Sunday, 24 January 2010

A Walk on the Scruffy Side.


I intend to leave a note for myself:-


NEXT TIME IT SNOWS, DO NOT CLEAR IT INTO HEAPS UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.


The farmer and I have just been for our Sunday afternoon walk down the lane with Tess. The snow has largely gone except where it has been swept on to the verge by the snow plough. In the farmyard it has almost disappeared except for a large heap in the corner, where the farmer pushed the snow out of the way with his tractor. And I have to report, dear readers, that the snow that is left is FILTHY. In our little market town the snow plough cleared the roads and put the offending heap of snow on to three spaces in the central car parking area. It is now a black, weeping mountain, littered with the odd cigarette packet and the odd drinks can.

Then, yesterday, I read an article in the Times by Stephen Bayley who suggests that London is now the dirties and worst-managed city on Earth. He speculates on the really dirty streets and particularly the pavements and reminds us that places like Paris and Berlin manage to wash the pavements early each morning. I must say I have seen this happening in Istanbul and in Beijing too, so why can't it happen here?

Another thing he points out is that where there have to be traffic barriers of any kind, for some reason in England they have to be weighted down with bags of sand on the 'feet' - and this he reminds us in the country which bred Isaac Newton.

The other thing which now litters our lane - a result I suspect of very bad conditions on the local roads, so that everyone walked their dog/s down our lane - is dog poo. Sorry about this, but great heaps of it are now revealed on the grass verges. Luckily, before too long the grass will begin to grow and will cover it up.

Apparently Ruskin so despaired of the filth on the London streets that he took a brush and swept them himself. I suppose I could do the same down our lane - and I suppose I could take a hair dryer out to the heaps of snow and melt them quickly. But I can assure you that the view down our lane is pretty depressing at the moment.

We came back through our front, walled garden only to find that the voles have carved up another vole city on our lawn - we hadn't noticed it before but they have had a real beanfeast.

On a more cheerful note - nine long-tailed tits hanging on our fat balls at the bird table created the most beautiful pattern - they were all facing in the same direction and their wing markings were absolutely beautiful, so that cheered me up a bit.

The Burn's Night supper was most enjoyable and we had a splendid chat. For those U S readers who have informed me that they don't really know what haggis is, and what are neaps and tatties - the answer is that haggis is made of oatmeal and some quite unspeakable parts of animal (offal I think) and herbs - I personally would not eat it under any circumstances - it is mixed together and boiled in a sheep's stomach or some such. Neaps are turnips and tatties are, of course, potatoes. The haggis might have been a no-no for me, but there were some sublime puddings on offer.

Couldn't resist posting this photograph of Tess, taken a few minutes ago. I think it is fair to say that looking at her, she obviously does not have a care in the world. Have a nice Sunday.

25 comments:

Heather said...

Tess looks adorable in your photo Weaver - she is obviously totally relaxed after her walk. Sadly some dog owners will take advantage of any circumstance not to clean up after their dogs. What a treat to see so many longtailed tits on the bird table. If our Town Councils were to start washing down the pavements surely it would breach hosepipe bans and cause further dire warnings of water shortages!! You should have risked a nibble of haggis, it's not bad at all. A Scots neighbour of ours even made a haggis pizza which was very tasty!

Bob said...

Hi Weaver. I know what you mean about the snow and it just goes to show what filth there is around and its not just when the snow it there, the snow just does us a favour and shows it to us. Since becoming a european traveller these past few years I've been amazed at how much cleaner other countries are. I used to be proud to be Bristish but not any more. When we visited Spain you saw them cleaning streets all the time, even in a little place like Malta they collected household waste every night, they can't even emptry the bin once a fortnight here. Another thing that I always think shows us up for what we really are is if you go in to Richmond most days you can't move in that lovely square for cars and buses either parked or driving through yet the squares I've visited in other countries are free from traffic, parked or otherwise and I think they look so much better for it too. Anyway no doubt there will be those who think I should b----r off to Spain or some place if I like it so much which I may do given time but at the moment I guess I'm suck with dirty snow, dirty streets, filthy grey skies and packed squares! Thank goodness for fish and chips and Nora Batty's wrinkly stockings!

Bob said...

Oh Yes - I meant to say before I got carried away, I once had a black pudding and haggis pizza while staying near Loch Lomod. I remmeber it to be quite nice but very filling.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Late winter and early Spring are often dirty, unsightly times of year - especially in urban area where sand and salt are used for the roads. Here in Montreal, if we go without rain for a while in early Spring there is the most awful dust from all the sand left after the snow melts. But soon, if the city fathers do not take care of it, the rain does ... and...eventually all is well. Life.

Totalfeckineejit said...

As Shakespeare said in Macbeth 'The snow maketh everything look new and pristine and white, but forsooth underneath everything was still covered in shite.'

Golden West said...

Wee Tess knows how to enjoy life - a good snooze in a soft warm bed after an invigorating outing!

