With Nostalgia being good for you I am going back to 1978/80 – the best years of my life with the good old days of construction!
I lived in the fishing port of Amble on the Northumberland coast.
My house was an isolated property outside the town on the edge of the Links leading down to the sea. It had septic tank sewage and was being connected to the towns main system, which was being upgraded.
Back then, there was no information given, no PR meetings etc. and the H&S Act 1974 nowhere to be seen.
A man from Northumbria Water called at the house, asked if I wanted to be connected and that was it. The construction firm turned three years of my life into an SAS assault course – the Amble Links into the Eigthth Wonder of the Ancient World.
At one point, the only access to my house from the main road was through the nearby cemetery climbing over the wall – not easy with bags of shopping and a bike.
They cut my phone off – no mobiles then. When I complained to the engineer in charge of the work, he just walked away – not very civil.
One day, I fell into the deep trench on the Links injuring myself and could not get out. Thankfully, it was summer, passing holidaymakers to the caravan site heard my shouts – got me out and home.
I tried to report the accident to the firm, it was impossible. When I rang the site office the sexism and male chauvinism was appalling – all I got was raucous laughing, wolf whistling and shouts of, ‘We will get you safely home from the pub next time Pet’.. hic.. burp….! They were a theodolite short of the perpendicular axis.
The most terrifying thing, was the blasting on the sea bed for the outlet pipes from the pumping station at the harbour – this took place over several days between 5-6 pm – tea time – not far out to sea from my house. It blew the gas jets out on the cooker, shook the house and eroding sea wall so violently I thought we would end up in a very large heap on the shore……
When they had finished working at my property – for reasons best known to themselves they chained the access gates together – the chains are another story.
Now, the only way in or out is across the shore at low tide. It took me two days going to and from the site office at the harbour before they opened the gates.
The only thing that kept me going through all this was Gloria Gaynor’s hit song at the time: ‘I Will Survive.’
Today, with the old knee injury from falling into the sewage trench I have difficulty getting to the pub !
Sally Gordon, by email.