Thursday, 10 July 2008

Caught (part one): By a motion sensor

It's been ages since I posted anything up here as other things have taken precedence. I'll come clean right here because I don't want to do suspense. In trespassing on the site on numerous occasions I have so far been caught twice, both times were very near the beginning of my escapades. The first should probably have been an adjunct to a previous post as it happened on an evening I'm sure I've already written about below. Now that I come to think of it I was heading for the first road-block barricade but soon got distracted by a construction site (which seems to happen all the time). Getting in was hard, razor wire looped across the top of the gate and there were no handy footholds. Looking at gaps in the fence I always seem to under-estimate my slender frame, I know I'm skinny but getting through six inch gaps is actually not possible for any fully grown human being. Still I persevered, trying to force myself underneath the gate, and after a good three minutes of huffing and puffing. laughing at myself I made it when I took off my jacket.

After such a struggle the prize was inevitably a bit disappointing, it looked like just your average new-build housing was going up, a crane, a JCB, a lot of shuttering and a pretty treacherously crammed patch of ground. Old habits die hard so I made my way to the JCB for starters, another industrial legover, greased jeans again. Ferreting cautiously further I noticed a sound the like of which I had never heard before and was soon gazing further down into the urban ground than I thought possible. I am fairly sure what I witnessed was the entry into one of the new drains that were the first major construction job to be undertaken on the site. A giant hose snaked its way down and along out of sight, but it's rhythmic gurgle was the source of the sound, amplified and reverberating deeply in this concrete cavern. If I had had even a cheap microphone with me... but I didn't so making a mental note for another day I continued to search out likely locations. There was really nothing to be dome here so again I resorted to the 'heavy plant' and decided to act out one of those scare stories your parents tell you to keep you in line: climb the crane. I set up the camera and sprung into action making it as far as I could up the structure while counting the ten second time delay in my head, I got to zero, clung on and right then the place lit up and a booming voice almost made me fall off.

"You have been caught on CCTV, stay where you are, the police will be with you shortly"

No fear.

Actually, plenty. This has to go down as one of the all-time adrenalin rushes of my life, I was off the crane so fast it felt like dropping, grabbed the camera and tripod and then an image flashed into my head. Me, wedged tight underneath the gate, sternam pinned to the ground, flapping arms and legs like a helpless beetle as the cops pull up, lights-a-flashing. Luckily adrenalin changes everything, i threw my coat underneath dived on the ground and was out first time and running, trying to get my coat back on with the extended tripod flailing in my other hand, running, around the corner and quick, back to the Greenway, the pedestrian haven, the safety zone.

In retrospect I think that's called 'blind panic' and in a way I'm glad I have been there. Whether the police turned up is impossible to say. Whether there even was a CCTV camera I have no idea, I suspect it was simply a motion sensor to prevent vandalism and the sort of idiocy I was engaging in. Well, it worked. And the resulting image shows that.