Monday, January 15, 2018

Cleaning the Wandle January 2018

Earlsfield, London. Sunday 14-January-2018.

Goodness me, over a year since my last Wandle clean up. Most of that was spending seven months in Italy then calendar clashes for the other dates: Royal Parks' Half Marathon, walking in the Lake District, cortisone injection in my foot, Dad's funeral, Valentine's Day in Dublin, Sunday lunch with old friends, the Brighton Marathon, Sunday lunch with new friends; 2017 was a busy year.

So it was good to get back in the water and pull out some rubbish. There is a bad fly-tip at the Trewint Street bridge which I had reported to the council and the Trust. I had hoped that would be included in our stretch for the day. Apparently not. Polly explained that the Trust are in conversation with Wandsworth Council trying to encourage them to take a more pro-active, preventive approach with this popular fly-tipping location. Otherwise they are relying on volunteers to clear up the mess several times a year.

We met in Ravensbury Terrace and, instead, cleared the section starting from the old factory buildings and working upstream (so you don't muddy your own water). The water was low and clear so that helped spotting the rubbish.

We got as far as the railway bridge by lunchtime so after lunch continued up to the fish weir at the Trewint Street bridge.

For me the highlight of the day was finding an eel. They like to hide in containers so you always check cans and old tyres or, in my case, a scaffolding pole. I was emptying it out to make it lighter to carry and out popped the eel. I was able to divert it onto the bank so others could see the slippery little sucker before it slid back into the river.

A good haul from what looked like, to me at least, a relatively clean stretch. No shopping trollies but many of the usual suspects - beer bottles and cans, plastic sheets and carrier bags, bits of car and bike, duvets and mattresses.

As always there some oddities in amongst the usual rubbish. The coconut shells confuse the newbies. Was there a circus? No, Hindus float them down the river as votive offerings so I'd be looking to the Shree Ghanapathy temple here.

Back home for a shower to warm up as the water was v. cold and I was losing sensation and grip in my right hand. Fortunately the thermal long johns and two pairs of walking socks kept the feet warm enough to avoid full on chilblains but the toes still tingled for some time.

That's the halo freshly buffed up ready for next month.

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