Keep Britain Tidy?

At last we have some rain. Decent summer rain, soaking into the parched, hard ground, settling the dust down, leaving puddles of water, fresh, cool for the birds to drink from.

And it keeps the crowds away.

For the past two weeks, my favourite wildlife place, my refuge from the world, the place I go to recharge, to think, to find some meaning, to seek some comfort in the simple sight of a Lapwing, or a butterfly, or an orchid coming into flower has been invaded by people who, unable to go to a theme park, or a pub, or holiday in Spain, have brought their cars and cans of beer, BBQ’s and plastic bags and plastic bottles to the countryside. They bring their loud music and their swearing raucous cries and screams replace the sound of bird song. They bring their contempt and their ignorance and scar this special place.

They have come not to enjoy the peace and tranquility, but to desecrate it with piles of rubbish and human waste. They mock anyone who asks them politely to take their rubbish home, and turn violent if their behaviour is challenged. Stones are thrown at nesting birds on cliff faces, and their dogs run lose over ground where hard pressed ground nesting birds lose chicks to the sound of these ignorant people’s cheers and jeers.

They leave their cars double parked on narrow country lanes, and tear down notices asking them not to enter a private space and rather than walk the fews yards back to the gate, they kick down the walls.

They do not belong here.

Once the crowds had gone, the people who care, come and clear away the rubbish, plastic bottles, discarded towels and socks, plastic packets, cans and bottles, and hundreds of nitrous oxide capsules.

Peace is restored. Swifts and Sand Martins hunt insects along the fringes of the shelter belt and a robin sings in celebration from a rowan tree.

Peace is restored. Until the next time.

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