IOC inspector: Hello madam. I wonder if I might come in and ask you a few questions about London's 2012 Olympic bid. Pauline: Yeah come in, but mind the piss-stained tramp lying comatose in the stairwell. IOC inspector: How long have you been living here on the 23rd floor? Pauline: Ever since the BBC axed my home due to falling ratings and redeveloped the area as these three bleak tower blocks. IOC inspector: Is that football pitch down there part of the council's new sporting facilities? Pauline: No, it's just a slab of concrete where the local kids ride supermarket trolleys, shoot drugs and shoot one another. IOC inspector: And is that an athlete in training for 2012? Pauline: No, that's my Martin running away from a mugger wielding a large knife. IOC inspector: And is that an Olympic flame bringing hope to a downtrodden neighbourhood? Pauline: No, that's just two bored teenagers setting fire to a stolen car. IOC inspector: And do you back the Olympic bid? Pauline: Oh yes. From up here I'll have a perfect view of the new stadium and all the other facilities? It'll be great. IOC inspector: Ah, sorry madam, but we're going to have to demolish your home for security reasons.
These tower blocks are the crumbling centrepiece of the Crossways Estate, a 1970s sink development with absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever. It's not somewhere you'd want to find yourself after dark (and maybe you'd feel safer giving it a miss during the day too). Not that I've found Bromley-by-Bow to be a particularly dangerous place. Maybe I've been lucky, but I've yet to see a murder, a shooting or a stabbing, or to be on the receiving end of violence, crime or prejudice. It's certainly not as bad as this newspaper article makes out (note to my parents: please don't read that link, please read this one instead). OK, so I did get home last Friday to find the pavement in front of my house sealed off by police tape, and I did have to be escorted to my front door by a very cautious policeman who told me there had just been a "serious incident", but that's a rarity round here. I hope.