Some places celebrate May Bank holiday with parades, or dancing, maypoles and ribbons. Forest Hill and Sydenham Societies decided to join forces to celebrate with.... a group litter clear-up.
Millennium Gardens, a little visited green oasis at the end of Albion Villas Road, off Sydenham Park Road, was the venue. And, true to Bank Holiday tradition, on a grey, overcast day, enlivened with occasional drizzle, a small group of stalwarts turned up armed mainly with eagerness to sort out any mess.
If that all sounds a bit grim, well, it really wasn’t. With a freshly mown grass meadow, a copse of deciduous trees, bluebells, lilac, frothy masses of mayflowers and the remains of a tennis court with benches, we set to hacking through stinging nettles to retrieve the miscellany of rubbish which had been dumped over the perimeter wall. An hour or so later, a now warmed-up people-chain had passed old sofas, defunct computers, bags of domestic and garden refuse and other junk into a clearing near to the exit from where it could be collected.
It’s amazing what people throw away – and where they choose to throw it. Why would anyone dump their junk into a lovely public space like Millennium Gardens? But discarded old chestnut paling was quickly identified by gardeners in the group as recyclable for bean or netting supports. And a couple of wooden pallets, separated by bricks and stuffed with other debris, were reconstructed into a bug hotel.
There were about thirty of us for the picnic lunch, tucking in with a satisfied air after a job well done. Revels it wasn’t, but a junior cricket match on the meadow green and senior boules on the old tennis court rounded off the afternoon.
Maybe next year we could have dancing and ribbons and maypoles?