Monday, June 13, 2011

The return of the Great Stink

I didn't need the BBC to tell me what had happened. My nose knew straight away as the smell was just awful, terrible.

The Thames was full of shit again.

Apparently last week after heavy rain 450,000 tonnes of sewage overflowed into the river, returning the upper reaches of the Thames to the "Great Stink" days of Victorian England.

In 1858 the smell was so bad that Parliament decided that something had to be done, and after much deliberation by men with impressive whiskers chief engineer Joseph Bazalgette set to work building a sewer network for central London.

He and his team did a very good job, but since then London has grown quite a bit and the system can't cope with intense rain. Hence the plan for a Super Sewer, as described here by an article on a very good local canoe club, a member of which described recent events as if "some monster had had a problem with diarrhoea, and even I didn’t roll that night".

Indeed it was so bad that there were not one but two Thames Water's Bubblers (above) out patrolling the river by Putney pumping life restoring oxygen into the waters. Such a flotilla was a sight I hadn't seen before and reminded me of some lines of Macbeth:

Double, double toil and trouble 
Fire burn and cauldron bubble

Hopefully soon this blog will return to more reader friendly topics. In the mean time I will quite understand if you leave suddenly for other sites with posts of bikinis and crystal clear Caribbean waters.


O Docker said...

So foul and fair a day I have not seen.

JP said...

I was slightly spoiled for choice in Macbeth. Almost went with:

"Fair is foul, and foul is fair
Hover through the fog and filthy air"

...only it wasn't foggy.