Daily Prompt: The problems with elevation

Towards Squirries Street across Norah Street, Bethnal Green

Wherever I look things are being elevated. On the way to the supermarket I observe the crane, with my camera of course. It moved in a month ago after they demolished the appartments that were there. There seems to be no time to spare and the new building is already being constructed.

I remember the beginnings of the cranes. On the photo, taken in 1989 you can see me on the left, with my No. 1 son. The patch of green land in the photo used to be my home. It was known as Norah Street (although no-one really knew who Norah was) and there were two squares, each with about 50 houses. Who planned this miracle of Victorian building, I do not know, but there were no spaces between the various houses. We never really visited the neighbours in their home, there was no point. you could see into their home throught their windows direct from your window. However the families stayed in their homes for many years, and the kids all grew up togehter. My mum knew everyone, had photos from war times and saw the changes happen.

We were surrounded by bombed ruins of houses. Mum always said everything got bombed around us, only our street was left standing in the middle of it all. Had it been different mum would either have no longer existed, or would have been moved out of the area into newer property, even with a bathroom and indoor toilet. sometimes I think she would not have minded, but life went on, and we all stayed where we were.

One day the cranes moved in to replace the wartime chaos left behind with the new appartment blocks you can see on the photo. I remember it all before the blocks were built. It used to be our playground in the ruins of the half demolished houses.

Road to Langendorf 04.09 (8)

Of course the cranes were not as modern as today’s cranes, but they were first in a generation of cranes and man powered. Today a lot is done by remote control. And so they began to build around our little street. There were many cranes, big and powerful, but we had a problem. In our little old house, which today might be worth preserving under monumental protection (probably not), we had a television. It only showed pictures in black and white, and it only had one TV channel with no advertisements – lovely days. Remember it was the 1950’s when computers did not yet exist, and no-one had heard of Facebook and you actually still played out in the street in the evening until it was too dark.

So we watched with amusement, in our naive beginnings of crane technonogy, the construction of the crane and how the crane swung its arm carring building material from one place to another. There was a problem. These cranes were not designed to overcome the technology of televisions. In the evening the builders went home and switched the crane off, leaving its arm in a certain direction. This was the problem. According to the direction of the arm, and they were big arms, we either received a clear picture on our TV set or not. We observed the movements during the day, as a test of course. We did not usually watch the television in daytime. It was the time of only having transmission with evening programmes. However, we had a so-called test card, and during the day we noticed that this card on the TV screen would come and go with various disturbances. According to how the arm of the crane was left in the evening, you either got a clear picture on your TV set or something looking like a storm on high seas.

Needless to say our only method of evening entertainment was disrupted. it was the talk of the street. Today you would lodge a complaint, but it would not happen. In those days you just had to put up with it and hope for windy weather which might move the arm of the crane. Just an elevational problem from my childhood.

Daily Prompt: The problems with elevation

2 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: The problems with elevation

  1. Those big cranes actually scare me. I’m always sure they are going to topple over, probably on me or worse, on my house or car. We’ve had some terrible crane accidents around here, too, so I’m not just scared for no reason. Glad your crane days are finishing up and Real Life can come back to visit you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It happens in Europe as well. We had a crane a couple of weeks ago. Suddenly it was there, standing and working and I didn’t hear it being built. More astonishing was the crane driver, who was steering everything with a remote control.


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