Hi Folks, I hope you are all well and looking forward to the lifting of Lockdown restrictions over the next couple of months.  I know I am really looking forward to kissing and cuddling those close to me (e.g. the Postman, the Binmen, and the lovely gentleman who delivers my medication!) Ooops sorry that was a typing error what I meant to say was my lovely family ha ha!

Anyway getting down to the nitty and gritty “What is the title of this blog all about?” I hear you ask!  Well, this is a good question. In fact I am quite surprised myself as to the response.

Well to put it plainly I have become a bit of an Environmentalist recently.  It all started off when I discovered that a close neighbour of mine was litter picking whilst out on her daily walk.  I had noticed her walking past my home armed with her bin liners and litter picker and often thought it would be great to join her if I was more mobile.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I spoke to her and mentioned about possibly helping out whilst on my scooter and the rest is history. 

Basically what we do is once or twice a week we meet up with another couple of residents from our estate and pick up the litter which is left lying around the perimeter of the estate and neighbouring areas.

Unfortunately I can’t do a lot of litter picking as I can only reach the litter lying on the grass verges and pavements whereas the rest of the team armed with shears, rakes and all other kinds of tools are climbing through trees, brambles and bushes to reach anything which is not supposed to be there.  However, I do come in quite handy for transporting the bags of rubbish which are collected and dropping them off at the nearest collection point. 

Our organiser always picks out a lamp-post which has a number on it so she can inform Gateshead Council where to pick up from.  In fact she has quite a good system going as she even takes photographs to attach to the emails she sends just to make sure that the collections are carried out.

When I said I had even surprised myself at doing this activity, the reason I said this is because even though I would never dream of dropping litter I must admit that I hadn’t been active in helping out with this crisis. I call it a crisis because it is just amazing how much litter people drop and how they have no respect for their neighbourhoods and surrounding areas. 

Some of the things which we have collected just beggars’ belief on what people consider to be ok to drop.  I know that most people are respectful and have been brought up correctly but at the same time I have been amazed at how many doggy bags are dropped.  I always thought that when people picked up after their dogs had used the toilet that they took these bags home with them however the amount that we have picked up is quite another thing.  On a more positive note I do know a lot of dog owners who do take their bags home with them. 

Anyway, before I cause an outburst I just want to say what the positives are of carrying out this task.  Well, first of all, it is a great way of getting outside of your home and getting some fresh air into your lungs. It is also a great way of meeting new people and creating friendships (all socially distanced of course!) and of course getting some exercise whether it be from the walking or stretching or bending.

Personally, I find it so refreshing to get out in the fresh air even if I am breathing it in through a mask. As for the exercise element well I’m afraid the only part of my body which receives any exercise is my jaws (Step back in amazement!!!) but then talking to others is good for your mental health so I do have that excuse ha ha!

It is so strange but ever since starting this I am now so much more aware of my surroundings and whether there is litter lying around.  I have even got my Mam noticing litter when she is out and about.  She was in Gateshead Town Centre last week and had walked down Jackson Street and didn’t only comment on how it felt like a ghost town but also how much litter was lying around. It is definitely becoming contagious ha ha!

Right, now on the subject of the Wombles, for anyone of a certain age you will remember the children’s TV programme The Wombles (the programme was first aired in 1973 so if you can remember this then you are doing well ha ha!) 

Well our little group were chatting a couple of weeks ago about giving ourselves a name and someone jokingly mentioned as we live in Wardley why not call ourselves The Wardley Wombles. Well, the name has now well and truly stuck. The only negative thing about this is whilst we were litter picking our organiser took my photograph and put it on a post she posted on our local Community Group’s Facebook page. I think she thought it would be a good way of advertising and possibly recruiting some more Wombles however my youngest daughter saw it and has now banned me from being photographed as she thinks it is too embarrassing me appearing on social media (I think she thinks I am too old for such things!)

Actually what was a little embarrassing was on my way home last week after litter picking I was happily “scootering” home when twice on my journey I came across a couple of dog walkers who shouted out “Eeee there’s one of the Wombles!” and another gentleman shouted to his children “Look, there’s Madame Cholet!”

Well folks, I must dash as I need to remind my husband to put the wheelie bin out for the binmen tomorrow (Look, there I go again thinking about litter!)

Well take care of yourselves and for those of you who are environmentally friendly like me “Remember, member, member, what a Womble, Womble, Womble you are!”