaining of Notre Dames grounds was a daily charade. Thinly concealed behind summer greenery the error of my choice of abode was clear: these hard-working gardeners would hardly take kindly to an apparently lazy lowlife sprawled out amongst their hard work.
Feigning compliance we followed the man as he gesticulated towards the hut, positioning himself beside the open door and pointing inside. What, in there? Knowing reefdog would agree without question (it was hardly a difficult decision to make) I countered the guard's offer by indicating the gates and murmuring an idea in English.
Coming shortly was what the passage is more-or-less famous for: 'the bridges'. And 'bridges' is in inverted commas for the simple reason that most of the 'bridges' aren't really bridges anymore. It's at times like this that you have to keep your brain in gear. If you become lazy, complacent or slack then mistakes will be made.
They stood like giant chess pieces, inanimate, resilient, imposing. For your southern-born author, who as a child had turned a knife over in his soft hands one evening and read the words 'Sheffield Stainless', these towers meant something. Not least if you saw them with your own eyes then it meant you were well and truly in The North.
There's not enough room to stand up, so a half walk, half crawl is required, bag dragged along behind. I'm last, the others waiting round the corner. Reaching them comes with the realisation that my spare torch has detached itself from my belt, so back down the tunnel to find it... I've been underground for all of a minute, and I hate it.
Quite possibly involved...
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