London at night
by Lynda Archard
©: July 2002
The early hours of the morning started cold and wet. At 2.30am a cyclist dressed in rainproof overalls weaved in and out of traffic at High Holborn as if trying to see how long he could cycle before he skidded into the back of a car. A few pimps and drug dealers walked around King’s Cross and Shaftsbury Avenue and the rest of London was pretty much deserted. Even the foxes stayed in their dens.
The protesters opposite Westminster had abandoned their position in the centre of the banners. A large gap gave a good view between the banners in place of the large green tent that has adorned the area for weeks. I thought country folk would not mind a bit of cold rain. I suggested to Gary that now is a good time to get a bulldozer and put the pro-hunting banners in the bin before they get back but he reminded me that everyone has a right to protest – except animals it seems. Perhaps a herd of real bulls could be let loose to rid the area of the hunters rubbish instead then!
The highlight of my morning came when we arrived home to find my runaway cat, Mungo, sitting on the fence. He has been seen once since last December and it was raining then too. I had to chase him down the road and sit on the wet pavement coaxing him from under a car. After 5 minutes he let me stroke him and pick him up only to rip my arms with his claws as I started walking home and leave ginger fur covering my navy blue T-shirt. Then I told him he could stay where he was and he duly followed me home and I put some food outside before he disappeared again. I think he has a good life eating all the cat food that people put out for the foxes on the other side of the railway track. He only misses his cuddles on the odd occasion.
A man at Liverpool Street carries his home to somewhere else in London.
Another van driver gets into my ‘bad driver’ gallery at Liverpool Street Station.
A sign asking for witnesses outside Shooters Hill Police Station stands close to the accident last Monday. Still no one has answered the message I left on the answer machine last week.
One woman stood with two men at King’s Cross at 3am. By 5am there were two and four pimps leaned on railings on the opposite side of the road watching them.
At 2.25am a van went through a red light and did not see the police car waiting on the opposite side. The policeman followed him when our lights changed to green and I hope he got some points added to his licence.
A petty problem has arisen where we live over parking spaces. A neighbour who uses his garage to store junk from his house has now parked his car, which has a parking permit, in the spot where we park our van. The only other place we can park is behind our house through a pointless gallows gate that is noisy to open at 2am while people are sleeping. We took the van out to get diesel yesterday afternoon only to find that he had parked his car in the spot next to our house, which is the only area that does not need a parking permit outside the gallows gate, within 30 minutes of us leaving. It has caused me to write and ask the local council once again why we have waited eight years to get a garage when several are not in use for there original purpose. I did not name names because I don’t want to get as petty and childish as my neighbour. We are not unreasonable and easily approachable if there is a problem that we can sort out. Considering he wanted to park in this section when there were thirty other empty spaces he could have used suggests that he might be trying to make a point. And I’ll be interested to listen to what he has to say when I next see him and ask him if he has a problem with the van being parked next to OUR house. Now it is parked at the back of his house and will probably wake him every morning!
And on the subject of ignorance we move on to Liverpool Street Station where this taxi is parked in the disable bay meant for wheelchair users and people with disabilities that prevent them walking far. Across the road is an empty taxi rank!
There is a computer inside Euston Station, and other stations I assume, that displays information from the charity called ‘Shelter.’ If you are stranded without accommodation or money it will show available sites to help those who sleep rough and information of any help that can be offered. It is often stated on TV and radio in the UK that there is no need for anyone to sleep outside unless they choose to.
Four van loads of traffic wardens swarmed the area of Westminster at 5am while two people sleep rough on a green around the corner.
These two slept under the canopy at Victoria Station. All last week on the warmest nights of the year the doors were unlocked and people sat inside in the warm. Now that it is cold again they are locked out.
There were two foxes out this morning. As usual I took pictures and they were blended into the background like some sort of chameleon creature.
