The first day of the holidays

Today was the first day of the school holidays, at least in this area. Excited children, looking forward to the next six weeks with no routine. No getting up early, and being able to play out in the fresh air albeit supervised, (at least the young ones) by parents or grandparents.

By the time I got out with Ollie today, the skies were darkening, and the forecast was for showers later in the afternoon. Once again, I exchanged my stick for an umbrella, taking no chances. I was pleased to see so many youngsters out and about. They were playing on the park equipment, enjoying the swings, and the small slide. Older children were using the football court, and some had set up a cricket match on the large open area. It was all looking pristine, as the grass was only cut last Monday, and they had even used strimmers, to clear around and under all the benches and play areas.

I wandered off with Ollie, down towards the river. I hadn’t got far when the first large raindrops began to land on me. By the time I reached the bend, the rain was evident on the water, and coin-sized splashes could be noticed on the dry areas of the path. I completed a circuit, which took me back towards the park once more. By now, my umbrella was up, and the shower had turned into constant rain. I felt sorry for the families who had been enjoying the facilities, as they rushed to put on coats, retrieve their belongings, and make a rush for nearby houses, or the shelter of cars parked near the entrance. Their efforts to enjoy the open space in the fresh air of Beetley had yet again been foiled by our unpredictable weather, and the seemingly endless rain.

Ollie and I were soon alone, left to continue our watery promenade in the now deserted space. Turning back to walk in front of the football court and playground, I was dismayed to see the rubbish discarded by those who had just departed. Much of the boundary of the enclosed court was littered with refuse casually flung away by those same children as they left for home. Plastic water bottles, metal drink cans, sweet wrappers, crisp bags, and even large plastic fruit containers, were strewn around the whole area. And these children were being supervised by adults, some of whom had been inside the fenced area with their offspring. They must have seen the things being thrown on the ground, and said nothing. It isn’t as if the area is short of rubbish bins. There is one right by the gate of the football court, and that had an empty can placed on top of it, almost a gesture of complete defiance.

I found a carrier bag blowing around the field, and went into the court. In a few moments, I filled the bag to capacity with all the rubbish, and put it into one of the bins nearby. I am no saint, and I do not sit in judgement of everyone who has ever carelessly thrown something away. But in this area, where vandalism and graffiti is almost unknown, and the local authority tries hard to provide facilities for the residents, and to keep them clean, tidy, and well-maintained, I have to say that I thought this was a little depressing.

Once the weather improves, and there are ten times as many people around, I dread to think what a state the place will be in. Roll on back to school, in the first week of September.

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32 thoughts on “The first day of the holidays

  1. All that litter is frustrating isn’t it? It only takes a little effort all round and we’d make things so much better.
    We were sitting eating chips on an old railway line (now a cycle path) when a lady came along and began picking up lots of crisp packets, cans and wrappers. I asked if I could help and she said her son had been camping and admitted not being ‘too tidy.’ Well done for taking responsibility but I’ve have made him do it….Well done for getting stuck in…

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    1. All very true Rich. It’s a shame the parents around here don’t have the same sense of responsibility. As I said before , it isn’t that bad, it just notices a lot more, in an otherwise very tidy place.
      Hope all’s well with you and yours. Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. Pete, I hear ya…it’s the same way here after our long winters when the snow all melts to reveal the litter left behind.

    Take care from Laura ~

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      1. Pete, I agree…But, I blame the parents of said children who have certainly lost their way…. I fear they feel their lives are as disposable as the items so eagerly throw aside. How on earth do we cause a ripple effect for change? More folks would feel happy, once they respect themselves and their surroundings… I just don’t know.. Perhaps, one person reading these comments, will in turn pick up a bottle, or never throw it to the ground in the first place.. One single pebble can create motion.. Hopefully… ๐Ÿ™‚

        Take care from Laura ~

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  3. It’s weird. I was listening to the radio the other day when they had fined somebody for throwing rubbish (it seems he had dropped something accidentally) and he’d taken the council to court and won (it did sound as if it really was accidental). And in other places nothing happens. Perhaps because it is a park, but it’s no excuse. As you all said, no education and manners to pass on.

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  4. I wonder what happened to the Park Warden or your local community Bobby! A sign reminding people that they will be fined if they are caught littering may help?
    When I was a teenager I seem to remember quite a big advertising campaign aimed at trying to get people to pick up their litter, not sure if it worked but I always look for a bin if I have rubbish, equally I carry a bag with me and pick up rubbish that I find when walking the dogs. 83 aluminium cans weighed in down the scrap yard will pocket me enough money for two (returnable) bottles of beer ๐Ÿ™‚
    I wish there was a simple solution to the problem, but I fear even if ne was found it would take a generation to make the change.

