Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Brussels - it's a Pane!

As I made my way to work through the grey chilliness of a Belgian summer this morning, I stopped to watch a young lady trying to take the vertical measurement of a window. I would guess the height of the window at slightly over 20 feet. She was using a normal reel type tape measure, totally unsuited for the task. Of course it buckled as soon as she got it up more than about 4 feet above her hand. It was, I mused, somehat akin to trying to put cooked spaghetti up a cat's arse.

After a while, she gave up, looked around her, and then wrote something on a piece of paper and shuffled away. This large window was covered with a semi-transparent image, so I guess she was measuring it for a replacement.

I lived in Brussels long enough to know what will happen next.

The figures, which she made up, will be passed to a designer (in about 3 months). Sometime in early 2012, a guy will arrive with a wrongly sized vinyl image, which will have cost the taxpayer several grand (yes, it was a government building) and the whole thing will be the usual cock-up that we come to expect from the Bruxellois.

Eventually, of course, the window itself will quite likely fall out with potentially catastrophic consequences, as it was probably never the right size for the frame anyway. I remember a few years ago, one particularly windy afternoon when Avenue Louise - a major shopping street - was closed off because of window panes raining down from a new development. Brussels would be funny, in a Keystone Kops kind of a way, if it wasn't so bloody dangerous.

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