Anyone who has ever read my blog has probably arrived at the conclusion that I rather like walking in the English countryside.
I am in the very fortunate position, of being able to step out of my front door and go for a walk up the road out of the village, which winds between fields of cows and sheep. It is not a dramatic landscape round here - there are none of the peaks and waterfalls and lakes of the North, there are no glittering sea views or rearing white cliffs. But there are hedgegrows that are alive with sparrows, robins, bluetits, chaffinches; there are enormous black cows which blow at me as I pass, curly haired brown cows like teddy bears who came and stare at me over the gate, fluffy white, bouncy, silly, sheep. Many of the fields still roll and dip from their days as medieval Ridge and Furrow fields and, with approaching spring are sprouting with daisies and the bright, glowing yellow of celandines and dandelions. The ancient hedgerows are beginning to sprout a green fuzz of new leaves and will soon be starred with hawthorn and blackberry blossom and briar roses, the verges of the road are emerald green with thick grass, clumps of daffodils and snowdrops, nodding their heads every few feet.
However, the verges and hedgrows, the ditches that carry the rainwater to the streams are also liberally decorated with coke and red bull cans, wine bottles, fanta bottles, juice boxes, plastic bags, polystyrene boxes, Mcafe cups, ciggarette packets, crisp packets. Once every week or so I take a rubbish bag on my walks, but I have always filled it within a hundred yards or so, though I concentrate mainly on filling it with the plastic, and aluminium and glass, leaving the cigarette boxes and paper cups, because I simply can't carry them all and I hope they will break down without releasing too many poisons into the environment.
I'm afraid that this absolutley baffles me. I can understand why, in poverty stricken areas of the world, where people are uneducated, desperate, have given up hope, that they don't care about chucking the odd crisp packet on the ground. But in middle class Buckinghamshire?
I realise that a lot of this rubbish will have been blown here (I have worked out what most meteorologists still haven't; namely, that wind has nothing to do with cold fronts or warm fronts or freezing bottoms, but likes to blow hardest on rubbish days, when the streets are lined with bins) but I can't believe the wind is responsible for it all - the other day, I was working an area I had "cleaned up" just two weeks before and found nine wine bottles, seven plastic bottles, numerous aluminium cans etc etc.
Now I walk at least once, if not twice or three times a day with the dog as I know a lot of people do. And though it's tricky to manage a dog on the road and a rubbish bag, I figure I can do a "clean up" of sorts at least once a week - and obviously, the more of us who do this, maybe we can mae a tiny difference, which is better than nothing. I realise that I am probably preaching to the converted, but if anyone is interested, I have started a "Dog Walkers for a Cleaner Britain" (yeah, I know, snazzy title!) page on Facebook, in the hopes that some people may join me in my quest. So please pop along and like it, if you can, or share it!