I have never liked gulls.
They have that cold eye and they are always bigger than we expect and while every second journo is doing that “how could they attack that poor little dog? there is no explanation for their numbers trebling” – why do people love to be scared ? – there is a reason and it’s down to us.
A couple of years ago one of the Sunday colour magazine featured a terrific piece about the Rise of the Gull, only one person salaried to study them, protected, powerful, aggressive and nourished on landfill which – though expensive – is still where waste goes and most of our waste is now full of singularly nourishing things – throw away take away, for a start.
Gulls are smart. They aren’t going to spend all that time being buffeted by cold winds, chasing falling sea stocks (fish to you). Just come inland a bit and feast like a king.
I am so sorry for the small dog killed in front of her young owner but this will go on till a gull attacks a child or an old person and then we shall have screams of “Hitchcock – The Birds!”
It is always somebody else’s fault, never our own.
Some time ago, Britain was described as “the dirty man of Europe” for its waste disposal – not a sexy subject so not given the coverage it deserves in any branch of the media, ill served by well intentioned tv documentary because it is so depressing.
Living in London is like living in a rotten tooth.
And I live in a borough which has made strenuous efforts to face up to waste disposal for the 15 years I have lived here, up to and including staff who answer emails, and a delightful man who introduced himself at a public meetings with his name and “I’m waste!”
Walking through allegedly posh Knightsbridge (Harrods and that), every window ledge had a can or packaging on it. There were discarded bottles (plastic and glass) on the top of every telephone terminal, fire hydrant, every available surface.
Given that this is the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and rates and charges make your eyes water, if I were running a business there, I’d be steaming.
We did away with street rubbish containers because of the IRA allegedly putting bombs in them and more recently because every such site becomes a collecting point for the rubbish people don’t want.
In my own street, the council operatives collect loose rubbish in distinctive green bags which are often tied to a lamp post for collection a bit later – by which time the pile up of discarded doormats, old curtains, general rubbish, unwanted wood and plastic, cigarette packets, sweet wrappers and dog muck (wrapped of course) has been assembled round it. I am happy to report that it is nowadays standard to wear heavy duty gloves for waste disposal. I wonder where they go when they are done?
This was for me a weekend of not liking the world I live in very much. In the 1950s part of the function of my mother’s enormous handbag was to contain a spare paper bag and rubbish went into it to go home into our bin. Packaging then could be crumpled up. Now it is often rigid and thus much harder to dispose of, even if there were somewhere to put it and we had enrolled footballers, pop stars, gangsters and saints to drive forward a campaign to deal with it.
I think Cilla Black is well off out of it. Of course we still don’t know the cause of
her death – half a story being another one of those things maddening things about modern life and 72 is considered a very young age to be dying.
But a woman only a few years older (Gill Pharaoh, 75) enlisted all her family and her partner to her own powerful will to say goodbye to her by lethal injection because she could not face an incapacitated future. She was a nurse who had spent years in palliative care and she wasn’t going to risk it.
Cilla famously missed her husband who managed her career until his death and growing older alone is tough for all of us.
She has gone out remembered among other things for the grin, the legs and the grooming in paragraphs of guff.
There’s no business like show business.