The do’s and don’ts of walk­ing the pave­ments

Uxbridge Gazette - - OPINION -

DOG MESS was a con­stant source of neigh­bour­hood news when I was a re­porter, with read­ers reg­u­larly rant­ing about the ex­cre­ment left in parks and on pave­ments.

Re­porters would of­ten re­turn from a coun­cil or res­i­dents’ meet­ing to an­nounce to the news­room: ‘An­other poo story’. We were all ob­sessed with the stuff.

At one nurs­ery school in Hayes there was a reg­u­lar poo in­spec­tion each morn­ing. This had noth­ing to do with pupil in­con­ti­nence and ev­ery­thing to do with doggy-doos.

The chil­dren would sit on the floor for some ac­tiv­i­ties, like singing and sto­ry­time, so it was im­por­tant that their com­mu­nal space wasn’t con­tam­i­nated by mucky shoes.

Anx­ious in­fants would line up to show the un­der­side of their shoes and wellies. And oh, the shame if they had trod­den on a turd. The pun­ish­ment was soli­tary con­fine­ment with only wa­ter and dog bis­cuits for ra­tions – and def­i­nitely no walkies. (I jest, ob­vi­ously – don’t write in).

All this angst dis­ap­peared when pets were no longer al­lowed to roam the streets, and own­ers were re­quired to clean up after their dogs. But now it seems we have peo­ple who are not pick­ing up their pooch’s parcels and are let­ting them foul the pave­ments.

On two oc­ca­sions re­cently I have stepped in dog dirt. Most an­noy­ing was a stream of the stuff in our lovely his­toric Wind­sor Street, right in the cen­tre of Uxbridge.

A woman walk­ing in front of me squealed as she nearly hit the skids, but it failed to stop me do­ing the same. I’m sure many oth­ers fol­lowed suit, slip­ping and slid­ing like a scene from a Carry On film. If this con­tin­ues, we may in future have to line peo­ple up for a shoe in­spec­tion be­fore en­ter­ing our bor­ough. Don’t pooh-pooh the idea.

Can I say again that cof­fee bars are not the right place to con­duct sen­si­tive in­ter­views? Re­cently, on the ta­ble next to me, a man was be­ing quizzed about ev­i­dence for some kind of up­com­ing tri­bunal. Very sen­si­tive stuff, and too loud to be ig­nored. It was very dis­com­fort­ing and ru­ined any hope of a re­lax­ing break for the rest of us.

On a lighter note, what do you call a black cof­fee when you are in the USA? When Mr F or­dered one in New York they looked very puz­zled when he asked for an Amer­i­cano.

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