I am waking up in London at the Dorchester Hotel in the lap of luxury.
In the middle of the City with Hyde Park on one side and Berkley Square a few streets in the other direction. According to the song nightingales used to sing there – not now I suspect. The tranquility doesn’t last for long, the silence is broken by a new age dawn chorus, as a delivery lorry reverses with an insistent BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, endlessly saving lives no doubt – thanks to our all embracing health and safety culture. Society has decreed there will be no more accidents, just willful neglect and no-win-no-fee lawyers pursuing compensation cases.
Meanwhile, this BEEP, BEEP, BEEP echoes through the city streets rudely waking up many more slumbering people who were safely tucked up in their beds and in no danger from the out of sight but not out of mind incessantly reversing lorry.
Next to join the cacophony is the WEE-OOH, WEE-OOH, WEE-OOH of an approaching police car, or is it an ambulance racing its way to some distant emergency or false alarm. Awakening swathes of sleepers from the peace and quiet of the night to remind them of the crime and accidents outside waiting for them.
Now I know why even in these extravagant and opulent surroundings I could not live in a city. A far cry from the birdsong of my country home.
What is the real cost of the peace and tranquility of all our lives being invaded in this way ?