I mentioned the relatively recent phenomenon of buildings covered in scaffolding, and the scaffolding then being covered with a picture of the building. Last night, I came across an example of this in the photo-archives, dating from 2013
And here it is:
This isn’t something that I’ve seen much (any?) of in South Africa. It could be that I haven’t been in the right place at the right time, of course. Or it could be that we just don’t do that when historic buildings are being repaired.
Norway, though – definitely. I remember being fooled (from a distance at least) when visiting Bryggen – the old wharf in Bergen – part of which was being renovated.
I mean, now you know it’s there, you can zoom in and have a closer look and yes, there is the temporary false facade. Bingo. But if I’d shared this image without context, you’d surely never have known that two of those seventeen colourful buildings weren’t genuine.
Go closer (by walking around the harbour to the end of the row) and the requirements of sheer functionality make it rather more obvious:
Somewhere out there, there is a company (in fact, possibly more than one) that manufactures bespoke scaffolding covers like this. They’re probably the same ones who have been making the massive decorative tarpaulins that have been covering the empty seats in football stadiums during lockdown.
It does seem an awfully specific product though. Presumably, when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic or repairing historic buildings once every 100 years, there must be some other use for huge specifically-printed pieces of fabric.
The ‘Elf an’ Safety people in the UK (who are not actually as bad as Jeremy Clarkson and the Daily Mail would have you believe) would have a cadenza if they saw this on a building site over there.
In this image, you can gauge ground level from the guy in the bottom right corner of the photo. The gentleman in the yellow cap and his companion are busy rendering the outside of a newly-built house. But the two units of scaffolding that they’ve brought along to the job just doesn’t cut the mustard as far as height goes, so – in a typically African way – they have adapted the setup so that the mustard is cut.
For the record and in case you can’t see (although you can view a larger image here), here’s a detailed run down of what they are standing on:
Four bricks, which are balanced on
A plank, which is balanced on
Four more bricks, which are balanced on
Another plank, which is balanced on
Two barrels (prevented from rolling by four more bricks), which are balanced on
A third plank, which is balanced on
Two units of scaffolding.
Thank goodness they are all wearing hard hats and hi-vis jackets.
Seriously though, this does sum up one of the major differences I have noted over here. The willingness and ingenuity to make do with the materials available. In the UK, they’d still be waiting for two more units of scaffolding to be delivered to the site. (Or, yes, they may have been more organised in the first place and just brought 4 units out). Here, they just found a way of getting to where they needed to be and getting the job done.
I was just disappointed that they didn’t start juggling while they were up there.
It’s been a busy week in the lab and I am more than deserving of a decent break.
The decent break in question will feature braais, a log fire, some red wine and one (or more) evenings spent with some Uitkyk 10-year old potstill brandy. It will also thankfully be spent a couple of hundred kilometres from Koeberg Interchange, which has recently re-become the bane of my life.
For many years, the Koeberg Interchange has been the bane of many other people’s lives as well. But despite the contractor’s assurances that they will complete the work they are doing there 4 months ahead of schedule, it’s recently got a whole lot worse before it (hopefully) gets a whole lot better.
The photo above was taken 14 months ago and scaffolding is still the major feature of this most remarkable of road intersections.