I was just settling down to my daily fix of Jeremy Kyle and sharpening my meat cleaver when the door bell rang. That in itself was an event since having installed a wi-fi connected door bell it hardly ever works.
There on my door step was a familiar figure. A female council official. I'd encountered her a couple of years ago when she quizzed me on my apparent lack of rubbish bins. I explained that our household had a certain pride in our house and attractive front garden. We did not want that messed up with three ugly garbage bins. I explained that they were hidden away in my back passage, and I opened the wrought iron gate to show her.
I encountered her again about three weeks ago. We had assembled 30 "Poets for Sale" signs (see snapshot above) - specially designed Estate Agent boards and posts and they were in the aforementioned back passage. I was installing them in neighbours front gardens and that meant placing the three Dusty Bins on the pavement so I could get the boards out.
She commented on the the three bins on the pavement. I explained why they were there. She said they were blocking the pavement. I said I knew that and asked how she thought I might be able to deliver the boards without placing the bins, temporarily, on the pavement. She went away satisfied when I said it wasn't a permanent situation and I expected to have the bins back in their rightful, unobstructing places within a couple of hours.
Today, she wanted to know how long my "Poets for Sale" sign was to remain up. I had foreseen this possibility. I had awhile ago spoken to our Council Enviro-Crime enforcer about the 30 boards.
You see Councils get pretty hacked off with Estate Agents who put up For Sale signs and leave them up long after the property's been sold. It's not so much individual houses but you've probably all seen blocks of flats with all sunlight excluded by banks of "For Sale"/"To Let" signs cluttering up the block of flats only entrance.
The Council make exemptions - for modified boards advertising charities, school fates etc. The law is very specific. Our boards did not fall into the allowed category. I explained the purpose of our boards - artistic not commercial and sent him a mock which showed the relative size of the sponsor's logo. I also said that they'd be up for the period of our Art Trail - 2 weeks. He was happy.
As it happened, I thought that it would be a shame to disband our 30 poets in residence in 30 front gardens without getting them all together - I thought they'd look impressive. I e-mailed the local art gallery and park and our local museum.
The museum can back enthusiastically saying they'd love to display all 30 in their grounds, but it wouldn't be until the beginning of July. Since the Art Trail ended mid June, unless I took them down and stored them somewhere, they'd stay up for at least a couple weeks longer than I'd told Captain Enviro Crime. So I e- mailed him explaining what was happening. He replied that since no one had complained he was happy for them to remain for a while longer.
So, I was surprised that my Council official who I'd invited in was asking about the signs. Anyway I explained the background and she went away satisfied but not before commenting that the hedges had been trimmed in the street. Had they not been she would have put in a report about them overhanging and obstructing the pavements.
I can't complain. I'm always asking the Council to take more care of the street space, keeping it spruced up so people can be proud of where they live. She does her job well.
Algeria beat South Korea 4-2 last night. We didn't know we had so many Algerians in Walthamstow. From 10 pm until midnight they blocked the main street with crowds, cars and fire crackers. I so hope they get knocked out soon...but not by the Chileans...we have quite a few of them here as well.