I begin tunnelling, through rock, clay and gravel, cutting through the streets of London. A link from the King to his Knights of St. John. Covered over with arches of bricks. Down the line two dummy house fronts act as camouflage. Engines grind through the bowels of commerce, rattle homes, disturb lives. Yesterday travel around the city was on foot and by horse. Today, we add steam, and tomorrow diesel and electricity. There will be tunnels upon tunnels, a labyrinth of humanity.
My ancestors carved out souterrains, time has eroded their function, their purpose. Catacombs provided a place of rest for thousands. Aggressors undermined city walls laying siege to beleaguered towns. Drains took away the effluent of society. There are unknown tunnels still keeping their secrets.
My grandson will dig trenches at Passchendaele, he will shoot at his enemy and shelter from their mortars. My great-grandson will shelter in my tunnels during the blitz. His descendants will dig deep under the Channel uniting old foes. Tunnels will blast their way through mountains and connect isolated islands. Provide means of escape and life lines in war.
The tunnel I’m constructing is the future taken from the past.