>I got the power

> Plonking around our capital on Ten-Inch Wheels, you get to be very aware of the state of the roads. On a Vespa you feel each and every bump and depression. In the last five years, I have noticed that potholes are getting bigger and deeper and the general state of London’s roads is getting very much worse. On my daily commute I negotiate at least four wheel-swallowers, one of which is so deep that a set of ancient cobbles can be seen in the bottom. The daddy of all potholes is the one on the westbound stretch of the Bow Flyover. This is a jagged rut, at least a hundred feet long, several inches deep and about 4 inches wide that stretches from almost the bottom of the flyover to just over the apex where it abruptly terminates with a series of neat repairs. This is the point where the Newham and Tower Hamlets council boundaries meet. Tower Hamlets have fixed their bit of the bridge, Newham haven’t. Of course, a major road bridge isn’t the reponsibility of one single authority. The idea! Riding over this bridge can be terrifying – especially as only 3%* of drivers in the East End have actually passed a driving test. Being tailgated by a BMW (it’s always a BMW) is quite enough without having to avoid a road defect that could have been designed especially to trap scooter wheels.

Ever since I tried to get an ID card when I lived in Munich, I’ve done all I can to avoid dealing with local government. There, my dour and pessimistic colleagues informed me that if I got patted down by the Polizei and found to be an ‘alien’ (yes, really) with no identification, I would certainly be sent to Colditz and put in an iron maiden. Securing the card involved stalking endless, echoing corridors of a great many buildings in search of obscure offices where a sour-faced chainsmoking hermit would grudgingly stamp one of my dozens of gaudily coloured forms. This went on for several weeks. At one point I had to get a form from a department in a former mansion in the Bavarian countryside. When i presented myself at the front desk, a visibly amused member of staff informed me that the place had been converted to a hotel a couple of years earlier. I still don’t know if that was some sort of German joke at my expense. I gave up after that, and took my chances with the cops.

However, reporting the fault to Newham Council was relatively painless. I spent fully half of the conversation reassuring the bloke on the other end of the line that I really did want to report a fault in Newham, even though i don’t actually live in Newham. He said it will be investigated within 48 hours. We’ll see.

* probably.

(image from diamond geezer)

About teninchwheels

Designer, photographer and Vespa-fixated pub bore. Born in Yorkshire, living in that London these past 20 years. Get in touch at teninchwheels@gmail.com, especially if you'd like to send me some free beer.
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2 Responses to >I got the power

  1. Affer says:

    >What an all-encompassing, swipe-all post! I laughed out loud at the thought of you hunting the ID card….”I just want an ID card!””Ich verstehen, aber first you must prove your identity to me….”!Wonderful!

  2. >Thanks, Affer. We used to call situations like this The Great Myth Of German Efficency. See also: Buying a telephone card,

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