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HOFFMAN: London & joining the ‘queue’ at Wimbledon

Jim Hoffman
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Free Press Weekly Opinion Columnist

Allow me to fulfill my duties in this space as the recently named Free Press international correspondent.

My wife and I departed Grand Junction late. We missed our original flight to London. We were able to make connections on a later flight and arrived only a few hours later than planned. We flew on a “Dreamliner,” the material on which informed us was a quieter, more fuel-efficient, and safer plane. It may have been all that, but more comfortable it was not. Attempting to sleep on the overnight flight between Houston and London was excruciating. BUT, we did arrive safely and because of the lack of sleep I was able to watch three movies and listen to songs beyond number.

We have found London to be clean, relatively quiet and pleasant. While certainly congested, the public transportation system of buses and subways is excellent. We are staying in Central London close to all attractions you would associate with the city. We have had the opportunity to see Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, The National Portrait Gallery, Trafalgar Square and more. On a rather extensive walk we did encounter fewer panhandlers than we would in Grand Junction on a walk of similar length in our downtown area. The people we have asked for help and directions have been pleasant and helpful except for that one grouchy old man. Those iconic red phone booths do exist but seem to be used primarily as trash bins and urinals, so it is best to avoid them except as a photo op.



On a relatively hectic day we tried to see all of the surrounding countryside is just 11 hours. We visited Windsor Castle, the Roman Baths at Bath, and Stonehenge. The “luxury air-conditioned coach” proved to have some a/c issues and the trip was somewhat uncomfortable. It is little issues like that and missing flights and getting lost on double decker buses that turn a trip into a memorable adventure.

I have not kept current on any local politics but have read the London Times daily. It can be reported that the Tory Party has accused the Labour Party of questionable dealings with a union to influence elections. Hearings have been called for. Members of Parliament have recently been revealed to have voted themselves “golden parachute” retirement packages that are under fire. Some claim that the citizens no longer trust either of the major parties to rule, and the parties need to re-invent themselves. The approval rate of the legislative branch is at an all-time low. A major crime figure has just been revealed to have unduly influenced some members of the law enforcement community. The political scene here is highly polarized and hostile.



It seems just like home.

Here they do not stand in line, they “queue.” They queue for everything; it seems to be a national pastime. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to join “The Queue” at Wimbledon in the hopes of acquiring tickets to see some tennis. In a very democratic exercise, they retain some tickets for the general public that are available for the first 500 in queue. Those who choose not to purchase tickets or who are unable to buy tickets may sit on a sunny hillside and watch centre court action on the Jumbotron. In the final days, tickets available to the queue are only for Court 1. We did acquire courtside tickets on the shady side and watched the girl’s single finals, boy’s double semi-finals and two senior men’s invitational rounds. Then we joined the crowd on the hill and watched the women’s double finals.

It will be interesting to see what has been missed there in Junction, but a week thus far without a phone has been a blessing.

JUNK UPDATE

My column of two weeks ago regarding junk and trash and the county’s response or lack of response thereto certainly stirred up some interest.

First, I did receive a response from the County on the second complaint referenced to which I stated had not been acknowledged within two weeks of filing. They reviewed their e-mails and have stated it was not received. I take them at their word; it has now been received. The earlier complaint filed months earlier was not addressed.

Second, some citizens responded also. They had tales of woe of trashy neighbors, neglectful landlords, and indifferent property management companies. I hope to hear more as we realize the trash and junk situation in our county is not an isolated problem, nor is a problem the county seems willing to aggressively address. We will follow this further, and it is hoped that more of you provide your encounters with county trash complaints and the resultant outcomes.

Jim Hoffman is a local Realtor and investor who, when not working, loves skiing, camping and fishing (in season). He may be reached at freepressjim@gmail.com.


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