Italy is on the agenda? How fabulous, Weaver! So many new experiences to savor! I look forward to photographs of how your see it all.

Pondside said...

Your lane sounds very much like the road at the end of our driveway. We live 6 km from the nearest store or fast food place, and our road goes nowhere except up and back, yet every morning there are food wrappers and cigarette butts at the end of the driveway.
When we lived in Ottawa I used to say that spring wasn't truly there until the dirty mounds of snow had disappeared, and sometimes they'd still be there in May - in fact when I was in Moncton last May that was exactly the case.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, Tess! Apple sleeps on her back too, and it always makes me feel relaxed just to look at her.

Dirty melting snow is most certainly one of the drawbacks to the whole experience of a snowfall. Doggie poop is something owners can easily remedy if only they would. Here in our neighborhood we pick up biodegradable bags for that task, and I am happy to report they are used! It makes a huge difference.

steven said...

strange thing living in canada where last year snow fell from mid-october through to april. this year where i live we have had one - that's right one (!) - decent snowstorm. i didn't even bother to shovel. it's almost gone - there's about twenty centimetres on the ground. when it recedes - well as you describe, it ain't pretty until it's all gone. i love haggis. love it!!! steven

Poet in Residence said...

Lovely photograph of Tess. Our snow won't melt. It's -4°C at the moment. It only looks nice, and only for 2 or 3 days, when the new snow falls on top of it. The Christmas card effect doesn't last long.
Today saw black squirrel and a great-tit happily feeding together, sharing the same sunflower seeds.

Sal said...

We are lucky enough to get the long tailed tits in our garden...they are so beautiful.
I have eaten Haggis when I was in Edinburgh,years ago. I quite enjoyed it too! In fact, I was pleasantly surprised!
;-)

Dubois said...

I seem to recall that you wanted to be able to drive around and snow was an inconveniece you didnt want. It was cleared for you and the farmer cleared the lane for you so why are you grumbling. You cant have it both ways.

Dave King said...

For my money the dog poo is the number one obscenity in the city, though I agree absolutely about the street washing - something that applies also to the beaches, I think.

Crafty Green Poet said...

oh don't get me started on dog poo, its terrible sometimes along the Water of leith, I hate when people bag it and then instead of binning it throw it into the trees or pile it up under bushes!

I love your description though of the long tailed tits, they are such adorable birds and seem to dance together in a synchronised way.

Haggis - the veggie version is very edible.....

DJ said...

Tess is adorable...and we Americans can't imagine London as anything but sparkling and stately. I hope the mounds melt soon, and that spring rains soon clean everything in view...

Helsie said...

I like to try the food from countries we travel to, so when in Scotland I tried haggis, tatties and neeps and found it very tasty. I don't want to know what goes into it or how it's made, that would put me off too much! I even tried black pudding - but we won't discuss what that's made of !!!
Cheers
Helen

Titus said...

Super photo of Tess! Do all Borders adopt that position in their baskets, I wonder?

Just back from our Burns Supper, in which vegetarian haggis was served, which I, (a meat-eater) find infinitely preferable. And a jolly good night was had by all.

Posted two translations of the Batttle of Brunanburh for you, but Lord, the controversy!

Wishing you a speedier thaw and better-behaved dog-owners.

dinesh chandra said...

Good look Tess is great .
great post.

Regards

Dinesh Chandra

Dominic Rivron said...

On Gardener's Question Time they said to shovel any SALT/GRIT FREE left over snow onto parts of the garden that could do with a lift. Apparently it's more nutritious to the ground than rain?

Poet in Residence said...

Weaver, check out poetry2010, all the best, G.

Granny Sue said...

I haven't taken any new photos recently because everything is getting that worn, late-winter look--even though we're really not even halfway through. I can imaginee how you must feel, looking at the mess others have left. My place is so rural that only a few of us travel the road, thank goodness, and dogs run free on their own land and do their business in the woods, thank goodness.

Never had haggis, although I've read about it. Not for me. Tatties and neaps--love 'em.

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

I think you should summon your courage and try haggis; I love it. Don't you like haslet or black pudding? Come on, you're an adopted Yorkshire woman!

As for dog poo (hope you've had your tea!), your lane probably suffered because it's in the countryside and folks who might clear up after their dog in town didn't bother. Happily, Melrose' streets are kept very clean except for chewing gum!

Elisabeth said...

Here in Australia, it's almost law to clean up after your dog.

I remember the first time i visited Holland in the early 1980s the dog poo on the street was overwhelming. I imagine it's better now. We always take a bag with us to collect our dog's offerings but I then worry about using the plastic. It's not easy keeping things clean.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks so much for the lovely comments. I am going through a very busy period and have no time to answer you individually but I assure you I have read all your comments and as usual you have added a lot to my post - you are such a thoughtful lot.

ChrisJ said...

I had to look hard to be sure there really was a dog in that basket. I wish you had been able to get a photo of the long tailed tits. I've only ever seen one in my whole life.