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    1. No Park Keepers around anymore Eddy, at least not in a Parish Council park. I see a generation, two generations in fact, that have grown up with a disposable look at life, including litter. No brown paper bags anymore, nothing just wrapped in paper. Even fish and chips comes in polystyrene boxes, that litter all the seaside towns.
      I reckon it is too late to change the manufacturing and distribution processes, but we do need to try to reeducate about litter, and stop it being somehow ‘street-cred’ to fling it about.
      Cheers mate, love to all. Pete.

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  5. I guess it’s my messed upness speaking, but there is something particularly disgusting about food trash to me – more so than newspapers, etc. I suspect someday I will write a horror story about it.

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      1. It would likely go through many permutations before it became an actual story. It might not involve trash at all by the time the plot and characters were fleshed out. But at the core would be that shivery feeling I get when I see greasy hamburger wrappers on the ground.

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  6. I hate litters, even candy wrappers that the school kids haphazardly throw on the street. My morning exercise is sweeping plastic bottles, cigarette butts, and all kinds of small plastic that they just throw anywhere. I just hate it when they throw it in front of the house. Why, even those motorist sometimes are so undisciplined, they think that the street is one big garbage can.

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  7. Litter is everywhere in Greece as well. It never was a very clean country and people have no sense of what a public space ought to look like. During our last walk in the forest, we must have gathered more than 10 plastic water bottles. The amazing thing is that there are bins but people seem to prefer to litter rather than carry their rubbish for a few metres. Oh well, that’s life!

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    1. Your last line sums it up Nicholas. It is life, in a society where everything has become disposable. We used to have to carry drinks in flasks, or returnable bottles. Now it is too much trouble to take a lightweight plastic bottle a few metres to a bin. Packaging has a lot to answer for!
      Best wishes from England. Pete.

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      1. It speaks volumes that we,a s a society, find it easier to dig up oil from the ground, convert it to plastic, shape it into a fork, package it with our food and throw it away, instead of just washing a fork… ๐Ÿ™‚

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  8. My German husband is shocked by the scale of British littering – and Germany is not as pristine as it was. Depressing social trend. Our response to littering sometimes feels the same as to violations of personal space. Part of the strength of our reaction is out of frustration and fear of the attitude of the offenders – particularly that surly defiance of theirs you pinpointed. There’s a crisis of accountability, or something. Same attitude among a minority of residents in the block of flats where we live….

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    1. I would be happy to challenge people in this area, as Beetley is hardly a ‘tough’ district, unlike most parts of London these days. In a strange way, I think that the recent increase in littering is one small example of frustrated rebellious attitudes in local youths. They don’t hang around on corners, or tag everything in sight with paint cans. So their act of defiance is to fling their litter about.
      But they wait until they are leaving, just in case…x

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  9. Litter is one of my pet peeves! Children must learn to respect private and public areas. But, of course, they must learn this from their parents. Sadly, many parents themselves never learned to respect property as children. In fact, I would go so far as to say that “respect” has lost a lot of ground in recent decades. And that includes respect for parents, teachers, and authority figures in general, as well as laws, rules, regulations, ethics, andโ€”dare I say it?โ€”human life. I’m not sure how this all came about, but something needs to be done. I suppose it starts in the home. Perhaps we need to “reboot” civilization.

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    1. You have addressed the root of the problem David. Younger parents, who did not learn those core values and respect themselves, so have not transferred it down to their own children. The problem in this area is admittedly tiny by comparison with more populous districts, and in a way that makes it seem worse, as it is accordingly more noticeable.
      Best wishes as always, Pete.

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  10. Litter has ALWAYS bugged me. I would never have dreamed of allowing my kids to discard anything unless into a rubbish bin, which admittedly were scarce during the ’80s and ’90s due to the IRA threats. I always carried a plastic bag into which they dumped any refuse to take home with me. I once got out of my car at traffic light in Sheffield when the motorist in front of me dumped his ashtray out of the window! I was furious! he did at least have the grace to blush and say sorry. I’m sure if I did that now I’d probably get thumped! Good on you for clearing up, but it is a sad state of affairs that you needed to ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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    1. It’s a small thing Jude, but they tend to get bigger. Once people lose respect for a nice area like this one, what hope is there for the larger towns and cities? It was the presence of the adults that irritated the most, letting the stuff get dumped without a thought.
      Just a mild rant today…x

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    1. I have undoubtedly been guilty of this kind of thing in the past Cindy, which is perhaps why I am less tolerant of it now. My past indiscretions embarrass me into action!
      Best wishes, Pete.

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        1. That was my problem too Cindy, careless disposal of cigarette ends as a smoker. I notice them now, ever since I gave up. I used to be oblivious to them in London, as they are everywhere in the city.

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