Walking to the station this morning I noticed Hackney’s army of street cleaners busy going about their endless work – quietly and tirelessly clearing up the mess that had been left behind overnight. No, not the council – the pigeons. There was a knot of them around each puddle of vomit, another one assiduously pecking off any remaining chocolate from a Snickers wrapper, and on the platform at the station one very fat one tucking into the remains of a take away. Say what you like about pigeons – rats with wings, vermin – Hackney would be an even grubbier place without them (although at least I wouldn’t risk breaking my neck slipping on the slick of pigeon crap that builds up under the railway bridges – even the pigeons won’t eat that). If Wrigleys ever get around to inventing a chewing gum that’s palatable to pigeons even after it’s been flattened onto the pavement, half our littering problems would be solved. Teaching them how to recycle the remaining empties would solve the other half. I regard this as being only slightly less likely to happen than Silverlink ever giving us our bin bags back.
And talking of birds, I overheard the following snippet of conversation on the train the other day. Normally I don’t listen in much to my fellow passengers – partly because I don’t speak Polish and partly because there’s only so much fun one can have reconstructing the other half of a mobile phone conversation, but mostly because I just find it depressing.
Bloke to Girlfriend: ‘It says here 25% of people are going to die from bird flu if it comes to this country.’
Girlfriend to Bloke: ‘That’s because it’s got an 80% mortality rate. That means nobody ever survives it.’
There are some people for whom avian flu would be a kindness.
Total time wasted today: 8 minutes
Total time wasted to date: 11 hours 20 minutes
No. of Silverlink days to go: 6