I was on a walk with the kids, otherwise known as Mission Wheatear. Successful, and returning towards home, we were forced to walk right past where the convoy of Irish travellers had just parked up, presumably having chopped the lock off the access gate on Centre Road. I had thought that they might leave a guy with his children alone, being family people themselves. Unfortunately I had my camera with me, and that's where it all started to go wrong, and, as I now know, these people have different social values to me, and the presence of children is of no significance whatsoever. Theirs included.
As we walked home, one of them accosted me, demanded my binoculars. Right. Then wanted my camera. With children clutching at me, I politely declined, said I was out for a walk and was off home now. But you can afford to buy a new camera. Very true, but not relevant, so I refused again. By now there was a little more interest, and so the next thing I know a green Transit van was driving alongside me. Show me your camera. I want to see the last five photos you've taken. No. Though here's one of them if any readers are interested.
|Hope to get closer as the season progresses.....
When I got home (all in one piece, and with a camera - people should know that will be the last thing I ever give up), I looked up two things. Firstly, the number for the City of London Police, who got a call straight away, and secondly, the procedure on how to move Travellers off sites that they have illegally occupied. I should have guessed it, but the first internet hits were all about the rights of Travellers and how they could play the law to resist leaving. Amazing. I am not saying these people should not have rights, but equally, I don't feel that the driver of that particular van deserves a whole lot of legal protection. If there are any people with legal knowledge reading, I would love to know what my rights are when a man in a van, driving off the road and on a public open space, threatens to run me and my family over. Can he be prosecuted for threatening violence against minors? Against a six year old? I'd love to know as I am fuming. How dare he. How dare he frighten my children close to their own home, on the very playing field that they learned to ride their bikes on.
So, genuinely horrible. Plain nasty. I wonder what would have happened had I been on my own? Would I still have my camera? Maybe not. Anyway, I'm not happy, as you can probably tell. As I enter my fourth decade on this planet, the observed behaviour of my fellow citizens has hit a new low. As has been noted on this blog before, I sometimes come across as less than sympathetic to unfortunate people. In this instance, you can think what you like, as these particular people are scum and this is truly what I think. Vile, deplorable and indefensible. I feel sorry for their children, but how dare they threaten mine.
The postscript to this event is that the Met turned up that same afternoon and turfed them off, and they only left behind a small amount of rubbish, rather than the immense piles of rubble and mattresses that might have started to appear after a few days. Is it any wonder Travellers are ostracised if this is how they behave towards people? There is a whole lot to possibly explore here, about what has led to the current situation, what the options are that are fair for everyone. But I am in no mood to do so. Any credibility these groups may have has evaporated as far as I am concerned. Outraged of Wanstead? That's me.