I’d like to say you get a better class of litter at Lytham but you don’t.
It’s the same old stuff folk flush down the loo thinking the toilet pixies will magic away cotton bud sticks, hygiene products, unwanted meds and worse.
There’s rubbish people still drop on sands, leave after a drinking spree, picnic or walk. Or which blows in on the wind – Chinese lanterns, balloons. Or which sweeps in on high tide, in storm-tossed waters.
Vast amounts of debris and detritus amass out there on beaches – along with the usual dollops of dog dirt.
Inside the site office of Jubilee House, at Lytham, Conlon’s plans for Danbro accountancy’s new base take second place to photographs of devastation inflicted by litter. Plastic waste has increased by 90 per cent in the last 50 years. It’s not a naturally occurring phenomenon. Bags can choke a sea creature, clog its digestion. Balloons wrap round beaks or feet. Ring pulls may gift wrap a turtle for death –horribly restricting growth, ability to feed, or swim.
On St George’s Day, I joined volunteers from Danbro and Conlon – including apprentices such as 17-year-old Dylan Matthews – to meet the group both companies help sponsor: Lytham’s Friends of the Estuary.
The Friends usually meet up every Monday morning for the beach litter pick. Similar clean-ups are going on today at St Annes and in Blackpool.
As St George’s crusades went this was our Estuary English at their very best -–brandishing litter pick tools like swords against a different dragon... litter.
Since 2008 this intrepid group has collected 3,500 bags of rubbish – and countless larger scale items including dead animals and birds, tyres, mangled metal and more.
In under two hours 30 volunteers added 26 more bags of rubbish to that toll.
If co-founders Jim and Meg Green and others didn’t have these litter picks – all that rubbish would still be out there, or out to sea, causing further damage. Instead, it’s carted off by the council within minutes of Meg placing the call.
The former community nurse still sees red at unwanted meds washing up, often still sealed in their original packaging – for fear children could take them for sweets. And she’s shed tears over some finds, which have been particularly poignant, such as a dead foal or rare bird life or harbour porpoises. Meg once found a message in a bottle urging the finder to get in touch with the sender. When she did he confessed to throwing lots of bottles off cruise ships.
“I suggested a rather different kind of message to him!”
Easter haircuts and too much chocolate
Had my hair cut the other day at a barber’s. I’d got very irritated with my hair sticking out like Doddy’s after an all nighter at the Marine Hall – so I’d cut it myself with blunt scissors and ended up looking like someone who had been tarred and feathered.
With every hair stylist usually closed on Monday opting for a Tuesday Easter bonanza, I spotted a barber’s shop, with just a couple of blokes inside, and asked if they could straighten me out.
After some huffing, puffing and shrugging, mostly on my part, it came out quite well. And cost £6.50! Short of sticking a pudding bowl on my head and cutting round the edges I couldn’t have done it cheaper.
It took me back to the rite of passage my family had every Easter – when my little brothers would go to the barber’s near the Regal at Cleveleys and emerge with crew cuts. We’d nip into Woollies for our summer jellies – the brightly coloured sandals we lived in every summer – and then trooped off to sail lolly sticks at Jubilee Gardens.
If we timed it right we’d get Easter eggs on half price and stuff ourselves with chocolate – so much so that one year I became seriously egg-bound and had to go into hospital to be pumped clear.
But just after the barber’s I bought some Easter eggs on offer for next door’s little girl – and scoffed them in bed that night. And felt sick.
I found myself hearing that song again “rolling, rolling, rolling, keep them dawgies rolling – an eye!”