There'll always be an England, unless it caves in. If,
like me, you get all tight-lipped when the neighbor's volume dial creeps above
five, there's a useful lesson in this week's Guardian
on tolerance and its limits--and on the dangers of going too far with "home
Across the pond in Hackney, East London, William Lyttle has been digging under
his house, and after 40 years, 100 cubic meters of earth, and 40 tonnes of excavated
gravel and junk, he has been politely asked to stop. The council has lined up
a hotel room for the 75-year-old Lyttle and asked that he temporarily decamp
his 20-room Victorian property so that their structural engineers can judge
the full impact of his burrowing, estimated to extend 26 feet deep and radiating
up to 20 meters in all directions.
Though Mr. Lyttle's neighbors have lodged complaints over the years, they wish
him well. According to the Guardian report by Paul Lewis, the view of his neighbors
is: "'We don't wish the man any harm....He's a hard-working man - he just
doesn't use his energy in the right way. Everyone around here just wants to
see the place made safe.'"
Mr. Lyttle is coy on his reasons for digging: "'I don't mind the title
of inventor,' he said. 'Inventing things that don't work is a brilliant thing,
you know. People are asking you what the big secret is. And you know what? There
We've all been there: it's just a home improvement project that got a little
out of hand. Says Lyttle: "'I first tried to dig a wine cellar, and then
the cellar doubled, and so on. But the idea that I dug tunnels under other people's
houses is rubbish. I just have a big basement.'"
And big plans, reports Alan Hamilton in The
Times: "'This is going to be the leisure centre,' he said, sweeping
his hand round a large cavern. 'And this in here will be the sauna.""
Related articles: Times,
photo credit: Kirsty