Saturday, September 21, 2019

The day I met Enoch Powell

House of Parliament London-UK.

By Roy Pacheco

I was working at this giant Green Giant frozen foods store in Osterly-Egham just south of Heathrow Airport in London, when my boss called me to inquire about the progress of the work at this cold room. I told him I was almost done and was hoping to be at my next call in about half hour. My boss replied that he would like me to hustle over in to the Houses of Parliament. He had just received a call from the Parliament about the air conditioning not working in the smoking room.
"Just drive to the steel gates just south of the River Thames and the Police will greet you and just follow their directions," the boss said.

On my way there,  I thinking back to my days in Nairobi when I  was there to complete the air conditioning at Parliament buildings in Nairobi. That was in 1964. Then latter on,in 1967, I worked  in the Parliament buildings in Kampala-Uganda,  doing maintenance and repairs to the Carrier centrifugal-air conditioning deep in the basement of   the building. In this case, the chillers cooled a huge tank of chilled water which was pumped to various parts of the building.

Back to London: at the steel gates I was welcomed by six Policemen.I was escorted into Parliament House right under Big Ben. On the pavement with the  triple yellow lines I parked my motor as directed by the escorting Policemen. Where I was parked was a only a stones throw to the base of the actual Big Ben! All the policemen offered to carry my tools,welding  bottle,vacuum pump, Freon gas bottle, gauges and a leak detector. I was ushered along the embankment with the River Thames higher on my left. We came to this large double door almost 12 feet tall and about eight feet wide. This door, the policemen explained was the very same door Guy Fawkes tried to enter when trying to enter the gain access to  blow up Parliament. 

On entering,  immediately to my right, stood a large York Borg Warner unit which supplied cold air to the smoking room. The Police left me at this point and told me that they would be back in an hour's time.  So, I just took my time investigated what when wrong! I found a big leak on a cracked copper pipe. No big deal, I had all the equipment to mend this with me. I got to work right away: welded the cracked pipe, vacuumed the system and was about to start up when I found that the unit had been shut off inside the smoking room at the thermostat.

 I had to enter the smoking room and head for the thermostat located on the far wall. I turned the control ON and proceeded to exit the way I came in. The room had all  lush furniture all leather clad, a coffee machine, a refrigerator probably loaded with wine and booze. The room also smelt very strongly of cigarette and pipe smoke. On glancing around, there was a lone gentleman smoking a pipe and coughing as well which attracted my attention. He laid his newspaper down to pull out a handkerchief. Lo and behold! It was Enoch Powell (the anti East African Asian immigration, who warned that England would drown in "rivers of blood" if the immigration was not stopped)!  I exclaimed "Hi Enoch" and put both hands to my ears mockingly, and proceeded to the exit with out waiting for a reply.

Returning to the machine room, I switched on the air conditioning and topped up the system with Freon. After doing a final test, I glanced at my watch, it looked like the Policemen would be arriving very shortly. I let the unit run while I watched the temperature drop. Suddenly as planned, the Police showed and each one of them picked up my equipment. W en I got back to my van, I got one of the Police men to sign my sheet for work completed.

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