Get your marigolds out this Autumn!

First published in Steve Cross Hampshire Chronicle: Photograph of the Author by

Presently sat in a hotel bar in Paris, I have to reflect on something not particularly close to my heart - the cleanliness of cities.

From all corners, this is a very dirty one. There is graffiti everywhere, the metro is a mass of messy old and smelly carriages, and the view across most parts is pretty appalling. It's only the predominantly tourist areas which benefit from a bit of a scrub up.

Do we do much better in Winchester? I don't really think so.

Often, during the early morning rush hour, we end up walking through piles of kebab mess like they are fallen autumnal leaves, chewing gum sticks us directly to the streets and our bus station welcomes city visitors with a well-trodden eye.

Does this portray a good image to tourists? Not at all. Maybe what I've come to realise from my time 'en France' is that we need to care about the state of the city streets even more than we already do - because image, unfortunately, is everything.

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