Gazette letters: Confused wildlife, train chaos and pump house or not

A robin in a residential garden.

A robin in a residential garden. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Everyone knows the feeling, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

It’s meant to be one of nature’s greatest delights, the dawn chorus, but so often the early morning birdsong can be just as painful to the ear as a neighbour’s late night death metal session.

When I lived on the canal in Hackney Wick it was the coots that got me. These birds’ piercing whistles managed to penetrate through my window-glass even louder than passing ambulance sirens.

For a few months of the year, whilst these balls of fluff worked out how to fend for themselves, I would regularly be woken by a hungry chick’s ear-splitting call to its parents.

Now that I have migrated westwards it is not the angry water-birds that wake me, but the songbirds. Still, there are worse things in life than to be woken at dawn by birdsong. My problem is that living on a well-lit street some of the birds get a little confused between dawn, and the streetlamp outside my window.

Perching on a conveniently located branch a few feet from the lamp of the streetlight, there is often a robin singing its heart out.

Such is its stamina for belting out a melody I’ve wondered whether it is actually confused between artificial street-lighting and dawn, or whether, like myself, it cannot help but perform the moment it finds itself in the spotlight, no matter what time of day or night. It is a problem easily solved, and with a quick bang on the window the robin will head off into the night, hopefully to find a darker corner of the city and, like me, get some sleep.

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Like most Londoners it took me twice as long as normal to get to and from work due to the Tube strike, as a result of the mayor’s totally predictable failure to deal with the rail unions, writes Christopher D Sills, Dunsmure Road, Stamford Hill.

The problem is that the rail unions are not prepared to consider changes in working practices made necessary by technological advances and increasing passenger numbers.

They want to bully management into accepting all of their demands by claiming it is a safety issue.

Transport for London (TfL) must accept its share of the blame and with it the Mayor of London. It would be nice if he would admit it for a change.

The mayor is going to be in Switzerland later this month although there is another tube strike proposed for February 6.

He should stay behind, and do the job he was elected to do – sort out the mess of the Tube.

This follows the recent fiasco on the Piccadilly line when TfL could not supply enough working trains. Once again the mayor should apologise.

The problems of Southern Rail are in large part caused by the rail unions resisting change without a care for the consequences to travelling passengers.

Another problem at Southern is of course the rebuilding of London Bridge station, which is taking forever and causing considerable disruption.

This is run by Network Rail, which is unfortunately run by the government.

The other major problem is the Victorian rail network, which does not have the capacity to cope with growing demand.

London will have the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail 1) and hopefully Crossrail 2 first proposed by Hackney Council in 1970 within the foreseeable future.

There is a proposal to build a new route from the south coast to Canary Wharf, which hopefully can be extended to Stratford.

My challenge to City Hall is to finance it without costing the taxpayer a penny.

Will they rise to the challenge?

Why do people, Clissold Park User Group included, keep referring to a pump house in Clissold Park? asks Tom Uprichard, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Stoke Newington.

If you want to see a pump house, go a few hundred yards up Green Lanes. If you want to see a sluice gate, stay in the park.

Good news, incidentally, about the (Red) Lion in Church Street. I was wondering where I could get a pizza.