This entry was posted on
Wednesday, March 1st, 2006 at
6:43 pm and is filed
London’s sewers had been under considerable pressure for some time and were about to blow. Spectacularly.
I found myself in Westminster and in touch with the right people just before it happened; I’m talking seconds before it happened.
It was very much a right place, right time kind of thing… one minute I’m recognising a friend and saying hello, and the next I’m being hurried toward an exclusive shelter (knowing full well that – had I not been there at that moment – I certainly would not have been called and invited).
The shelter – if you could call it that – was the far side of a 6ft concrete wall adjoining an overpass. I was informed by my friend that it was the best shelter (in fact, probably the only shelter) available in all of London and that we would have the luxury of a clean-water hose, to which we would all have limited/shared access.
I had one hand on the wall and was preparing to climb over when the sewers blew.
We’re talking a gargantuan, overwhelming tide of wet, sticky crap here, folks. An awesome wall of raw sewage, thirty feet high, and travelling at over 50 miles an hour. The world hadn’t seen its like since the Boston Molasses Disaster of 1919.
I vaulted over the wall and hung on for dear life as the tide of #A96F51 rushed over us. People unlucky enough to be caught in the open were crushed against walls or washed away, never to be seen again.
The flood passed as quickly as it came, leaving brown-coated destruction in its path… but the wall had held and I had held on to the wall.
VIPs were already lining up for the hose and washing the sticky goo off as my friend wiped his face, exhaled with relief, then turned to me and said:
“OK, we should be alright for another 15 minutes.”