Buses and the Marathon – 11 days before election day!

What a week. Now tired after having returned (on the bus) from a lovely evening meeting some voters in the Cator estate around Morden Road and The Plantation. I never ceased to be amazed what strong communities we have throughout the ward, but especially in the pockets of Blackheath. Residents can easily rattle off not just all the neighbours but their predecessors as well.

People seemed pleased with local public transport but some useful pointers on the need for more reliability in some of the bus services. Everyone delighted with the new 386 service to Greenwich that both Alex and I were involved in extending and, in general, with the train service. Much praise about the Library service in Greenwich and people were looking forward to the re-opening of the refurbished Blackheath Library tomorrow (Monday) on Old Dover Road.

The other big event of the day – apart from canvassing more SE3 voters this morning – was the great London marathon. I wet out with my eldest daughter for a shorter than normal early morning run through the unexpected rain and saw the elite women pounding the streets to return home for shower, coffee and that great annual spectacle of over 30,000 runners passing right outside our house. The one time of the year where disparate neighbours all come together and chat welcoming the eerily silent road devoid of traffic until the approach of wave upon wave of marathon runners in all shapes and sizes from all parts of the UK and well beyond. People are very happy to forego their car for the morning and the bus service. As well as taking to neighbours, you see many more people walking to church, or to friends or down to see the marathon on the lower road. Our very own car free day which clearly causes inconvenience to some but so well organised is the event we know that the routes will reopen around noon and the magical morning passes for another year.

We have to capture this great community spirit we see on marathon morning when everyone talks to each other and shouts encouragement and remember to always help our neighbours and just to say hello to people we pass. To think of others first and not to walk by on the other side of the street. Whatever our differences in terms of education, job (or no job), race, religion, language, age or gender we are all part of the same community. So in this public spirit, when I saw that a less publicly spirited fellow citizen had smashed the glass in the bus shelter on Charlton Road at the Standard (outside Wentworth house), I rang the special London Buses Adshel number immediately to report the glass all over the road on what is by far the busiest bus stop in the ward. I must say though, as upsetting as seeing the vandalism is, it is a far rarer occurrence now than a few years back.

Tomorrow we will be out all day throughout Blackheath and Westcombe Park with Nick Raynsford and the parliamentary hustings in the evening. The election is certainly hotting up with now just 11 days to go!

David L Gardner

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One Response to Buses and the Marathon – 11 days before election day!

  1. Pingback: After 16 years as a Labour councillor in Blackheath and Westcombe Park, Alex Grant says thank you and goodbye | Blackheath Westcombe Labour

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