Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Cleaning up Kensington, one wing mirror at a time

A series of expensive-sounding bangs outside my front window were what first aroused my interest. Looking outside, one of the 'Clean Up Kensington' trucks was going down the road. This wasn't unusual. What was unusual was that the truck's vacuum hose hadn't been secured: it was swinging freely, swiping the wing mirrors off parked cars as it went.

I was just in time to catch the best bit: the hose banged into the bonnet of a Ford hatchback, leaving a fair-sized ding in the bodywork. It flipped over the roof of the Ford and smashed in the rear windscreen of a Fiat Cinquecento, parked facing in the opposite direction. Bouncing over the Fiat, it then bashed in the headlamp of a Saab.

At this point the driver, perhaps realising that his progress down the street was accompanied by more screams and bangs than usual, pulled over.

I wandered out onto the street to survey the damage. One car owner was raging over his 4x4's missing wing mirror. A lady across the street was stammering about how horrible all the destruction had been. Various council employees from the truck were trudging humourlessly up and down the road making notes of the damage, while a man I took to be the driver was slumped against a garden wall, puffing fretfully on a cigarette, staring at nothing, thinking perhaps about deep cosmic uncertainties. Or what a lot of trouble he was in.

Out of consideration for his feelings, I forebore to take any photos of the mess. I half-suspected the whole thing had happened purely for my amusement. Otherwise, it was a pretty slow day.


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