Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Adieu, old ladies of Athlone

They were a landmark in The City Beneath the Mountain, the twin old ladies. It’s hard not to be a landmark when you’re made of concrete, stand about 40-stories high, and are placed slap-bang in the middle of the vast flat land between two big ranges of mountains. They had an unfairly bad rap of smelling, well, less-than-savoury. It wasn’t them, though, that came from the sewerage works across the highway. They weren’t smelly at all, standing tall, guiding people in the right direction. Many people in The City Beneath the Mountain may now be finding their way home/to the city/to the place with the big grey birds that fly people hither and thither, difficult.

You see, the grand old ladies, commonly referred to as the Athlone Towers, part of the power station that used to supply extra power to the city, were demolished by implosion on Sunday. In nine seconds the enormous structures crumpled to the ground, leaving just a pile of rubble and a small dust cloud that rapidly dissipated with the cloudburst of rain that occurred about 30 seconds after the implosion.

We watched it from a railway bridge nearby, only just making it in time from our church visit. I had been anticipating it for months and was terribly excited to see my first implosion, so had a few anxious moments as we tried to find the perfect spot (along with thousands of others, it was almost as big an event as the World Cup... almost) before the twelve-noon dynamite explosion.

Thankfully we found it, and just in time, because they did it four minutes early, much to the consternation of many photographers and news reporters (for the funniest example, see here.) It was so quick. They started to crumple in, as if some invisible giant had fashioned them out of grey cardboard (giant toilet rolls, perhaps?) and then stood on them. The sound of the explosion, a low grumble (giant’s hungry tummy?) followed a second or two later, and they fell.

And that was it. The excited chatter of the crowd we were with, stopped. For a couple of seconds there was silence, and then I heard a woman next to me say: “Is that it?”, as if they should now pick a couple of other buildings to do, to satisfy us. It might’ve been fun, really, like a game of dominoes. Unfortunately there are no more towers, so that was it.

It was fabulous, the implosion bit. I like implosions I’ve decided. I did feel sad, though, for those two old ladies who had watched over the highway for far longer than I’ve even been on this earth. Adieu, ladies, adieu. In honour of them, we went to lunch at a lovely place by the river, just down the road from where they had lived and had a fabulous lunch and met two funny old queens. But that’s another story.


Angela said...

That was fun to watch - especially the face of that reporter who had nothing left to report about, hahaha!
I once saw a tall factory tower implode (on TV), and someone had got it all wrong. It came down with a big crash on the wrong side, tearing with it a whole neighbour building. I guess that`s what people come for, hoping they`ll REALLY get a sight to see!

Shiny said...

Wasn't it hysterical? I loved how he looked at his watch, poor guy x