On the Fly

March 16, 2014

I was walking back from noticeboard tree having put up a POP poster, when I noticed a car had pulled over ahead of me, and something was flung out of the window, possibly bits of bread crusts. I was just taking that in when the possible crusts were followed by a definite discarded cup and a scrunched up plastic bag. At this point I had drawn level with the car so I spoke to the driver through the still-open window and explained to them the error of their ways whereupon they got out of the car and picked up their rubbish and then, weeping hot tears of repentance, proceeded to pick up every single piece of rubbish along the entire road.

OK, I didn’t really – you can take the girl out of London but you can’t take etc. I did give them a really hard stare though.

Fortunately, it is the parish litter pick next week so the rubbish won’t be there long. Every year whenever we take part, I find myself wondering just who these people are who think nothing of flinging rubbish along the road. This year, at least I’ll have the dubious pleasure of knowing what kind of car they drive.

(Oh and to make it worse, someone has apparently fly tipped rubbish at the waterfall. Despite the fact that they could have driven five miles further on and dropped it off at the council tip for free. What is wrong with people?)

Coffeeneuring: the Final Frontier

November 10, 2013
giant coffee mug

Now THAT’S a large coffee

This Saturday saw not one but two coffeeneuring opportunities, allowing me to complete my challenge on a high – assuming they’re allowed because both weren’t actual permanent coffee shops but pop ups in a good cause.

The first was Nearest Village’s Big Breakfast which is in aid of the local church. We’re not church people exactly but we are ‘village’ people, as it were, and besides there was the promise of bacon so the other half was even tempted out onto the bike for the mile and a half down to the village (helped by a lovely sparkly November morning). The village hall was absolutely packed and we were glad we’d got down early as we have it on good authority that they’d run out of food before it ended at 11. We’ve learnt the hard way that you can’t hang about when it comes to village events – the concept of being ‘fashionably late’ just doesn’t compute in these parts.

village breakfast

Bacon, eggs, sausage, two kinds of tattie scone and tea dispatched (I steer clear of the village hall coffee as it’s generally instant), we parted ways and I cycled down to Bigtown for the Fairer World Fair, which was showcasing fair trade products, including a pop up cafe with home made cakes (from fair trade ingredients of course) and fair trade coffee. I did some early Christmas shopping which is possibly a tactical error because I’ll now collapse in a virtuous heap and not do any more until the absolute last minute. Rather disconcertingly, because the things I liked were on sale, it all worked out rather cheap as well. I’m pretty sure that’s not how fair trade is supposed to work.

fairtrade coffee and cake

I then bought Friday’s rescuer coffee and cake while we explained to our baffled table companions why we were photographing our food. I’d feel I’d paid her back more thoroughly if the whole thing hadn’t come to the princely sum of £3…

I headed back in the last of the sunshine, having dealt my small blow against global capitalism and feeling good about humanity, a feeling which lasted until I passed the fly-tipped washing machine, bin bags and car tyres dumped in a lay by near the river. After a morning spent with people who are all in their own ways working to make the world a better place, I suppose it served as a salutary reminder that there are also people who go around making the world a worse one too. I do wonder how they live with themselves though.

two bikes

So that’s the coffeeneuring challenge over (pending final adjudication). It’s been fun – I’m not sure it’s done much to get me out on the bike any more than I would have done, but it has extended my range of local coffee shops, encouraged me to be more sociable, and sometimes tempted me off my normal beaten track, which is all to the good. Assuming my fellow coffeenaut completes her challenge today (she was cutting it a bit fine) we shall also have firmly put Bigtown on the coffeeneuring map.

Mileage: 17 miles, or not nearly enough to burn off all the extra calories…

Fell off the Back of a Lorry

May 17, 2010

It was the village plant sale yesterday – a one-and-a-half hour gardeners’ feeding frenzy, with tray bakes afterwards for tea. I didn’t have anything to bring as my only spares, my squash seedlings, had succumbed to some sort of a wasting sickness. But as we walked up to the waterfall to check on Noticeboard Tree what time it started*, we noticed something strange in the river. Closer inspection showed that what looked like an enormous stack of planting seed trays was in fact exactly that. The other half nobly scrambled on boulders and retrieved about fifty of them, still in their parcel packaging, but unfortunately with no sort of a packing slip or delivery address that would allow us to track the owners down.

The river below the waterfall was also littered with seed trays so we ended up going back, getting our wellies and wading out to retrieve as many as we could. In the end we fetched more than a hundred of them out of the river. I’ve no idea how they might have got there – it’s been a long time since anyone delivered things of the sort of lorries something might genuinely have fallen out of the back of. My guess is that some courier got lost, or annoyed with his SatNav insisting that You. Have. Arrived. when he was miles away from anything that looked like a habitation (our postcodes cover quite a large area round here) just gave up and dumped them in the river. It’s the second time we’ve found something that looks like it was packaged for delivery in the same spot. I don’t understand it, but at least this time the fly tipping means I have ended up with a lifetime’s supply of plant trays. Indeed several lifetimes’.

So all that was left for me was to find some way of getting the surplus down to the village for everyone else.

A Three Bungee Problem

And then join in the mad rummage for goodies of my own.

Oh, and a top tip for anyone attending a village plant sale? Don’t bring a £20 note. You have to buy loads more plants than you can fit in a pannier to make it up to a non-embarrassing amount…

*This is important. Anyone rolling up half an hour after the start time would be left raking over the second rate stuff. In fact, anyone turning up at the start time would have been cutting it fine: the gardeners started baggsying the best plants twenty minutes early

Broken Britain

April 21, 2010

I got back yesterday to the news that somebody has flytipped an old cooker in the clear-felled bit of forest down the road. I was going to report it, but I checked the council website and found they’ll only act if it’s on council land and it’s up to the landowner if it’s anywhere else. There is a number you can ring, but that’s only for dobbing someone in if you’ve seen them flytipping, not for getting it cleared up. It’s a bit tough on the landowner having to get rid of someone else’s rubbish, but if it isn’t cleared soon it will only attract more dumped waste. Grrr. We might as well still be living in Lambeth where there were dumped kitchen appliances under every railway bridge, possibly gone feral and almost certainly breeding.


the depths they'll sink to

But that isn’t all. We saw the council van down working on the ford this afternoon and naturally we had to go and have a look and a chat. They were taking advantage of the dry weather to fix the epic potholes the frost had left and clear out the blocked pipes under the road bed (we may have trouble reaching any new high scores if this goes on). We pointed out the broken plank on the foot bridge and the chatty chap told us how his colleague had driven the snow plough down the one-in-five hill last winter (‘you just point it down the hill, and let it go where the road takes you’). And then we admired their pothole filling progress (quick drying cement is the key, apparently). ‘We only fixed it last year and now look at it,’ he said. ‘And we had to replace the water depth level signs because someone had pinched them. They’re made of aluminium, you see, so they’re worth money. They’re riveted on now, but if someone wants them, they’ll take them.’

Seriously, is nothing sacred? Still, maybe if the metal prices go up again, the cooker problem will solve itself…