Feel­ing less com­posed on Westminster Bridge

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

EARTH has not any­thing to show more foul – Wordsworth might now say about the fab­u­lous bridge that spans the Thames next to the Lon­don Eye. When Mr F and I ar­rived at Westminster Bridge re­cently, it was dif­fi­cult to en­joy the iconic land­mark painted by Turner and lauded by writ­ers.

There wasn’t an inch of pave­ment that wasn’t oc­cu­pied by Ro­ma­nian gangs fleec­ing tourists with the shell game... you know, those three lit­tle cups that whiz around and you win money (ha) if you spot where the ball is.

Mr F worked in Westminster for 40 years so knew that the bridge was al­ways packed with hol­i­day mak­ers tak­ing photos. Also the odd peanut seller by the sou­venir stalls.

This was some­thing en­tirely dif­fer­ent. Never mind a beau­ti­ful land­mark ru­ined, and nowhere to plant your feet, it was sin­is­ter to see tourists be­ing so openly conned.

When we got home I con­tacted Mr Google and dis­cov­ered these scam­mers are fre­quently moved on, but quickly re­turn. There were also sad tales of pick­pock­et­ing as peo­ple watched the stooges ‘win­ning’ big money.

And be­fore any­one writes in to say I’m be­ing racist – don’t bother. I’d be equally an­noyed if they were from War­wick or West Dray­ton.

Back at Westminster last Mon­day, and stay­ing overnight, I was star­tled to open the cur­tains next morn­ing to find a huge fig­ure of a man out­side my win­dow. For­tu­nately he turned out to be made of stone.

The Premier Inn at County Hall was once the home of the for­mer GLC where John McDon­nell served as deputy to Ken Liv­ing­stone. Time may have frozen for that statue but not for our Hayes and Har­ling­ton MP, who is now shadow chan­cel­lor.

Time has not stood still for our fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion col­lege ei­ther, but thank­fully – un­like Westminster bridge – in a good way. Uxbridge Col­lege, which also has a base in Hayes, is cel­e­brat­ing 50 years of suc­cess this month.

It has grown from a hum­ble tech­ni­cal col­lege to an Of­sted-rated out­stand­ing place of learn­ing with spank­ing new build­ings.

For­mer stu­dents, staff and gover­nors are in­vited to the Uxbridge Cam­pus on Oc­to­ber 22 any time be­tween 3-8pm for an ex­hi­bi­tion of col­lege history and a catch-up with for­mer col­leagues and friends. The mayor and the prin­ci­pal will speak at 5pm. Just drop in or register in ad­vance at www.uxbridgecol­lege.ac.uk/alumni

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