Thursday 26 July 2012

Moaning for Britain

My job, as many will know from the Peanut Challenge, is at Canary Wharf, aka the Avian Desert. I live in Wanstead, and if you didn't know that then frankly there is no hope. Between these two cultural Meccas is a place called Stratford, and recently some funny white buildings have been popping up.

Yes, Britain is proud to be hosting the Olympic Games. We have spent years planning it, and it is almost upon us. We have chosen the most utterly pathetic mascots the world has ever seen, we have attempted to insult as many nations as possible before the games actually begin, we have more MacDonald's personnel than security, and the public transport system is crumbling around us. Yup, we're about as ready as we can be.

London 2012. A showcase for what makes Britain great.
Seeing as how I work in Canary Wharf and live in Wanstead, I have to go through Stratford to earn my crust. My normal commute is a shade over 40 minutes. So by Thursday evening I would have expected to have spent a very pleasurable five hours and 20 minutes on public transport. So far this week that number is closer to ten hours, including walking home from Stratford one evening as the problems were beyond resolution. And the Olympics haven't even started yet. People wonder why I've been moaning quite so much. There's one reason right there. No, I didn't get tickets.

Any other gripes? Well yes, thanks for asking, there are quite a few as it happens. The first is an enormous Police Base on Wanstead Flats that has eliminated a good proportion of the patch and cut my morning birding in half. It's been present for a month, and is planned to be present for about another two months. I can only imagine the state of the area once it's all gone. Then there are the missiles on the Fred Wigg Tower. The only reason I can't see them from my house is that a tree is in the way. I don't like missiles very much at the best of times, and having them that close in case some nutter decides he is going to make a statement to the the world makes me quite uncomfortable. I feel like I'm in the line of fire. Two more reasons why I'm not embracing the Olympics.

Anything else? Yes. Helicopters. There are helicopters everywhere. All day and all night there are helicopters buzzing around. Try to work, helipcopter. Try to sleep, helicopter. In my dreams all I can hear are helicopters. And sirens. And people. There are people everywhere. I know. It's London and there are always people everywhere. This is true, but there are more people everywhere. In my current frazzled state it doesn't take much.

Thankfully I have the perfect remedy. I'm going to Norfolk at the weekend to photograph waders. I think Titchwell will be perfect.


  1. Same kind of thing in Greenwich, Greenwich Park 95% shut and Blackheath taken over by support facilities, missile battery, police and entertainment structures for who knows how long, trains and buses being weird and lots of people displaced by this and crammed into the remaining green space... sigh... and guess what? I couldn't get tickets to the events half a mile away either, haha :-)

  2. So you agree with Mitt Romney then? ;) Just kidding ... as I saw one commenter remark, even if there was a little truth to his comment, it was very bad form to actually make it given the context, not to mention all his other gaffes thus far.

    I would be pretty unnerved by missiles next door too. Makes the the unreliable military jets they want to site at the base in our town look positively reassuring by comparison.

  3. Helicopters,sounds a bit like living under the Stansted airport flight path 24/7 52 wks....