Rickshaws, Cyclists, Property Speculators and other irritants.
I believe it’s illegal to ply goods on Oxford Street or to beg or to even to busk without a license. I understand that street entertainers have to audition to get a pitch nowadays, including the “living statues”.
Why then is it not against the law for those pesky rickshaw drivers to tout for business along the most congested streets in London’s West End? They don’t have a fare tariff, a license or pubic liability insurance. They hold up genuine public transport – i.e. the 98 bus upon which I regularly travel and, to cap it all, play loud music. Not being licensed like normal cabs, their passengers cannot rely on being taken by the fastest or safest route. Guess there’s some big back-handers going on there.
I hate cyclists. To be more precise I hate cyclists who ride on the pavement or who jump the traffic lights at pedestrian crossings. I have a sprained ankle due to diving out of the way of one such expletive-unlady-like-double-expletive. He, in his yellow oil jacket but sans helmet, whished through on the inside lane at red traffic lights, despite traffic in the other two lanes having obediently stopped. I stumbled forward, grabbed his jacket, stumbled backwards and, being fairly agile for my age and size, managed not to fall. However I twisted my ankle very badly to such an extent that three months later it is still weak. As an actress I can’t afford to hobble; no one in fact wants to limp. Of course the cyclist just sped on, presumably cackling.
Cyclists on pavements are a constant menace. To be fair probably many of them on the blonde-blokes-blue-bank-bikes don’t actually know it is illegal to cycle on the pavement in this country because there are no big signs telling them not to do so. They don’t have to take a cycling proficiency test like what we had to do in the seventies, nor do they have had to read the Highway Code before zooming off. I think it’s bonkers to ride a bike on London Streets – they weren’t designed for it and cycle lanes are pretty stupid because eventually they will just come to a halt; it’s just moving the hazards further away.
I’ve asked Santa Claus for a water pistol for xmas so that I can squirt any cyclists who threaten me on the pavement; apparently real guns with bullets are really against the law and, yes, against my pacifist beliefs. I have a CND badge after all.
Property speculators are not intrinsically evil. There’s nothing wrong with owning a few buildings and renting them out to make a living. There’s nothing wrong with selling a building at a profit nor is there anything immoral about insisting tenants sign an agreement. What’s disgusting is those who deliberately keep buildings empty that could be homes for vast periods of time. There’s a house next door to my aunt which has been empty for over twenty-five years. It has been allowed to deteriorate and become an eyesore as well as being so damp that water has seeped into the flats adjoining. Apparently there is nothing the council can do about it. Gone are the days of compulsory purchase just as gone are the days of rent tribunals.
When I was a student we were paying a fair rent. The landlord wanted to increase it. We said we’d go to the rent tribunal. He said that as we were good tenants and paid on time and nice people (would you believe we baby-sat for his children occasionally) he’d leave the rent as it was. Nowadays, I guess, we’d’ve been thrown out .
Flats and houses are the rocks of society. They are places for people to live in, be safe from the elements.
Speculate on precious metals, gamble on the value of antiques but homes should be sacrosanct or at least there should be laws governing buildings left empty for long periods of time. Yes, it would be difficult to differentiate between those genuinely leaving their home empty because they are working elsewhere and those foreign investors who have no interest in making their home in our town (or indeed native investors who think it’s a bit of a lark watching property prices rise and fail.)
Other irritants include much bigger things such as the bias of the press, the current mayor of London, the tory party, the ukip party, the lib dems and those who think it is more important for a prime minister to have charisma than intelligence.
Oh, I am also irritated by bad grammar (my “what we” earlier was ironic), grocers’ apostrophe’s, bus drivers that won’t let me off in grid-lock traffic (there’s a button above the door you can press for emergency exits – if I’m late, it’s an emergency), people who don’t fold up pushchairs on the bus – why do people nowadays have to ferry their children around in the equivalent of a 4×4), 4×4 vehicles in London (we used to call them Land Rovers), ticket touts, the scandalous prices some bars charge for soft drinks, litter and “three for two” offers in supermarkets which mean that I waste too much time trying to decide which product to have for free when I only wanted leeks and mushrooms but now have to decide whether bean sprouts or mini corns should also come home to wither in the fridge with me.
Have finished ranting for the moment.
That’s what happens when I have a painful ankle and have to sit still with foot elevated for two days in order to be able to work on Monday, which is looking like to be a very interesting day indeed as I am filming in the morning, doing a voice-over in the afternoon and un-rehearsed reading in the evening.
Thank you for reading thus far.
Will be light-hearted tomorrow.