Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Chill Out

London is finally loosening itself from the grip of the big freeze. According to the BBC by Thursday we could be experiencing temperatures as high as 5 degrees. Heatwave! Again we might be able to pop to the corner shop without worrying about frostbite if we forget to put our gloves on. I can’t wait, and am even contemplating a walk on the heath over the weekend in celebration.
So, have the harsh weather conditions warmed the hearts of Londoners? Has community spirit returned to London after being absent since the last world war? Not likely. A colleague told me the Metro reported last week that Londoners were happy to blame the council for the shortage of grit for our pavements. Rather than taking the bull by its horns and sprinkling a bit of salt outside their front doors, they’d rather slip slide all the way to the bus stop. Besides, why should they bother salting their share of the pavement without guarantee that their neighbours will do the same?
I’m not a religious person, but there is a line from the bible that I often find myself referring to. To paraphrase; Do to others as you would have them do to you. If more people lived with this sentiment in mind, the world would be much nicer place. People would throw a bit of salt outside their houses to help prevent their elderly neighbours from falling and breaking their hips. They would move their bags off the seat next to them on the bus to allow other passengers to sit down (the three people on the upper deck of the 91 bus this morning, you have been observed) and even stand up for those less able to stand. And, you never know, when the situation is reversed, you might find that someone treats you with the same consideration. Those young people who we are so quick to criticize might pick up on the idea and think twice before putting their feet on the seats opposite them on the train and playing their music on loudspeaker. People might start to smile more. Violent crime could drop. Drug and alcohol misuse could be eradicated, just because people feel that other people care. Okay, so I’m exaggerating, but you get my drift. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean we have to be cold to each other.
So, have I sprinkled salt outside my front door over the last week? Of course not. I rent. Surely it’s the responsibility of my landlord...


  1. Like it - and yes, I agree - I also rent, so it's someone else that should be gritting and fixing! But rightly, if more people looked out for others, especially in London where that's in short supply, London town would be a nicer place!