Wandle cleanup: November 2009: Wandsworth

The one with the inner-tube tourists (and lots more safes and bikes)

A record 70 (count ‘em!) volunteers turned out for our early November cleanup at Trewint Street in Earlsfield: many motivated young people from Richmond College and Burntwood School in particular, and more in total than we’ve seen since our previous-best last month and at Poulter Park in May 2008.

After Erica’s Health and Safety briefing, we warmed up quickly with a fridge from the concrete apron above the bridge…

fridge over railings

… then fanned downstream as far as the Ravensbury Terrace stretch, last visited during September’s World Rivers Day cleanup and Himalayan balsam bash.

downstream cleanup

In the deep pool below the concrete point, the day’s main challenge slowly swam into focus for Chris and Jim at least: more safes (all 5 disappointingly empty) than we’ve ever found in a single cleanup:

safe in river

Some of these stimulated real command-task focus from kids and heavy brigade alike … with tyres, crowbars, grapples, trolleys and monkey-wrenches pressed into service to get such solid lumps of metal and concrete out of the river, over the railings and down to the collection area:

safe up bank

safe behind railings

safe over railings

safe on trolley

Coffee time was enlivened by the discovery of a singing leprechaun… complete with still-working batteries and a suitably liquid rendition of Irish Rover

singing leprechaun

… and satirical speculations about a couple of intrepid river-tourists who floated past on inner tubes (we’re still not sure their umbrella will have saved them from the culvert under the Southside Centre!)

inner tube tourists

Refreshed by laughter, soup, flapjacks and home-made Swiss rolls from Sally and Jo, we returned to the river at the notorious “motorbike pool”, and extracted a succession of sorry-looking wheels and frames, an amazing 7 machines in total:

bike up bank

bike on path

bike on trolley

… once again, more than enough to shock our friends from Wandsworth Council when they turned up with the lorry for us to fill…

rubbish pile

group photo

… leading naturally to drinks at the Leather Bottle and dreams of ambitious cleanups to come!

Thanks to all our volunteers: Allan, Andy B, Andy C, Ann, Barry, Brendan, Carol, Caroline, Catherine, Charlie, Chris, David H, David L, Diana, Doug, Douglas, Ella C, Ella K, Erica, Fatama, Forrest, Gabi, Gideon, Helen, Hope, Jackie, Jacopo, James, Jan, Jane, Jim, Jo H, Jo S, Jo S, Katherine, Keith, Khalid, Laura, Louisa, Luko, Mahelet, Max, Mike, Mireille, Mohammed B, Mohammed D, Neil, Nicholas, Nick, Nico, Nigel, Nisling, Olivia, Omar, Paul, Rigby, Rory, Salam, Sally, Sami, Sara, Sarah, Smitale, Steve, Sue, Theo, Toby, Tom, Tony, and Wayne

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