…You will find something that spoils it. In this case, fly tipping.
As some of my Twitter followers would no doubt be aware, a couple of weeks ago I was having a slight rant about fly tipping and certain individuals propensity to use some part of England’s green and pleasant land as a means to dispose of their unwanted filth. This was chiefly because I had my weekend interrupted by a phone call to say what looked like a tied up bed sheet bulging with something was floating in the river at the estate. Either I’m particularly cynical of the human race or just have a vivid imagination, either way the first thought that sprung into my head was why did someone have to choose my patch to dispose of a dismembered corpse on a sunny weekend. On first inspection from the bank it did indeed appear to be a large white bed sheet wrapped around something vaguely body shaped and knotted up. I eliminated the obvious – checking with the lady of the estate that a similar bed sheet hadn’t been adorning the outside washing line for drying that morning and seeking advice from a tame Coroner’s Officer (don’t ask), but it needed removing anyway. I’m (usually) courteous to our neighbouring land owners and giving it a judicious poke with a long stick to send it on its way downstream to another estate isn’t sporting so with a suitable verbal expression of annoyance (‘Oh bother’) I went in search of the tractor, a dry suit and some rope.
Having negotiated the steep drop into the water (I hadn’t yet got this far downstream with the river restoration) and waded over to it, the smell did indeed suggest that of something dying (in hindsight it may have just been the smell of a human body enclosed in a dry suit in 20 degree heat). Objects are surprisingly light in the water, so moving it across the channel was fine. There was, however, no chance of me lifting that up the bank from underneath – and as I hadn’t yet explored the contents of the bag I had no wish to receive said unknown contents in the face.
Using mechanical advantage (thats the noisy blue thing) and support from someone (between painting her nails and offering useful advice and I shall leave you to imagine the advice) resulted in finally getting back on terra firma with said object. In the end, it turned out to be a double duvet cover filled with old tins, cardboard, dirty nappies, boxes, household waste and empty bottles. The only access to that bank where it had to have been thrown in the river is a mile across open fields with no vehicle access. It would have taken less effort to physically drag it to the household waste recycling centre 5 miles away than grapple with it over a fence and then manhandle it across a field in the dark. In the dark it must have been as those fields are easily seen from mine.
I shall now have to pay to have the whole lot disposed of, not to mention having to spend half my weekend clearing it up! To save what? If it was domestic waste the local household waste recycling centre doesn’t charge anyway! I should of course, count myself lucky that the duvet cover remained intact instead of liberally distributing it’s contents along the downstream reach of river. That says something for the tensile strength of Asda’s finest. Something perhaps to bear in mind when I run out of ton bags for log deliveries…