Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Rubbish blighting our land

IT is well outside the tourist season yet the job of maintaining the RSPB’s Radipole and Lodmoor reserves in Weymouth against an influx of litter has never been tougher.

I recently came across staff out and about armed with litter pincers picking up every kind of discarded waste from beer cans to fast food containers and any amount of plastic, some of which they said might have been blown in on the wind but some of which had clearly been discarded in situ.

The worst example has to involve man’s best friend with dog mess being bagged up.

Nothing wrong with that. In fact it is laudable, but what happens next is somewhat less praiseworthy.

Either dog owners felt so exhausted by their efforts to bag mess that they only had enough energy left to throw it into the undergrowth or they correctly placed it in bins only for vandals to raid containers and derive some warped pleasure from throwing it about everywhere.

Whatever the core reason, those engaged on rubbish clearance had no trouble finding bag after bag of the unsavoury offerings and were soon well on the way to filling a bin liner.

What made it all the more incredible to me was that barely 48 hours had passed since the same area had been cleared of surface rubbish, so if people want this town’s reserves to remain major attractions they had better buck their ideas up and take a more responsible attitude to rubbish.

Will all these leaks and potholes ever get mended?

LAST winter’s icy spells were blamed for a rash of monster potholes all over Weymouth and Portland so I suppose prolonged recent rain must be to blame for our current collection.

These range from wheel-shattering pits in Abbotsbury Road and Chafeys Avenue to dozens more similar hazards pretty much anywhere you care to drive.

Also of some concern are seemingly permanent water leaks in Quibo Lane, Chickerell Road, Goldcroft Road, Dorchester Road, Upwey and many other places.

Add all these problems together and you produce a focus on road and service maintenance which is clearly worrying.

Cutbacks rather than adding to staff seems to be the order of the day everywhere, but if winter ever arrives in South Dorset then holes in roads will only get worse while leaks will turn to ice and compound both problems.

I only mention this because we are approaching budget time for councils and the end of the financial year for companies, so it will be interesting to see what approach each adopts towards holes and leaks. 

If both are still obvious by July you’ll have your answer.

Spring is sprung but winter could be back to bite us!

SPRING is here and everything in the garden is coming up a treat.

You and I know that we’re bound to get winter’s blast at some stage, but all the plants know is that they’ve never had it so mild for so long at this time of year.

The result is that trees are showing buds, grass is greening up and almost incredibly I’ve got a couple of daffodils preparing to flower in one of my borders.

There is another school of thought that everything is trying to get out of the ground to avoid being drowned, but it is still pretty startling to see flowers out or nearly out this early in the year.

I’ve heard of other gardens which actually had daffodils out before Christmas which beggars belief and I’m also bound to say that the other day I put in a couple of hours of greenhouse clearing and vegetable garden weeding which I’ve never been able to do in January before.

It is here I sound a note of caution. Just as we were wrong to welcome all those lovely dry conditions early last year only to spend the rest of the year wearing water wings, it may be a bit early to write winter off yet.

Do you know you’ve got an elephant on your head?

JUST what in the name of all that’s holy has happened to people’s heads?

At almost any other time of the year they are bare or, at worst, covered in an anorak hood, but for at least the last fortnight ordinary inoffensive members of the public have been startled by some truly outlandish headgear.

I speak of those ludicrous Christmas presents given to warm heads and ears but which are provided disguised as a potty penguin, a manic moose or, most recently, a weird walrus.

On children such objects look creative and fun but on middle-aged men with hands full of shopping bags then wearing a cross-eyed elephant on their heads looks just what it is. Ludicrous!

If you then add what I suppose must be viewed as an accessory – namely large ears which fold down over the man’s ears to button under his chin -- then clearly it is only a matter of time before the men with white coats catch up with him.

His only consolation when that happens will be that when they throw him into a ward for the fashionably deranged he’ll be greeted by whoever gave him such a present because they’re bound to be there already!

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