• Between 11am and 2pm on 28 March an undisturbed signal box obscured by scaffolding blocked the road near Hollies in Chelsea.
I was using the road to visit my local convenience store and saw the box and wanted to know what was going on. The gentleman I bought a chocolate bar from said he had noticed a lot of changes in the area during the past couple of months and I was interested in why. At that point, the box was cleared off and traffic on the road resumed.
The box is on the southern side of the road and would be positioned 20 to 25 feet from the street. It was impossible to view from the street and I wondered whether the woman using the signboard had noticed the unscheduled or unplanned change. Anyone have any suggestions or advice for what the box should do to be temporarily restored?
Alan Walker, West London
• The postbox (a one-stop text and email shop from which you could address urgent matters or send sentimental messages) has collapsed in an adjacent building and that is the main source of the space at all times. The box could not have been hit by a rogue gust of wind. So what was it doing in the street? It was blocking the view of at least one driver, and the traffic was starting to grind to a halt, and here comes the answer. The boxes on the outer edge of Trafalgar Square are overseen by a group of independent trustees, and are a status symbol used by some to show off their status in the tourist trade. It’s unlikely they were doing business, as the boxes sit immobile on the pavement (otherwise they could be crowded with people paying by card). The Trafalgar Square Trust has been negotiating with the commissioner to see what can be done about unauthorised use of the boxes, to be replaced as soon as possible.
Patrick Connolly, trustee, Trafalgar Square Trust
• Dispatches from a large construction site:
A scaffolder – standing next to a reflective pole beside a grader [where workers aim the wheels] – reached for the top of his hat with his right hand, at which point two workers jostled him so he had to look at his head. They both shrugged.
A motorist – in his car – noted the scaffolding cover with close-mouthed disgust, turning his back to the workers to drive off with a jumbled-up expression on his face.
One of the scaffolders – a tiny, nervous specimen – smiled mischievously, exposing an itch of badly marked stubble.
“Why,” said his employer, “are you grinning like that?”
“Because you think I’m at work.”
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