People who work or live close to foxes were shocked and dismayed yesterday after a report of a fox biting a baby as he slept on his settee in the living room with his mother in Dartford, Kent. Apparently the fox walked in through open French windows and attacked for no reason while the baby slept. This situation has never been heard of before and not likely to be repeated in the future. Although foxes in the City are used to people they rarely come near them. The further out into the country you travel the shyer the foxes become. Dartford is an area similar to Welling only further into the Kent countryside. Foxes are more likely to have tinned dog or cat food left out for them to eat in cities such as London than in the countryside where they are rarely seen except by foxhunters. This one could have been hungry enough to try and eat the baby as the mother claims or it could have been attacked because the fox was frightened.
One girl stood at Euston and one at King’s Cross, three pimps across the road stood leaning against the railings again. Three girls were in Shoreditch. There are none of the girls who were out between April and the start of June although one girl looks very much like the one who usually stands in Deptford, South East London.
A cleaner takes about thirty prostitute calling cards out of a telephone box outside Liverpool Street Station. Tomorrow there will be another thirty and some are stuck onto the outside glass too.
Fly tippers had dumped two loads of rubbish on the industrial estate near the kitchen over night. This is an illegal action that can lead to heavy fines or imprisonment if the rubbish is industrial. The first had an empty blue canister with the label torn off and a freezer, which will only be taken away if you pay and could have come from a business. The second pile in the next street had a lawnmower, three-piece suit and other household and garden junk that could have been dumped by someone else.
There was a TV and Film mobile company catering van at Victoria Station at 5am. The woman unloaded fruit and vegetables from the smaller van with a cigarette hanging from her mouth. I wonder which actor, actress or TV presenter will get food poisoning first.
There were no foxes out this morning. The rain fell across the South East for about ten hours leaving large deep puddles across the streets of London. Homeless people, male and female, still slept in doorways or walked the streets though.
One prostitute talked to a policeman who took notes as she spoke. She could have been hassled by someone against her trade or she might have been about to be arrested for soliciting.
Two girls stood in the rain at King’s Cross. Three pimps walked close to bus shelters and covered doorways while the girls stood out in the cold rain wearing summer clothing.
Happy 4th of July to our fellow Americans. I hope you all have an excellent day today. My ancestor was John Hancock and I was brought up to be proud of him and his small part, and large signature, in the freedom from slavery and encouragement of independence.
A man sitting in his car at 2.30am was looking extremely glum. A closer look revealed a big yellow clamp on his wheel and he obviously was not going anywhere tonight. I hope he found a good excuse for getting home late!
The freezer door at the kitchen is still broken. As Gary went to get today’s sandwiches to deliver the door was slightly open, which meant the temperature was either warmer than it should have been because it is summer or it is costing twice as much for the electricity to keep the thermostat correct. Either is just as bad.
A telephone box next to Madam Tussauds in Marylebone Road has been ripped off and several cars have been abandoned in Gordon Road, Euston and outside King’s Cross Station. And three women walked along Clerkenwell Road carrying a large orange street cone and a matching orange plastic chair.
Police surrounded a car and arrested the driver and his passenger in London’s docklands. The angle of the car made it look as though a chase had preceded the arrest. Both front doors of the car were flung open.
The funniest site of the morning came at 5am when a man delivered some papers to a shop in Shaftsbury Avenue. A drunken middle-aged man was slumped sleeping in the doorway and as the deliveryman tried to push the papers through the letterbox the drunk opened his eyes and lifted his head. Even though he was half asleep and harmless the deliveryman dropped the papers to the floor and ran.
There are some lovely architecture around London and some lovely old shops. This shop in New Oxford street, near Shaftsbury Avenue, is dated 1830 and sells umbrellas and riding paraphernalia in much the same style as the 1800’s. I don’t think many car drivers need a riding crop but I’m sure some of the workers in London have stables in their country retreats.
