Stiff Upper Lip Curling.

Today I went back to where I used to live. On the turning from Lea Bridge Road into the last residential street in Waltham Forest before Hackney someone has built badly a construction resembling dwelling quarters, nay a duplex, on the back of the last abandoned shop. It looks like rooms are joined onto the main yellow brick wall which must be at least eighty years old. The whole side has then been smothered with plaster. This, whatever it is, was built long before the relaxation in building applications and permission and is a complete eyesore. I doubt if any building inspectors ever examined the site before or after. The Council knows about it because I told them. There’s a side door which is often ajar but not inviting.  All in all a botch job but people live there and someone’s getting rent from the shambles.

Every day there is rubbish outside; I mean Tesco bags full of clothes, food leftovers, old amplifiers and it ain’t the wind blowing in the rubbish. The local businesses also leave their cardboard cartons and stale bread, oil drums and plastic waste on the same corner. I complained to the Council before and lo and behold two red bins have arrived. Those same bins now hold old clothes, broken chairs, plastic bags of food waste and etcetera.

It is all disgusting especially as this area is still billed by estate agents as a “desirable residential estate”. Today I passed the insult to the building trade in the UK and standing in the doorway was the Romanian woman who is the area’s efficient smiling scavenger of household bulk waste. She wears a rubber glove to sift through the bins and the black bags left by them. She always leaves the spoils tidy so she’s okay.  Today, looking ugly in her thinness, the woman was guarding her washing horses parked on the pavement outside. The road corner was a veritable laundry. We greeted each other and she dangled one bare foot onto her front door mat which is actually a crudely painted square on the paving stone. You couldn’t make it up, could you?

Why are people putting up with it? Why was such a dwelling not pulled down? There are children living in the hole. Where are the safe guarders of children, those who put a child’s right to a good home and education? Why do we in Leyton tolerate the washing on the street? If it were Chelsea or Notting Hill , Muswell Hill, or East Finchley there’d be uproar. It’s like ‘Davlavs’, those urine-stinking Tardis look-alikes rooted outside Tottenham’s Peabody estate residents’ windows. As if the Hamsteaders would even allow Dav to have his lav.

Wake up people! Maintain standards.  Fine if you’ve just arrived and don’t know that you shouldn’t bag up your baby nappies and snail shells and chuck them over the balcony to land in the ground floor tenant’s postage-stamp sized garden. After two weeks you’ll have seen the error of your ways. Mrs Romania, do you see your neighbour put out her sheets flat on the pavement out front?

We are all scared to say owt for fear of a knifing or looking intolerant of our island guests.

So I left the place that will probably always be home and felt sickened at the sight of the blue police vehicle lights on the next turning, the sea of blood in the road and the man -crowd congregated outside the eastern-European corner supermarket. Eeeh, Leyton! Eeeh, murdered.

Someone opened their front door, adjusted their pyjama bottoms, and spat out their orange pips.

Home.

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