The one with a load of old doggerel!
‘Twas not long before Christmas when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse
A cleanup day beckoned, the weather was fine
The van must be picked up by quarter to nine
We got into the river ‘neath wintery rays
(We hadn’t been down here for hundreds of days)
Up first was a duvet, a bike frame, a tyre
An umbrella, a road cone, a roll of green wire
The first of four mattresses hauled to the bank
Was so waterlogged, we agreed that it stank!
All the rubbish recovered was wheeled to the road
A street sweeper’s trolley was part of the load
At lunchtime we finished just short of the bridge
What might we find later? A safe, or a fridge?
But now it was break time, hot coffee and tea
The table made bright by a small Christmas tree
Jana’d brought biscuits and so, too, had Ann
There were mince pies from Sally for each Yuletide fan
Soon all plates were empty, now’t left in each flask
So suitably full we returned to our task
We litter-picked beer cans and bottles of Fanta
The only thing missing we realised was Santa
Then completely unplanned, from the river below
A tiny Saint Nicholas loomed; Ho, ho, ho!
At the end of the cleanup displayed on the ground
Was the pile of old junk from the river we’d found
It got loaded by Stan to be taken away
Then we packed all our kit for a January day
We sprang to the van, returned hi viz and whistle
And away we all flew like the down on a thistle
We heard someone exclaim, as we drove out of sight
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Our thanks to Tony from Merton’s waste management team who arranged collection of all the rubbish and to Stan who loaded it all onto the truck. Thanks to AJ who helped load up the van and to both AJ and Gideon who helped unload it afterwards. Thanks to Simon, one of our Trustees, who helped put together our new gas boiler and test it.
Thanks to all our volunteers: AJ, Alex, Ann, Aubrey, Bill, Charles L, Charles W-S, Chris, Doug, Eliot, Emilia, Erica, Gideon, Hugh, Jacopo, Jamie, Jana, Jane, Jason, Julian, Ken, Leonie, Mark, Mike H, Mike H, Odysseus, Per, Rebecca, Robin, Sally Ann, Sally, Steven, Theo, Thomas, Turki, Veronika, Wally, Wayne and Will
Who removed: 1 roll of green wire, 1 broom, 1 rake, 1 scaffold pole, 1 chain link fence, 1 bicycle wheel, 1 garden chair, 1 street sweeper’s trolley, 1 shop sign, 1 statue of Ganesh, 1 Hindu picture, 1 hub cap, 1 tennis racket, 1 umbrella, 1 tin bowl, 1 shovel, 2 railway insulator pots, 2 road barriers, 2 bicycle frames, 2 shopping trolleys, 3 bicycle tyres, 3 footballs, 3 televisions, 4 mattresses, 4 carpets, 4 pieces of MDF, 7 road cones, 12 car tyres and at least 30 bin bags of assorted rubbish.
Eel tally: 1
Photographs: Sally Ann Symis and Jason Hill