Friday, May 20, 2016

I (Heart) Teeth

A reader points out that in yesterday's photo, there appears to be a man with a broom sweeping the sidewalk. "Does that really happen over there?" she asks. Believe it or not, yes. The councils -- local governments -- employ armies of contracted street-sweepers to walk around with shovels, brooms and little carts and pick up trash. Not just litter, but also fallen leaves and dog poo. They don't pick up larger items, like discarded furniture, or piles of illegally dumped trash bags, and those sometimes tend to hang around a while. They also don't get to things that aren't on the sidewalk itself -- like all the litter along the trash path.

I'm not sure it's the most practical system of urban cleanup, seeing as how there's still plenty of rubbish lying around. Those guys just can't sweep up everything. (They also seem to spend a fair amount of time standing on corners and tapping away on their mobile phones.)

On the other hand, think what the streets might look like without them! Especially since we have a dearth of public trash bins, the photo above notwithstanding.

Speaking of today's photo, by the way: What you may not be able to see are all the toothbrushes hanging in the window of that dentist's office, in front of the "I (heart) Teeth" poster. A colorful touch!

I (heart) teeth too. Especially mine.

Dave came to school yesterday morning for the first time since his surgery. We took a taxi together and he sat in on just one class -- high school band -- so he could hear how they're doing. The students all applauded him when he walked in the room. It was great to see. Their year-end concert is this Sunday and we plan to attend.

It looks like I may also wind up going to the opera with some of his students on Saturday night. Dave booked a performance of "Madame Butterfly" for his AP music students, with tickets for the two of us as well. Now he can't go, so someone needs to collect the tickets and distribute them to the kids at the theater. That person will probably be me, and as long as I'm there I may as well use my seat!

(Photo: Finchley Road, earlier this week.)


  1. On my recent trip to London I noticed several street sweepers - even on a Sunday morning. This was a surprise because we don't really see them in big northern cities like Sheffield. It is more evidence that London receives better funding. I also looked at the tarmac. Some of our roads are truly awful -like farm tracks with patchworks of tarmac repairs and hollows but in London most roads seem pretty well surfaced. More evidence.

  2. How good to know that Dave is feeling well enough to make an appearance at school. It sounds like others are happy to see him back as well.
    After all the hospital duty you've been doing lately, you deserve an evening of fabulous opera - even if it is with a gaggle of kids. Although, as I remember from my International Baccalaureate kids, the group you're escorting will be just fine.

  3. In Cozumel you see people hired to keep the streets cleaned as well. Mainly the big sea-front boulevard where most of the tourists and cruisers stick to in their fear of being kidnapped, I suppose. A lot of what they pick up is palm fronds! They do a good job.
    I am so glad that Dave is getting out a bit. Tell him that Carole King played in Madame Butterfly when she was in high school. She loved it!
    Have a good time, dear Steve!

  4. I've seen those guys with the brooms and the carts. I'm glad to hear that Dave got to visit his class yesterday. Progress, progress.

  5. people with brooms, that's a good idea. keeps the streets clean and gives people a job. they sure don't do that here, not that I've seen, because, you know, anything that will put people to work, the republicans don't like.

  6. Lovely photos. Makes me miss the UK!

    :) BJ

  7. Wonderful progress and lovely that you'll see Madame Butterfly. Best to Dave!

  8. We could do with an army of street sweepers. We have all kinds of stuff that's just dropped on the ground. Year end band concerts are a big deal for the school . I still remember them and I didn't have anything to do with band. I did go on a few field trips for kids to see something else.

  9. Thanks for the info on the street sweepers, Steve - that is a whole lot of sweeping - glad I'm not doing it! I heart your name for the trash path :)

    Hope you have a good time Saturday night, and it's good to hear that Dave got out and about. It feels so great to start to do stuff again after surgery - like you're getting your life back.