Rubbish

5 Jan

Opposite my house is a lane. In the 8 years I have lived here I have walked it thousands of times, nearly every day in the last year since we got the dog.

It borders a patch of woodland and looks out over fields down across the rooftops of Lympstone to the Exe Estuary and over to the Haldon Hills in the distance.

It is designated by the local authority as a ‘Landscape of Great Value’, which I hope means they’re not going to build on it any time soon.

The only thing that mars these walks is the fact that it’s one of the closest bits of countryside to the town, so people like to come up here to dump their rubbish. Not fly tipping as such, just a handy place to throw your unwanted kebab, your Macdonalds drink carton, beer cans, fast food containers and so on.

For a long time I’ve been telling myself I should do something about it, so recently I bought one of those rubbish picker upper things (there doesn’t seem to be an adequate term to describe them) – a sort of grabby claw on the end of a three foot arm. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been taking the dog out for our usual morning walk equipped with my claw and a bin bag, emptying the hedges and ditches of the litter as a I go along. It’s mildly satisfying, a little bit disgusting and really infuriating.

The unforeseen consequences of my decision is that now I can’t walk down the lane without scouring the hedgerows for cans, peering into the ditch to see if there’s any new rubbish, and on each discovery feeling a sense of despair at the sort of people who think it’s ok just to lob a Gregg’s coffee cup out of their car window when they’ve finished with it. However hard I try, part of my mind is now scanning this beautiful landscape for dirt, searching out that sense of outrage and dismay looking for the latest piece of filth from Katie Hopkins. Sorry – I seem to have inadvertently slipped into a metaphor.

Anyway, the moral of this story is: don’t bother doing good deeds.

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