Misconstrued in Marylebone

There's something strange going on in Marylebone. This well-heeled area of central London, famous for its indy-friendly high street and pretty cobbled mews, seems to have been invaded by some secret clan of street beggars who have taken their art to a new level.

A few encounters in these hallowed streets in recent months has left me wondering just what's going on in W1?

There was just such an incident yesterday evening. I was walking near the BBC about to cut through Duchess Mews (home of John Steed - the original Avenger) when I was stopped by a lady coming the other way.

French Connection

Smartly dressed and sporting a nice handbag and appropriate jewellery she said in a heavy French accent:

"I am zorry to interrupt your eve-ning"

Now, I'm already thinking ahead as to where she wants directions to. The BBC perhaps, Claridge's, South Kensington, the Eurostar to nip back home? But no. She continued:

"Could I just trouble you for one pound"

A pound? What, cash? She's asking strangers for money? She soon disappeared into the night once I told her I didn't really carry cash these days.

Although, I realised afterwards that I did actually have a pound coin in my pocket. I was going to get a mini McFlurry (you can't have too much of a good thing) at McDonalds but the queue was too long.

New Cavendish No-go

Hmmm. This has happened before in New Cavendish Street, another well-to-do lady who'd left the house without any of that pesky cash - I think she wanted a pound too. Then there was the other one who wanted to "borrow my phone". This street is beginning to get a bad rap in my opinion.

Funnily enough, I had been stopped a little earlier by a proper beggar (scruffy clothes and a certain whiff) in Fitzrovia - he was only asking for 50p. If only I'd known I could have told him to cross Portland Place - you can get double over there!

This article is filed under: LONDON