Monday, 16 June 2014

Travellers, Lament ...

I like to think of myself as a tolerant person, liberal-minded and not-that-judgemental. I don't vote Ukip (or Tory) and though I have been known to look through the Daily Mail, it's mostly with horrified fascination. If I had a motto it would probably be Live and Let Live.

Today I am struggling mightily to uphold that motto.

Across the busy main road that passes the end of the quiet cul-de-sac where we live is what remains of the city's planning department. The buildings have been demolished, the debris removed but the car parks remain. One of the car-parks is so hidden from the road that I've been unaware of it's existence for the full 21 years that I've lived here. Yes, I know *Rolls eyes at self*

Last Tuesday evening, with one child on a scooter and one on skates, we went exploring and found that deserted car park. It was a practically perfect place to skate and scoot

So the children skated and scooted while I marvelled that I'd never noticed such a huge car park a mere 500 yards or so from the house.

While we were there, three men appeared in the otherwise totally empty car park. Fearing they were council heavies on a mission to shout at us for invading, we kept a wary eye on them as they walked from one end of the car park to the other. They walked around, they examined the large green gate* that sat locked at the top of the entrance. They examined the green metal box cupboard presumably holding electrical type gubbins**. They nodded at us amiably and said hello as they passed. Then one of them went and had a pee into the bushes and they left.

They were, I thought in passing, probably not council workers: they weren't wearing hi vis vests for one thing.

And as they went on their merry way, so did we.

Today we went back to the car park again. And it looked like this ....

Yes, the dolls gave us a fright at first.

Piles and heaps and mounds of waste and rubbish are strewn across the car-park and in trees and bushes. Things abandoned, thrown away and left behind. Empty boxes, used nappies, dirty clothes, toys, scary dolls, chairs, towels, gas canisters, more empty boxes, tv stands. Food wrappings; tins, bags, packets and bottles. And food, uneaten, leftover or regurgitated.

And that was not the worst. The hidden, dark, tree-sheltered pedestrian path that leads up to the car park has apparently been serving purpose as a latrine. And not in a neat way. They may have had many empty chainsaw boxes, but not one spade at all ......

I have no words, though I may seem to have used a lot of them so far.

I would like to be angry and disgusted in a spluttering Daily Mail kind of way but I'm not. I am deeply, deeply disappointed. And sad.

I feel let down.

And I feel stupid.

It's only in retrospect that I realise the three men were checking out the car park as a place to 'camp'. I'm assuming those 'campers' were families with babies and toddlers, mostly from the rubbish they left behind. And I'm damn sure that those 'campers' didn't, don't and never will give a stuff about anyone else at all: also from the rubbish they left behind.

I've explained to The Boy why we shouldn't poo on the path, something I genuinely never thought was going to be necessary and The Tween has showered, twice. I'm wondering whether it was entirely coincidence that brought the police to the door last week asking about a theft from a van and thinking perhaps it wasn't, while being entirely boggled that in less than a week, persons unknown and unspecified have been and gone leaving such a mess and such a smell. A very bad smell.

From now on I'm going to be more suspicious, slightly less tolerant, a little more judgemental, less trusting, and a little less idealistic. That makes me sad, but not as sad as shouting at an eight-year-old to avoid the shit on the path.


* Big green gate with no fence attached. It did have a big lock on though but I suspect the gas powered chainsaws from the gas powered chainsaw boxes may have seen to that *Nancy Drew face*

**A technical term.

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