Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Death In Notting Hill

Something very strange was going on in W11 yesterday morning (Monday 29th July). I left home at 5.30am and was making my way towards my car which was parked in Lonsdale Rd. The first thing I noticed was something very bright in the road at the junction of Lonsdale Rd and Ledbury Rd. Although it was warm and the ground was dry, it was still a bit gloomy, a carry over from the heavy rain that we had overnight. They were so bright that at first I thought they were some kind of lights but as I got closer I could see that they were vivid red and yellow flowers, either artificial or artificially coloured.

Closer still, I found that they had been scattered over the bodies of two dead foxes! Some of the flowers appear to have been in the form of a garland but that may have been just the way that they had fallen.

If I hadn't been running late (sorry I'm late boss, I got held up by two dead foxes, was never going to go down well) I would have gone back to get a camera. I would probably also have phoned the police, although I'm not at all sure how that conversation would have gone!

I didn't have time to forensically examine the corpses but a couple of things were obvious.

Firstly, if they were road kill, they had been moved from where they had been hit. They were laid neatly side by side and on their sides. .

Secondly, if they were road kill it is very unlikely that they were killed at the same time or on this spot. I spend half of my life leaving for work at that ridiculous time in the morning and I see a lot of foxes in the area but they are always solo. I never see two adult foxes together on the streets. I'm not saying it never happens  but  I've not seen it.

Thirdly, they appeared to be in good condition. The flowers covered quite a lot of the bodies but they didn't appear to be emaciated and their tails, which tend to get a bit ragged and threadbare as their condition declines, were clearly visible and were bushy and very foxy. There was a small amount of blood on the road by one of the bodies but they did not appear to be damaged.

Fourthly, they can't have been there for long. It was light, the road is never completely traffic free. Also, neither the foxes or the flowers were waterlogged despite the fact that it had been raining heavily just a few hours before (I know, because I had been lying awake listening to it!).

I now wish that I had taken some photographs to support this tale, even if only on my phone, but give me a break, it  was 5.30 in the morning, I was tired and I was dragging myself off to work. Also, I didn't know at the time that I would be writing all of this down, anyway, it's too late to worry about it now.

So what is going on in Notting Hill. Is it satanists, witches, weirdos, vulpophobic aliens with florisitic leanings, animal sacrifice enthusiasts, hoaxers or simply someone attempting to show respect for two creatures that had died of natural causes. If the latter, then why lay them out in the middle of a road? How respectful is that? However, if it was any of the former group, then perhaps we are all in deeper trouble than even I give the world credit for!

Of course, there may be some (vaguely) rational explanation for all of this, but I'm buggered if I can figure out what it is.

Any thoughts or ideas gratefully accepted!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher....the Final Act

So, it's finally over. Margaret Hilda Thatcher has been despatched to meet her maker (if you believe in that kind of thing). Surely one of the most controversial and divisive figures in modern British history, her funeral has resulted in as much discussion as her entire political career.

We are told that she had planned her own funeral in minute detail (I doubt that she would have trusted anyone else to do it) and oh how that shows. The result was, in all but a few details, a State occasion.

After spending the night in the crypt chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster, she was transported by hearse to St Clement Danes, the RAF church in the Strand. Here she was transferred onto a gun carriage pulled by horses of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

If this had been a State funeral, the horses would have been replaced by a team of sailors, a tradition that dates back to the funeral of Queen Victoria. Apparently it was so cold on the day that the horses were extremely unsettled and there was a fear that they would bolt, which would have seriously shattered the dignity of the occasion. Luckily there was a group of underemployed sailors on hand who were (literally) roped in to save the day.

The cortege, accompanied by a military escort and the band of the Royal Marines, then made its way along Fleet St and up Ludgate Hill to St Paul's.

As to what went on inside the Cathedral, I have no real idea. I've managed to avoid most of the TV coverage but I'm pretty certain that that things were carried out in a serene and dignified manner. The thing that has been bothering me is was there much dignity in this whole show and the answer, to my mind, is no. A private ceremony for friends and relatives, perhaps followed by a Memorial Service, would have served the purpose perfectly well.

I freely admit that Margaret Thatcher was never my cup of tea, either personally or politically and that view has not been helped by the circumstances of this funeral. She was always a strong minded woman. Apparently, in 1948 she applied for a job with ICI. She didn't get it, having been deemed to be "headstrong, obstinate and dangerously self-opinionated", the shape of things to come I think!

This attitude remained with her throughout her political career and manifested itself during her final act as self-aggrandisement of the worst possible kind. This was her last chance to show a little humility, but she chose not to use it!

One other thing should be mentioned, and that is of course, the cost. We haven't yet been told what the final bill is for this event but the most common estimate is upwards of £10,000,000. You can't blame people, who are being financially squeezed in the current climate, to be horrified at this figure. I don't think the news that, according to the Telegraph, the Thatcher family is expected to contribute about half the costs, is going to soften those views.

I suppose, in the end, what we have is an old woman, in poor health, living in care (in the Ritz, which has to be the most expensive, and most luxurious care home in the world!) who finally succumbed to a major stroke.

I'm uncomfortable with the street parties and those who have been freely declaring that they are glad that she is dead, but I can understand the strength of feeling in some communities.

She was controversial in life and remains so in death but she is unlikely to be easily forgotten. I think that would have made her chuckle.