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Before, what a mess.

Before, what a mess.

After, what a view

After, what a view

(It is the same site, though I realise that it would have been better had I taken the second photo from the same position as the first.)

I am still wandering around picking up rubbish off the dunes, though I am greatly pleased to say that I am finding fewer things. I am also a little more wary of what I pick up after my daughter found a large red bottomed spider in one of the rubbish heaps we were clearing, the health workers said if it bites you, your crying for 24 hours. Later at that same site Neu found a large centipede, longer than my hand and as wide as my fingers, they also give a very nasty bite, and there we all were tramping around in flip flops, smart!

Yesterday I came back with a plastic bag full of old bottles, tins and more plastic, I also had the remains of a cooker, not the whole cooker I hasten to add. The cooker got dumped at the top of the dune some months back, since then the weather, animals and undoubtedly the local children, have reduced it to its component parts, I have been bringing these back bit by bit.

It was gathering dusk when I picked up the metal bits,  I was already holding the full bag of rubbish. Just  when I got everything organised, I saw three cows lower down the dune right  in our path. Now I don’t have a problem with cows but Benjy barks at anything that moves. If he spots the “danger” before me, I have a job on my hands, when he starts barking he’s very hard to stop, and once he’s barking Baloo and Bella are liable to bark too, then we have a three ring circus. I am trying to train them out of this but as Baloo and Bella are still young, its always a toss up as to whether they will listen to me or follow Benjy. If Benjys on the lead, its all more controllable.

On this occasion, I spotted the cows first, got Benjy on his lead and called Baloo to me,  as soon as he started to come, I began walking down the dune. What I hadn’t thought of was the bits of cooker I was holding; as soon I moved, the metal bits started clanging together, Baloo freaked and started barking at them  / me, this set Benjy off who then lunged at the cows. I keep Benjy on a long lead, and  although I’d gathered it up, it slipped through my fingers until coming to a sudden holt at the point where it was wrapped around my hand, (the same hand holding the cooker) the sudden jerk caused the cooker pieces to jangle all over again. All  the dogs where barking now, though non of them was quite sure what he / she should be barking at.

In order to pull Benjy back to me, I transferred the rubbish bag to the hand that was holding the cooker, Benjy chose this moment to do another lunge, this time pulling me forward after him, complete with jangling cooker and accompaniment from the glass bottles and tins in the bag. As it was now pretty much dark (sun set is spectacularly fast here) I couldn’t see where I was putting my feet and ended up in a cactus, with lots of its spiteful spines in my foot. With no hope of removing them in the dark, and as we were close to the house, I limped home with the rubbish, thankful that the dogs had given up barking, I think I had given them a confusion overload.

With all the stuff in my hands, I couldn’t open the garden gate properly, the dogs slipped in through the smallest gap but I couldn’t pass. Benjy was now on one side of the gate and I on the other. Having untangled myself from all the bits of cooker, bag and lead, I got the gate open and picking everything up walked in, only to fall over Benjy’s lead that had got stuck under the gate and pulled tight as he tried to get in the house. I sometimes wonder what the hell I’m doing!

© Claire Pattison Valente 2009