Just down the road from here is the Bow Flyover, a less-than glamorous concrete wasteland where the A11 and A12 meet. There's an overpass, an underpass, a roundabout, a lot of traffic lights, and usually four snarling queues of very angry traffic.
A couple of months ago, workmen came to clear away some derelict land on one corner of the roundabout. They took their time removing the debris, removed some high metal fences that blocked the view and slowly levelled the site. Last weekend the only evidence of any construction taking place were a few basic foundations and a couple of workmen drinking tea. Then this evening I walked past and, all of a sudden, a whole new building has sprung up complete with roof. It's by no means an enormous building, and only a single storey high, but it already has doors, furniture and windows. There are a lot of windows at one end, none at all at the other end and, on the side nearest the main road, just the one single window. On closer inspection there's the beginnings of a paved roadway all round the building, with that window on the driver's side, and a number of cling-wrapped plastic tables sat inside. And just visible on one small black pipe sticking up out of the ground is that oh-so-familiar golden arches logo. Ronald McDonald is giving birth.
I read in the paper last week that McDonalds is finally suffering from the global downturn in the economy, or maybe it's just that people don't fancy eating reprocessed cow in a sesame seed bun any more. The corporation are closing 175 restaurants in 10 countries, including six under threat in London. They used to open over 2000 sites worldwide every year but, in this brave new era of cholesterol-inflicted lawsuits, they only plan to open 600 this year. One of that total of new so-called-restaurants will soon be just a couple of minutes walk from my house. I promise not to visit too often, because I prefer real food. Honest.