Margaret Mountford, of The Apprentice fame, says that if we were all to pick up just one piece of litter a day for the duration of her current TV programme, then that would add up to 750 million pieces of litter. That's
sufficiently mind-blowing - even without Margaret's head-mistressy voice echoing in my ear - to send me out to search for an old tin can, an empty bottle, a sweet wrapper or something similar which I could dispose of and so experience the rosy glow of virtue.
I share my thoughts with Mr B who keeps very quiet, neither agreeing with the idea nor arguing against it. I have noticed him taking this approach before. There's a legal term I have encountered in the past which states:
"the law is silent on this point." Though I am no Legal Eagle, I take this to mean that there is no case law which will either prove, or disprove the point. If I have misunderstood this and you are a real, live Legal Eagle (preferably with wig and gown to
prove it) then please feel free to issue a correction. I am very gracious in accepting constructive criticism - gone are the days when, as a sensitive small soul, the merest hint of a critical word would see me in floods of helpless tears.
Anyway, Mr B, like the law, is silent on the issue of litter picking. At least for the time being.
We decide that I am sufficiently recovered to join the rest of our cribbage
group for an afternoon of cards. Everyone is pleased to see me and keen to hear the tale of my trip to hospital. I try to keep it short because, heaven knows, we have enough ailments between us to keep a doctor busy for a week. That's what comes of reaching
such a Great Age. I enjoy the afternoon but play very, very badly. In the second half of the afternoon I am playing against Ann who is a Cribbage Novice and we keep making basic mistakes, as in moving each other's pegs around the board - so although in theory
I win both games, I wouldn't guarantee that this is the correct outcome. It is a good thing Indeed that I wasn't playing Mr B who would not have found this quite as funny as Ann and I did.
We drive home in
the dark and have parked the car when I remember I haven't picked up today's piece of litter. I head out to the road and peer about in the darkness looking for something to pick up. All I can find is a Kit Kat wrapper. Still, that is better than nothing and
I hope Margaret would be proud of me.
Mr B has forgotten all about Margaret's Challenge to the Nation and can't understand why I have come back into the house clutching a Kit Kat wrapper. He says he is not
at all sure that I have my figures right and we have a discussion about the current population of the British Isles. I tell him that, according to Margaret, we as a nation drop 30 million tonnes of litter a year and spend a billion pounds clearing it up. Mr
B is silent on this point, as the lawyers would say. He looks at the Kit Kat wrapper now in my hand, soon to be in the bin. Silence, on occasion, speaks louder than words. Nor, it must be said, does he trot outside to pick up his own daily piece of litter.
It looks as if I might have to double my efforts if we are not to let Margaret down.
I quite enjoy litter picking, particularly along the beach with the sea-gulls for company and the horizon to gaze upon.
Give me a pair of gardening gloves, a plastic sack and one of those useful "grabbers" and I am in my element. I still have my "grabber" from the days when I was recovering from hip surgery. The grandchildren's favourite game when they came to visit and check
on my progress was emptying out all the Bananagrams tiles onto the floor and seeing who could pick them all up and deposit them in their banana shaped bag the fastest.
Margaret Mountford is bossy but for all
the right reasons. Her TV programme is called "Don't Mess With Me" which has exactly the right mixture of menace and merriment about it. In case you don't have the time to watch it, not being retired like me, I will keep you posted on developments, in particular
whether I have remembered the figures correctly, what pieces of detritus I have rescued from the road outside our house, and whether Mr B is still remaining silent.
I am all ready with my response, should
he question my devotion to Bossy Margaret's call.
"Don't mess with me!"