Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Clean and Green

New Zealand is. It often boasts about the fact, mostly on aeroplane videos, which also try to entice you to jump off that bridge at Hamner with only a rubber bungee to prevent liquification of all your insides and a more-or-less prompt but adrenaline-heightened death.

It's pretty well established that actually everyone hates cleanness and greenness, so most people try to alleviate the problem by throwing KFC and McDonald's wrappers out of their windows, and like the fact that you're never more than six connections from knowing the Queen, you're never more than six metres from a slime-infested beverage container in New Zealand. To be fair to them, KFC and McDonald's wrappers are largely paper these days, so if you can bear daily passing a Coca Cola cup on your ride, only the plastic top and the straw will lie there for ten thousand years. The paper will decay to something unpleasant in three months, and two years hence when the earwigs have finished with it you won't know it's there. Why d'you always find an earwig inside a paper cup at the roadside? Life is full of mysteries.

 Rubbish collected from the roadside

There are several paddocks I pass each day, and when I notice a cow in difficulties I drop in on Mr and Mrs Williams and they telephone the appropriate farmer and get him to attend to the calving. I know who the farmer is: he's a churchwarden up the valley. I even know his number - it's in the telephone book. It's just that I intend to be the last person alive without a mobile phone, and then people'll cheer me like they do Robert Marchand. But Mr and Mrs Williams like me dropping in: at least I think they do, because they always wave when I cycle past, and I think they like doing good deeds to their neighbouring members of the farming community.

Today was more-or-less the start of Springtime, and the roadside grass is still very short. Wherever the churchwarden has heaved a bale of hay over the fence for his cows, there are four snippings of baling twine, each two inches long, all of them a distracting blue, and all of them much more difficult to pick up later in the year when the grass has grown. It crossed my mind today that since the farmer is a churchwarden and probably dislikes roadside litter as much as I do, he'd probably appreciate it if I gathered all these unsightly blue snippings and dropped them in his letterbox. He could even tie them all together to make one long piece of baling twine, and auction it off for church funds. And he must find it really irritating that some horrid person is evidently following him round and, after marking the exact spot where there's a great armful of hay half on the road and lots more trampled in the paddock, throwing four short pieces of bright blue baling twine onto the public verge.

When you gather it all up there's more than you think, and it won't fit in one envelope

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