Some day I will reactivate my Killdozer Army

After excavating your mega-basement in Holland Park, it's cheaper and easier to leave the JCB entombed down there with the pool, personal cinema and staff quarters.

A new solution emerged: simply bury the digger in its own hole. Given the exceptional profits of London property development, why bother with the expense and hassle of retrieving a used digger -- worth only £5,000 or £6,000 -- from the back of a house that would soon be sold for several million? The time and money expended on rescuing a digger were better spent moving on to the next big deal. [...]

How many of these once perfectly functioning and possibly still serviceable diggers are petrified underneath central London, like those Romans preserved cowering in the corners of houses in Pompeii? Estimates vary. One property developer I asked reckoned at least 1,000; another put the figure at more like 500. In some of London's newest luxury conversions, "sub-basements" are being tucked beneath the existing basement conversions. But developers are stumbling on a new kind of obstacle as they burrow deeper still: abandoned diggers from the last round of improvements.

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11 Responses:

  1. Pavel Lishin says:

    Obstacle? Or obstertunity?

  2. Andy says:

    If they're going Mike Mulligan anyway, they should just go all the way and convert the diggers to furnaces.

    • Diesel engines? Toss a genset on the power take-off and you've got a handy backup power supply for when society collapses. At least until your supply of diesel fuel and porno DVDs runs out.

      (Or the carbon monoxide poisoning sets in...)

      • RegorA says:

        I wonder if you combined the pornos with the CO, if you'd get an auto-erotic asphyxiation-like effect? Someone should try this, for science of course.

  3. phuzz says:

    I was thinking that they should keep digging until they hit the tube network, and create their own platform.
    Then I remembered that no-one who lives in a house like that would every use the tube.

  4. Chris Davies says:

    I like the idea that in the far future, people will be so far removed from the mundanities of digging holes in the ground that an unearthed excavator would be branded with the archaeologist's equivalent of "fucked if I know", the ever present "ritual object" tag.

    • pawliger says:

      People who liked this comment also may like reading illustrator extraordinaire David Macauley's Motel of the Mysteries

      • Chas. Owens says:

        Thank you! I think this is the story I have spent over a decade looking for. Does one of the characters think a toilet is a font and the seat is a headdress?

        • pawliger says:

          Yep, that's the one. It took a second to reparse 'toilet is a font' given the usual context for 'font' on this blog :)

          My "OMG that's the one I was thinking of!" holy grail book for a time was The Portmanteau Book, a bit of fun and frippery from my elementary school days by the author of How to Eat Fried Worms. Happily I found a pristine copy on abebooks where I could buy it without going broke.

  5. Dan Lyke says:

    Weird thought: Tie in to Terry Pratchett's "Making Money", in which [SPOILER ALERT!] the potentially productive golems are buried unused, in order to back the value of the new currency...