John Feehen so erudite brings us the hazel <3
L and I had a loose date today to poster for Sundays clean up, the months just fly by, I updated my poster for the third time and the in was still drying on the new date when L called, she had met up with P from the parks and he had cleaning equipment for us we needed a car to collect. And so for the first time I drove into the Glen down the road by the Zigzag, the barrier was up and I met L in her red beret at the Fleischmann corner by the metal bridge, rolling down my window to speak felt like a surreal act out of film, not life. On went the bandit masks and onward into the depot, the gate is open and we are on new territory. I park in a marked space near the electric and other cars. P comes out waving and carrying boxes – hundreds of gloves, the green and yellow kind, knitted on the back with rubberised palms, size L. This should sort ye out he said, it looks like a long sentence …more boxes of gloves, 5 in all, then boxes of bags, more boxes holding rolls of black bags, thousands of bags, we quip with him about how many days of hard labour we’re due… he tells us how much they cost, he says, I’m giving them now because we won’t have the budget next month. We follow him to the prefab at the back, his office since the fire 3 years ago, a tractor fire. The machinery is old, the tyres are expensive, trailers on order from UK are held up in Brexit, the men can’t do the work until they pick up the rubbish, all they do is pick up the rubbish, they can’t cut the grass like they are supposed to. They have to clear the grass first so the rubbish wont get stuck in the machine or puncture a tyre and that’s one man and one machine out for a day and another to go and repair and haul back..the rubbish is on the roads and piling up everywhere, people dump the rubbish and then call to say there is rubbish attracting rats, they do this anonymously, so they won’t be traced, he gets it from above and below, he’s the middle man, stretched to breaking and still not able to do his parks job. I ask why there isn’t a litter department. Environment is the department, the umbrella covers all, rubbish is the bottom line no one can get beyond. Privatisation of refuse has ruined it, we are plagued by plastic wheelie bins, they also come into the park as fuel, he has no faith in communal bins, neither will the metal bins when they arrive and are also held up in Brexit, he says the rubbish will increase when they go in. He is a man whose working life is consumed by it. We leave feeling very sorry and frustrated, we were fresh ears for an old story. I have a car full of gloves and bags and seven premium litter pickers.