As you enter Bielsko Bia³a from the north, you can see a tall, grey, concrete building. It is not an office or a block of flats but just an empty shell. It has been sitting there like that since I first visited the place (I walked there from Gliwice in 1998, a journey of ten hours) and nobody has added anything to it. Nobody has done anything to pull it down either. Here’s what I don’t understand: Is somebody planning to finish it and, if so, when?
There’s another building like that here in Wroc³aw. This one has an artist’s impression of what it’s going to look like painted on the fence around it but I have not seen anyone working on it (although I have only lived in Wroclaw for four years. Maybe it is a very long tea break). I’m sure these were both good ideas at the time. Somebody must have said ‘Let’s build a car park and some offices’ or something like that, rather than ‘Let’s build a pile of concrete and leave it there for several years’. Still, there have been bigger wastes in history.
A British engineer working in Ireland built a canal to connect one town to the nearest river. A lot of people worked digging the waterway and when it was finished, they tried to fill it with water. The problem was that the canal was dug through limestone, which cannot hold water (it just ran out as soon as it was poured in). ‘No problem’, they thought, and spent more time and money putting clay all along the canal to make it waterproof. However, when they tried to fill it a second time, they realised one end of the canal was higher than the other, and they were trying to make water run uphill. I hear the canal has been lying there empty ever since.
The British army asked for something that would double the distance they could hear an enemy aircraft from. As a result you can see two huge concrete dishes on the Kent coast called ‘sound locators’. Nobody has used them for sixty years. The air force were more specific. They asked for something that would help them find an aircraft as far away as possible. They got radar. The rest is history.
concrete – beton
empty – pusty
shell (in this text) – szkielet
an artist’s impression – a picture of what
something will look like
in the future or looked like
in the past
canal – kanał
to dig – kopać
to fill – napełnić
limestone – wapień
to pour – lać
clay – glina
waterproof – wodoszczelny
uphill – pod górę
distance – odległość
aircraft – samolot
a dish – talerz (although it is the same shape as antena satelitarna)
specific – konkretny
‘It’s been sitting there” = ‘It has been sitting there”
This is the Present Perfect Continuous tense. How many examples of verbs in the Present Perfect Simple and Present Perfect Continuous can you find in the article?
nobody has added anything to it
Nobody has done anything to pull it down
I have not seen anyone working on it
I have only lived in Wroclaw for four years
there have been bigger wastes
the empty canal has been lying there empty
Nobody has used them for sixty years
The two concrete buildings in the article are ‘abandoned projects”.
What do you think these mean?
an abandoned child
an abandoned football match
An abandoned child is a child who has been left alone illegally by his or her parents or guardian.
An abandoned match is when the players decide not to continue playing. Nobody keeps a record of how many goals were scored before they stopped. It can also be used in other sports and games.
If you are on a sinking ship, the captain might shout ‘Abandon ship!”, meaning ‘Everybody get off the ship!”. Captain Smith said this on Titanic although you don’t hear it in the 1997 film (you do in the better film ‘A Night To Remember” from 1958).
polecane: Pierwszy Polak połknął elektroniczną pigułkę