5:27pm Wednesday 18th March 2009
By Claire Hack
It's spring at last and that means all sorts of things start springing up, as if from nowhere.
Daffodils. Crocuses. Snowdrops. Flashers. Boris Johnson.
Yes, our fair capital's mayor made a special visit to Chingford this week (fully clothed, I might add, to avoid confusion), chatting to passers by, helping Edwin Northover with his by-election campaign and being followed around by a kind of Waltham Forest Tory entourage. And on that grey March morning last Thursday, yours truly was there to bother him on your behalf. Don't say I never did nothing for you.
It was a distinctly cold affair, consisting mainly of traipsing around behind Boris, waiting to be given my snippet of his time. Naturally, because I only had a short time with him, I couldn't exactly engage him in an in-depth discussion about his plans for Waltham Forest, but one might have thought he'd manage to come up with something vaguely borough-centric. Sadly, he didn't, and I was ushered away rather hastily before he disappeared into Normanhurst School.
Still, it was interesting to meet him - he's shorter and rounder than I thought - and our photographer grabbed a number of good shots from the spectacle, so you can expect to see it in all its glory in tomorrow's paper.
We've also had reports of a seemingly prolific flasher (twice in one day) accosting women in Epping Forest, near Chingford - apparently, this becomes more common as the weather gets warmer - and one of the victims has spoken out to warn others about the potential dangers of walking alone in the forest.
Despite the initial slightly childish urge to laugh, it is quite a disturbing thought, given recent events in nearby New Road and in Walthamstow as well, especially as no one's yet been caught. One can only hope that women will be more on their guard now and especially if they're out alone in the evening.
And despite the sunshine outside, it seems a cold shadow has fallen over Waltham Forest in the last few days. The main news this week has been that after one young man was stabbed to death in Shernhall Street, Walthamstow, another has been found in Lloyd Park, also suffering from multiple stab wounds, and has been taken to hospital in a life-threatening condition.
The call came in just moments before writing and it's hard to know how we can deal with it. Obviously, we're putting a story online immediately but there comes a point when the sheer incomprehensibility of such an event starts to hit home. It is, of course, mind-bendingly horrible - how anyone can carry so much rage around inside them is beyond me - but we risk desensitising both our readers and ourselves. How do we do it without making it sound like "just another stabbing"? Is this really becoming the norm?
To be fair, as reporters, we are inevitably placed in the thick of it and therefore probably react differently. But the doubt it casts on one's faith in humanity is difficult to shift.
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group