October’s monthly musings

🚓 What Cab News

The City of London is going to exclude cabs twenty-four hours a day from Bank Junction. Nowadays you can’t drive along Cheapside end to end and you can’t drive down Bishopsgate. Many cabbies already avoid working in the City, but when this goes into place, they’ll stop working the Square Mile completely.

🎧 What I’m Listening

For two years Blue Badge Guides Emily and Alex have been podcasting weekly snippets on their Ladies Who London as a way to (as they say) bring London’s quirky, fun history to everyone in the comfort of their own homes. Having just discovered them I have a lot of episodes to catch up on.

📖 What I’m Reading

For some time now I’ve been a member of NetGalley, which offer books for review. Ex-Home Secretary Alan Johnson now writes novels, his latest is The Late Train to Gipsy Hill. While most politicians turn to novels as a way of showing how inside track they were. Johnson eschews this approach and just gives us a thriller not without prescience given later events in Ukraine.

📺 What I’m watching

Sewage. Pressure group Thames 21 appeared on a BBC Panorama to show reporter Joe Crowley a mound of wet wipes on the Thames foreshore at Barnes. Designed to be a safety valve for occasional use, London’s overloaded sewage system routinely discharges raw sewage into the Thames, on average once a week, discharges have now become regular and routine. Thames21 showed the BBC Panorama team around one of the five Thames sites where wet wipes have accumulated in such quantities they have physically changed the shape of the riverbed and are informally known as the Great Wet Wipe Reef. Incredibly only 7 per cent of Britain’s rivers are in good health, and sewage pollution is one of the major causes. Ignore at your peril.

❓ What else

With the Queen laid to rest the arguments have begun over where to put her statue. Currently, there is only one full-size statue in Windsor Great Park. The bookies’ favourite is, of course, the fourth plinth, but that, according to ArtNet, would mean bringing to an end the “best-known public art commission in the world”. The plinth is not suitable for the memorial for the late queen either, as it sits in an awkward location in front of the National Gallery terrace, and close to the busy public toilets. Some politicians are lobbying for a statue in Parliament Square, other plans include renaming streets, parks, and even Heathrow airport in her honour.

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