Well that didn't take long. It's still less than six months since the 2012Olympic Park was sealed off, but the wholesale demolition of the site has been extremely rapid. Back in July there were warehouses and factories where the running track will be laid, but they've all been knocked down. Back in July there was a river where the grandstand will be erected, but that's been piped underground. Back in July there were trees where the hotdogs will be sold, but they've all been cut down. Back in July the view from the Greenway bridge was green, but now it's brown. Not one single building now remains on the stadium site, bar a couple of electricity substations just to the south. All that's left are the original roads, a row of lampposts, some walls and fences, and an awful lot of piles of earth.
There are now enough piles of earth in the Lower Lea Valley to make me think that London ought to have applied for the Winter Olympics instead. All it would take is a major snowfall and, hey presto, we'd have ourselves a ready-built range of mountainous downhill sporting facilities. But no, by next summer this entire area needs to be flat as a pancake, ready for the construction of the Olympic Stadium to begin. All the piles of earth and rubble have to be moved out, or at least moved to a different part of the site to be recycled as landfill. This is a sustainable Olympics, remember, so little of the rock-y brick-y debris will be wasted.
No time is being wasted in clearing the land. On Sunday morning the Olympic Park was crawling with big yellow lorries, each carrying yet another truckload of former-factory away from the site. A steady stream of lorries, approximately as frequent as buses along Regent Street, rumbled up and down Marshgate Lane. Each branched off down some different sideroad, through the wreckage of some demolished building, or away across some newly constructed temporary bridge. Diggers swarmed over every distant hillock, like giant orange ants on a compost heap, busy removing every trace of the area's former existence. It won't be long before their endless scavenging leaves the land barren, level and ready for renewal. The only constant in my monthly series of bridge-top photos is irreversible change. Hmm, do you think that curvy embankment down there could be the very first signs of the stadium perimeter?