Two foxes hunted through bins for food together in Welling and one found something to eat in a front garden at the top of Shooters Hill. The animal looks as though it is growling but it was chewing something and my flash has made its eye glow. This picture was taken using the flash on my £250 Fujifilm camera, which is now obsolete as far as I am concerned. The camera was a good practical one at the time that it was bought, chosen for pictures to be either print quality or smaller size for my website. Now I want a bigger better one with an optical zoom lens and different shutter speeds for night pictures. If anyone knows of an editor needing a writer or anyone wanting a web designer please give him or her my URL so I can earn some money to buy a new camera. £800 worth of work should get me want I want. Until then I will keep dreaming and entering competitions to win one!
Click here for an article about my digital camera.
Three girls stood with one pimp this morning at King’s Cross and one walked slowly along Whitechappel Road in the East End of London. The girls who walk the streets now are not as flamboyant as those who were around here at Easter until May. These girls are still as obvious but they don’t glare at drivers or stand about with their coats open with their half naked bodies on show. The pimps are greater in number and much more obvious, perhaps they have forced lone girls to go elsewhere.
After a fairly warm evening yesterday it has rained since we left at 2am for work. At times the rain was torrential and only stopped for five minutes around 5am. It stopped me taking pictures but it did not stop people going out in London though; most didn’t even bother to take a coat and had to walk home in the cold rain. Anyone might think it was summer!
Along the A40 near Gypsy Corner a girl hitched up her party dress and adjusted her knickers in full view of traffic. Suddenly she looked up and glared at passing traffic as if she had just remembered that she was still out and could be seen. I’m sure she will have forgotten her embarrassment when she is sober.
I closed my eyes after leaving Welling and as we went back through Blackwall Tunnel I heard a strange noise that sounded like a cross between distant drilling and my sewing machine. I opened my eyes to see a scooter type moped bike in front of us poodling along at about 20mph.
At Liverpool Street there were three cars and 5 motorbikes parked in the disable bays. None had disable badges but it did stop the taxis from parking there.
There is only one thing worse than being stitched up by a company that has promised to sell you something and that is when a friend does it. Someone I thought was a good friend was selling an athlon processor, something I had wanted since they were put on sale a couple of years ago, and I told him I definetly wanted it and would have the money this weekend. If he had not agreed to this then I could have borrowed the money there and then. He also said he would bring it around to me on wednesday and knowing that I go to bed early to get up at 2am he did not turn up because he was tired. I waited up until 9pm and only had 5 hours sleep that night. I have now been told, first by someone else then confirmed by KB, that he has sold it to someone else. I have never gone back on an agreement, especially with a friend, and I am sick and tired of having this done to me. KB does not understand what verbal agreements are or what it means to let down a friend. I will never do business with him again and he has lost a friend who would never have betrayed him - not because of what he did but because of the underhanded and unfair way that it was done. If someone says they will keep something for me until the weekend then I expect that agreement to be kept or to at least get a call telling me he had a better offer asking me if I can match it. His excuse was that he had only just put it for sale when I telephoned him and that I was concerned that someone with no experience had taken it out of the computer and left the processor laying around in the open. KB has argued with my son that it doesn't matter if you touch components or that the heat sync had been ripped off the processor - and proved he knows nothing about what he had done.
An adult fox searched for food on a grass section of a roundabout in the road at Leamouth and another ran across Shooters Hill Road. Their coats must have been soaked through as it rained quite heavy all morning.
A prostitute sat on the ground under cover outside King’s Cross at 3am and at 5am she was walking around the street in the rain eating a yoghurt or something with a plastic spoon. Three pimps looked agitated as they stood talking on the corner opposite the station. In fact most of these young men look more scared with constant looks over their shoulders to check who is about. I would rather have one of the street girls protecting me if I were in this profession.
At Shoreditch two more walked around with umbrellas and five pimps. One prostitute braved the rain in Shaftsbury Avenue.
Next Update Monday 8th July
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