Friday, 7 February 2014

The wombles of Exeter

I have always been concerned about man's impact on the environment and to an extent it has determined my career and interests, but I openly admit that I have not done as much as I would like for our local environment.

A couple of weeks ago I watched a video. It was simply a link from someone's facebook page or twitter account. I can't even remember whose. It made me cry. Not just a little tear in the corner of my eye, but properly cry. It also made me want to do something. I asked Ian to watch it last week and he instantly felt the same way.

Most days in the winter we go for a 45 minute walk. Usually we follow the same route, leaving the city of Exeter via a walk along the railway line, going through the village of Pinhoe and returning via the leafy Hart's Lane (which no longer has deer, but still has plenty of other wildlife including mice, rabbits, foxes, owls, toads, crickets, butterflies and dragonflies). In the summer we may do up to three walks in one day, depending on the weather and how busy we are with other things. This video has prompted us to join Litter Action. We have bought a litter picker and as soon as the weather has improved a little we shall begin taking it (and several bags) on our walks with us. We shall start by clearing Hart's Lane and then will probably move on to the area by the railway line (which being like most such areas could take some time to clear).

Speaking of the weather, in case you're wondering if we're flooded, the answer is no. Unfortunately that doesn't mean that we haven't suffered any damage. Nine weeks of rain and storms culminated in an horrific storm last Tuesday night. We woke up to find that most of the fence between us and one of our neighbours had disintegrated, there was a lake on the field just behind our back fence and, most disturbingly, water had come through the wall into the study. We now have a huge damp patch right above my desk. I can only assume that a combination of the gutter not being able to cope with all the rain and possibly problems with our pointing? are to blame. We're going to get the gutters cleaned asap, but will have to seek advice as to whether we need any other work done on the outside.


  1. I was saddened to hear of your house problems. I hope it is just gutter cleaning that is needed. I suppose that in relation to your concern for the environment it really is Small Stuff but it never seems that way when it's actually being discovered and dealt with. As for your litter picking exercise you have once again highlighted (I'm sure that it's not highlit) another coincidence because there was someone on our NZ 'Good Sorts spot on the news recently) about someone who had devoted time for many years clearing up his town of all sorts of rubbish. I've not found litter a major issue either around where I live on Lewis (although sometimes the youngsters down at the pier leave a mess) nor here in Napier. Mind you you can't walk a dozen steps without a litter bin in central Napier.

    1. Thanks GB. I must admit that the damp did upset me initially, but what is done is done and when I see the photographs of all the flooded homes not far from here it really does seem like Small Stuff.

      I hadn't realised how used to litter I had become. I had thought our usual route didn't have that much, but when we actually looked down properly we found loads of the stuff. I guess after a while I just filtered it all out.

    2. I decided, in light of your comments, to have a good look to see if I had just become inured to the litter around me. No. Napier has, as I thought, little or no litter in the streets. However the 'country' road out to where I live does have quite a few bottles and so on obviously thrown out of vehicles. However as it's a fairly dangerous road for pedestrians (and even for cyclists) I can't see anyone becoming a Puketitiri Road Womble in a hurry.

  2. Sorry to hear about the study and the fencing. Sadly, I suspect the study is not just a case of clearing gutters out. Our gutters are in a terrible state, resulting in some parts of the walls getting an absolute soaking when it rains but - touch wood - we haven't had any coming through. That suggests it may be the pointing and / or a gap in the eaves. Either should be easily sorted. (Note the emphasis on the word 'should'). Good luck.