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Let's keep our city looking lovely

THE roads being a wee bit smoother was my first hint the Games were coming.

Round my part of the city you can charge thrillseekers £10 to be driven up and down the hairier surfaces. Forget tyres - I've claimed against Glasgow City Council for dentist bills after breaking teeth on particularly hard landings.

Suddenly the tarmac was silken. You could lie a newborn on it and lift them up unblemished. Stella the Micra sailed me home, like a very small, pale-blue galleon.

Road markings were painted fresh. It was possible to see the yellow boxes and the give-way lines were eye punchingly white.

And then there was bunting. So much bunting, so many colours, flittering and fluttering all over the shop. Nursery children were hanging their felt and ribbon creations off fence posts. Someone hung tartan across an otherwise dark and unpromising lane.

Flower beds. Many, many blooming flower beds, mown lawns and trim hedges. Hanging baskets on pubs. The air smelled better and the streets were fresh and clean. There was no litter and no chewing gum and there were no bumps in the pavement.

And not just in my little corner: right across the city, wherever you went, the council was making an effort to make things lovely. Local people were making an effort to make things lovely. The effort paid off: it was all lovely.

Why is it not always all lovely?

Visitors coming is always the spur to cleanliness and neatness, I know this. I rented out my flat for the Games and it's never been so deliciously, sparkling fresh. I never bother to make an effort just for myself.

Ma Stewart, even when eating alone, always sets a proper table for herself, placemats and candle, the lot. I eat off my knee, if I'm being fancy, and occasionally off the stove, if I'm rushing.

Ma Stewart is correct in treating herself properly. My flat shouldn't only be clean when I have a brace of road crew coming to take it over.

And the city's roads shouldn't just be repaired when the eyes of the world - and the feet of athletes - will be upon them. It's partly about money and partly about self-respect.

Can we have flower beds and bunting all year round? Can we have road repairs and helpful officials? We've shown it's possible for 12 days of the year - how about for 365?

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Home and Garden

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