Lydiate and its volunteer litter pickers

There’s a band of volunteer litter pickers in the community I live in and they go out regularly to try to keep Lydiate clean. They don’t ask for recognition and unless you see them doing their bit you might think our reasonably litter free community is being kept clean by ‘the council’.

Some impressive lengths of roads are litter picked by the volunteers and sadly they are always kept busy because a certain section of our society seems to think that chucking litter, bottles, dog poo bags etc. is a positive contribution to local life. They love throwing litter out of the windows of moving vehicles or picking up dog poo where they think they may be seen only to then deposit the very same bags anywhere they can’t be seen. The participants in these anti-social activities must feel they have a social duty to keep ‘the council’s’ street cleaners busy and in work. However, the reality is that councils do much less litter picking these days as they’ve cut back on such work to try to better fund other vital work such as paying for children in care and social care for the elderly. These two council activities cost an arm and a leg no matter which party runs ‘the council’.

I’m not trying to make excuses for ‘the council’ but having been a Borough Councillor for 16 years (1999 – 2015), 7 of those as a Council Leader, I know how desperately stretched nearly all councils are and why the likes of street cleaning has slipped down their list of priorities. It’s not a good situation but sadly it’s reality. Of course that’s why in so many communities volunteers can now often be the backbone of keeping our streets clean.

I have nothing but admiration for the work of Lydiate’s volunteer litter pickers many of whom do far more than my own very limited contribution.

I look after a footpath which connects Southport Road, Marshalls Close and Coppull Road and I litter pick it around once a month. I did it yesterday and despite only doing it around 3 weeks ago I still collected half a back bin bag of rubbish and litter. I know this path is well used but it’s also secluded so I’m guessing that a very small minority of its users chuck all the litter along it on the basis that with a quick look around to check no one can see them they can just drop whatever they want – and they do.

Whenever I see litter my mind goes back to my favourite author Bill Bryson and his book Notes from a Small Island. Bill, on travelling to Liverpool happened to do so whilst there was an industrial dispute on-going between refuse/street cleaners and the City Council. Liverpool was indeed a mess at that time and he dubbed it a ‘festival of litter’. Sadly, whilst that situation was subsequently resolved there are a small number in our society who have opted out of civic life to create work for those who really care about their community. I fear that the volunteer litter pickers will be doing their rounds for a long time to come because some in our society really can’t give a damn!

Liverpool – Poshest pub toilets in England get listed

The BBC has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-51397915

I’m grateful to Keith Page for bringing this to my attention not least because I’ve just finished re-reading Bill Bryson’s wonderful book Notes from a Small Island.

‘And so, soon afterwards, I found myself, like all fresh arrivals in Liverpool, in the grand and splendourous surroundings of the Philharmonic, clutching a pint glass and rubbing shoulders with a happy Friday-evening throng.’

Bill Bryson & Phil Holden on the UK honours system

phlhldn.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/im-honoured-bill-bryson-agrees-with-me.html

Phil Holden has the story on his blog site – see link above

Phil’s a mate of mine and Bill Bryson my favourite author. Phil had previously posted about the honours system in the UK and how undeserving rich footballers etc. get awards inappropriately.

He then comes across Bill’s excellent recent book ‘The Road to Little Dribbling’ where we are teased by Bryson about how we give out honours. Bill goes on to say how it works in the USA as well.

Both Phil’s blog and Bill Bryson’s works are well worth reading.

May to be Prime Minister – Excuse me this Brian Rix type farce has gone too far!

I suspect that I am hardly the only person who has watched in utter disbelief the folding farce of British ‘democracy’ in action over recent weeks.

It’s the kind of democracy where the leaders of the Brexit campaign all bugger off almost all at once after they have got what they campaigned for. You could say the leaders have all left the room.

It’s a democracy where we get a new prime minister, in effect, imposed on us. Yes I know it has happened before (Gordon Brown comes to mind) but that does not make repeating the stunt right.

It’s a democracy in utter turmoil since the Brexit vote, where every major party political leader but one (Tim Farron) is either buggering off or is being hacked to death (Jeremy Corbyn) by their own MP’s.

If ever we needed a General Election it must be now. We need a Government with a mandate to deal with the Brexit mess which could take up to 10 years to resolve. We need a Prime Minister we can have even a modicum of faith in who has taken their party through an election campaign and therefore has some legitimacy in the so terribly hard times ahead of us. Oh yes and we need Her Majesty’s Official Opposition to stop it’s own civil war and get on with being an opposition.

Goodness me how did we come to be in the state that we are? This is the kind of situation that Bill Bryson could write an all too funny piece about except that our resident American observer of we British must be almost as stuck for coherent words as we are and the situation is actually beyond farce!

A Walk in the Woods – A great book and a terrible tragedy

www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-36389383

A Walk in the Woods is probably Bill Bryson’s best book and of course it was recently turned into a film starring Robert Redford. It’s all about walking the famed Appalachian Trail.

But the story on the BBC web site – -accessible via the link above – really does show what a lonely wilderness this American long distance footpath travels through.

Poor Geraldine Largay, 26 days lost before she sadly died.

Litter – Deyes Lane shops Maghull

Litter around these shops is a problem; a problem caused by those who drop it probably from items they have purchased in the shops.

rsz_photo0971

A suspect that the Council could brush it up twice as often as they do now (if they could afford to do so) and some folks would still treat the pavement as a litter bin.

When you think of all the great work done by volunteers to spruce up Maghull (Maghull in Bloom Volunteers and Maghull Station Volunteers spring to mind) why do some residents volunteer to assist with creating a litter problem.

It reminds me of Bill Bryson’s quote about Liverpool when he wrote his book Notes from a Small Island and he visited the City in its darker days of the 1980’s. He said:-

I took a train to Liverpool. They were having a festival of litter when I arrived. Citizens had taken time off from their busy activities to add crisp packets, empty cigarette boxes and carrier-bags to the otherwise bland and neglected landscape. They fluttered gaily in the bushes and brought colour and texture to pavements and gutters. And to think that elsewhere we stick these objects in rubbish bags.