A Foggy Day in London Town*

Ah, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, and the perennial question of why any able-bodied person ever attempts to commute to work in their car in London, particularly when the visibility is about 100m and it is positively dangerous (as well as the usual drawbacks of being expensive, polluting, slow, stressful and boring). I am always willing to think ill of my fellow human beings, particularly car drivers (and particularly certain car drivers who treat pavements as extensions of the road but that’s another blog altogether) so I’ve always put it down to a combination of stupidity, selfishness and downright laziness, but it turns out there’s another factor at play, our old friend the law of unintended consequences.

A colleague at work has bought himself a car and been driving in instead of walking thereby converting a 25 minute stroll down the tow path into a 40 minute drive. Why? Because it’s a new car and he hasn’t got the ownership documents for it, hence he can’t get himself a resident’s parking permit for it either. Hence if he doesn’t want it towed, he has to crawl into work with the rest of the traffic, throwing up a few more grams of pollution into the air for us all to enjoy. I’ve always thought of parking restrictions as being a fairly effective means of getting people out of their cars but now I wonder how many more of the cars that inch over Kew Bridge every morning are residence permit refugees, driving into work because it’s the only place they can park during the day?  A little joined up thinking may be in order here …

* Pedants’ corner: This title notwithstanding, American and other readers should please note that despite a pervasive myth put around by one C. Dickens and never effectively dispelled, London is not plagued by regular pea-soupers, whatever one of those may be. It was however a little misty this morning.


2 responses to “A Foggy Day in London Town*

  1. A pea-souper is a thick yellowish fog of the kind we rarely see in London nowadays, thankfully.

  2. happily i’m not old enough to remember them, although I probably was in london during one… it was the coal that did it, I gather ..

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