IT IS now the middle of July, still raining and have just read about the exorbitant remuneration packages paid to, and accepted by, the high priced ‘help' in Ivory Towers.
Feeling thoroughly hacked off; I wanted to write something cheerful just to lift my own spirits and hopefully those who take time to read it. Then I remembered something and smiled, so hopefully, will others.
Pushing a bicycle
Phil had just taken the trip boat Stafford over to the public 48 hour moorings to allow customers to moor on the wharf side and was walking back to the yard along the towpath when a man, pushing a bicycle, approached from under Bridge 65.
Phil, sharp as ever, noticed a couple of unusual things. Firstly, the man, dressed in a blue sweat-shirt and shorts, (not unusual on a rare dry day in June), was carrying two almost full black bin bags. Secondly, strapped to the bike crossbar was a sweeping brush.
Being of a curious nature and seeing the man stop and pick up some rubbish, Phil asked what he was about. The man explained that he was 'just having a tidy-up'. The man went on to show Phil the contents of the two bags, one now full of rubbish and the other full of drink cans. All this having been collected on the short stretch of the Staffs & Worcs Canal towpath between Aldersley Junction and Bridge 65 (approximately 800 metres)!
Phil offered to take the bag of cans to add to our re-cycling collection and directed the man to the British Waterway (not yet CART) skips at Autherley Junction. The offer was accepted, with the man continuing on towards the junction and Phil returning to the yard with the cans.
That same afternoon, I was steering Stafford, now with passengers, past Autherley Junction towards Coven when I spotted this same man, dressed as Phil described, picking up more rubbish on the North side of the Shroppie entrance. I called across to him and told him he deserved a medal to which he just smiled. About 90 minutes later, when returning with Stafford towards the yard, there was this same man actually sweeping the paved towpath under Blaydon Road Bridge (66)!
Some things about this occurrence stick in my mind. There were no signs, no yellow jackets, no hard hats, no lifejackets and no supervisors. In fact I cannot even recall if the chap wore boots or trainers!
We have not seen this chap before or since and have no idea if he was affiliated to any organisation or charity. All we know is that he did a very fine job without any obvious reward or recognition. A true volunteer! Many people reading this will think that I am making it up for a good story but please take my word—it is true.