London’s parks are what set it apart from other capitals. They’re like that wonderfully sweet icing atop a Hummingbird Bakery creation. You know, the stuff which makes it that bit tastier than any other cupcake. Parks elevate London, and my growing rancour towards people who mistreat these hallowed green spaces has almost reached its peak.
London Fields is my local park. Walk through it around midday when the weather’s good and you’ll be hard pushed to find a scrub of grass to lounge on. This, if a little irritating because I want somewhere quiet to read, is essentially fine, because that’s what the park is for. I should’ve got there earlier.
But then I see them. The cluster of carefully misplaced trilby’s perched precariously over eyes shaded by neon sunglasses. Thin roll-up cigarettes exposing wispy tobacco strings protrude from several lips. They’re having a barbecue, and among the plethora of tattered Converse All Stars is an apocalyptic scattering of plastic packaging.
Come early evening, when the band of ‘trendies’ has left my beloved park, not a scrap of rubbish will have been moved, save those blown away by a light breeze. To say nothing of the charred, black mess left by the barbecue which is still there, smouldering. There are five similar pyres within a stone’s throw.
This could just be an east London thing, but whatever it is, I find the supreme arrogance of these litterers astounding. I can’t understand what makes them abuse a public luxury and then expect someone with better manners to clean up after them. Maybe their super-skinny jeans are cutting off the circulation to their fingers, thus leaving them incapable of gripping their burger box and putting it in the bin? If that’s the case, then there’s a medical epidemic spreading that needs government attention and I take back my spite.
Maybe self-policing is the way forward, in which case I hope there are more people in the area that feel like I do about London Fields. It may sound possessive and a touch Mafioso, but if you can’t respect it, then get off my turf. Sort of like the eco-Stringer Bell, who is (incidentally) from east London and could feel the same way.
Image by BrotherMagneto courtesy of Flickr