Sunday, September 20, 2009

Clean Up the World Weekend

I got up at 8.30 on Saturday (early for me) and got ready quickly, then drove the family to Sola Beach where we picked up litter for an hour as part of Clean Up the World Weekend. Trying to get a black plastic oil bottle out of a stream, my foot slipped in. The stream had a sign saying that it was not fit for children to play in as it contained faecal matter.

While the rest of the family walked up and down the beach, picking up cigarette butts, I cleaned up just around the area where we had parked the car. I filled a large dustbin bag. Several items I found were unknown squidgy parcels in tightly tied plastic bags carelessly flung into bushes. So what did the people who flung these things expect? That their squidgy parcels would simply disappear? Yuk.

At 10.30 we dropped my daughter at the airport which is close to the beach. I waited on the pay parking (without paying) while my wife took her to departures. She has gone to Bordeaux to stay with a French family and practice her French for a week. From e-mails, it sounds like she is getting on well with the family she is staying with.

At 11.30 we arrived at the Lundsvågen naturskole where there was a work day out for families of small children. I helped my younger daughter to catch fish off the end of the jetty and then we had a barbecue before heading out to sea in a powerboat with a Jolly Roger mast to play at pirates. The weather was lovely, the mountains across the fjord a bluish shade of grey.

This morning (Sunday) I had a lie in which is something I need after a general deprivation of sleep during the rest of the week. I had lunch (spaghetti pie) and then cut the lawn at the back which was ever so thick, the grass long and wet. The lawnmower engine kept dying on me.

Then I took my daughter down to the park on her bicycle. We admired the excavation work going on around our neighbour's house on the way down the road. The builders have removed a huge quantity or trees and bushes, several lorry loads of soil, and are now blasting away the bedrock around the house. It is a bit like a scene from a Roald Dahl story. It's easy to imagine that one day the house will be standing all alone on a pinnacle of rock with a chasm on every side.

In the park we discovered a vast bramble bush covered in big blackberries which clearly nobody else could be bothered to pick. So we picked most of them and filled a plastic bag. Deep inside the bush we met some French neighbours, and got scratched scrambling back out of the bush to shake their hands. We also found a wild apple tree and I knocked some fruit down by throwing a stick.

My daughter loves to play at the park by the lake and as I watched her I remembered that intense pleasure from childhood of going to the park to play: so intense that I can remember many of the specific occasions all of these years later.

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