The Wrong Kind of Leaves on the Path

This January is shaping up to be a month for slipping out in between weather warnings; today’s adventure involved heading down to Bigtown with a shovel for a cross bar because the coonsil are apparently incapable of getting some leaves off a cycle path.

shovel on a bike

Have shovel, will travel

This has been a long-running saga: two months ago, noting that the leaves were falling off the trees – again! in autumn! just like last year! – I reported several stretches of cycle path that were getting dangerously choked. I did this through the official channel, plus two separate coonsil officers, who both assured me that something would be done. Time passed, more leaves fell, armies of coonsil employees spend hours with leaf blowers tidying other leaves into nice piles in the parks, and nothing was done about the leaves on the cycle paths. I chased again (every time I do this I get an automatic email saying that my email will be responded to within 20 days and then … silence). I emailed my councillors. I emailed our climate champion (‘every council policy will be looked at through a climate emergency lens’). More silence. Christmas came and went and new year and when everyone was back at their desks, I chased again. This time I got a reply telling me that it was difficult because they didn’t have a machine that was capable of cleaning up the resulting leaf mulch. The leaf mulch that would have been nice leaf-blowable leaves had they actually tackled them when they were first reported.

path covered in leaves

At this point, we cracked and just did it ourselves, using that bleeding edge piece of technology, the shovel. It doesn’t necessarily have to have a busy woman at the other end of it (we had one camera shy man) but some level of willingness to get out of your wee machine and put your back into it does seem to help. Four volunteers, two hours, and several slices of gingerbread later, we had cleared one of the paths entirely (just another half dozen trouble spots to go).

working on the cycle path

Riding home, I pondered on the way that every interaction with the coonsil – at least when it comes to any form of transport that isn’t in a car – ultimately leaves me questioning either their sanity or my own.* Especially after the coonsil responded to our tweet about the whole thing by helpfully asking if we wanted any bags of leaves uplifted (I’m still now undecided if this represents extreme cluelessness or extremely clever trolling). I know that when I speak to individual officers and politicians that they often seem to get it and are simply trying their best to get things done in difficult circumstances. But somehow the end result is often still indistinguishable to what an evil genius would come up with if they wanted to discourage cycling without actively banning it.

Even so, while it would be nice if if we didn’t have to do the coonsil’s job for them, we still got the better end of the bargain. We were the ones who had a morning in the fresh air and the winter sunshine getting some healthy exercise in good company – and the satisfaction of a job well done, something I suspect is rare if you work for Bigtownshire Coonsil.

And I got home while it was still dry. With 24 hours of rain forecast, that counts as a win these days.

* It’s not just me – I’d stopped to chat with a friend who is attempting to get some sort of traffic calming on her rat-run road so she can safely take her autistic son to school, and has been told that nothing can be done because not enough people have been knocked down there yet.

9 Responses to The Wrong Kind of Leaves on the Path

  1. Charles says:

    Marks out of ten for the expert leaf cleaning job. Probably a lot greener than using a leaf blower to be honest. When at home I rake mine into heaps then run them over with the mower to make them easier to rot down.

    Council plus autism is never, ever a good mix. The most evil people lurk behind some of the worst legislation ever drafted. Just saying.

  2. disgruntled says:

    I’m not a big fan of leaf blowers but honestly anything would have been an improvement here.

  3. I’ve had the same thing with this council. Again, I end up just doing it myself in the end! 🙂
    https://www.karldrinkwater.uk/2019/04/they-move-rubbish-below.html

  4. stephaniMok says:

    I also got told by my local council (Glasgow City, since you ask) that nothing could be done about a piece of road that’s dangerous for pedestrians because there’s not been enough Lethal incidents/accidents 😟😬😮🤣

    • disgruntled says:

      It’s frustrating. You can understand that it might be a lower priority than other more dangerous roads, but simply saying that nothing can be done at all is gobsmacking.

  5. Town Mouse says:

    […] here’s a turn up for the books. No sooner do I write a blog post about the coonsil’s gaslighting behaviour, when I get an email from one official asking suggestions about where to put some new […]

  6. Town Mouse says:

    […] normal frustrations you might expect from a large and bureacratic organisation and have started to feel more like gaslighting. Certainly yesterday they actually had me doubting my own grasp on reality after a toucan crossing […]

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