Friday, 11 February 2011

Ghost Bike And The British Love Affair With Cellophane

I came across my first Ghost Bike today.

Chained was this bike, painted all over white with bunches of flowers around it. At first I thought it was a piece of public art by some wacky sculptor. But a passenger informed me it was a memorial to a cyclist who was killed there.

Apparently the idea was started in St Louis in the U.S.A, and there are now well over 100 ghost bikes all over the world. It is an brilliant idea, and now I know what it is, it is thought provoking.

What lets it down is the lack of care and the peculiar British love of flowers wrapped in cellophane. The flowers were long dead, frosted and drooping. Is it a sign of our national lack of imagination that we cannot be bothered to take the flowers out of the wrapping or put down fresh ones? Perhaps it is no different from the sight you see at many graveyards these days, after a night of high winds. Nestled up against the railings are every variety of colourful plastic flowers and cellophane which has been forcibly removed by the gales.

GBDS - Grumpy Bus Driver Syndrome? Well, maybe. Having visited other parts of the world, there is never anything more beautiful or emotive than seeing a flower, au naturel. When I go, I want one solitary hydrangea flower on my grave. I'll request that my equally tall friend and fellow bus driver will read the last tights so that he can say:

"Right you are then flower."

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