I think this is one of the nicest streets in Barnet. Admittedly I did first visit it in a glowing light - literally - on a summer Sunday afternoon once. Walking down there, marvelling at the lovely front gardens, was like stepping back in time to the 1930s and the most dreamlike suburb of imagination, where householders mow stripes into their front lawns and brush the earwigs off their dahlias as dusk falls.
Well, somehow or other, Barnet council have inveigled the street's residents' association into participating in their "adopt-a-street" scheme. The woman quoted in this report in the Barnet Press explains why she agreed to join the scheme:
Mrs Wildish said she had had some doubts about the scheme when it was first presented to the residents’ association six months ago.Improved the look and mood of Ravensdale Avenue - now that would be something to see!
“We were concerned that if we did the work that other people would be sacked,” she said. “But the council said that budget had been set and that no one would lose their jobs.”
She said that the scheme had already had a positive effect on both the look and the mood of the area.
The back story to this is the council's desperate attempt to find a role for their white elephant Pledgebank site - they offer to help 10 further streets sign up to the scheme if they apply via Pledgebank - and to promote their "do-it-yourself" brand of local government.
Brian Coleman is quoted by the Press as saying: “This is Big Society in action and the council is delighted to support residents in this work.”
For agreeing to take part, residents get no money but "training, as well as tools such as litter pickers, shovels and bin sacks." You are going to need an awful lot of those to prettify most of the borough's streets.
Adopt-a-street, like Pledgebank, is yet another gimmick, a desperate attempt to distract people's attention from the deterioration in the borough's services and general appearance, and make us feel that if things are going wrong it must all somehow be our fault.
If we could all just invest in some bin bags and dibbers, round up our neighbours, and give up our Sundays, Barnet wouldn't be such a drab place after all! I'll do it if you will, Brian - darers go first!