Beach Clean Up

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

I love Instagram, not only for the pretty pictures, and the Instagram Stories, that I've somehow become utterly addicted to, but also for the things I stumble across.

In this instance I'm referring to discovering a beach clean up not too far from me, hosted by a local company, Adnams.

I popped it in the diary and promptly forgot all about it until the morning of the clean up. It was a nice-ish day so I decided to hop in the car and go.

Sadly I was held up along the way by two separate packs of cyclists riding two, sometimes three, abreast, on narrow country roads with little opportunity to over take. I hate these people with a passion, but that's not what I'm here to talk about today.

Anyway, I was late and had missed the meet up time, and was pissed off about it, but with the sight of the waves, and the smell of the sea air, I spotted a stone that seemed to be grinning at me and I decided not to let it spoil my day. I would spend the day there regardless. I ambled along the beach, picking up litter as I went along, figuring that you don't have to attend a beach clean up to pick up litter.

Half way between the pier, where I'd started out, and the sea wall, I saw the clean up party, they were just about to start. So I nipped over and asked if I could join in. Of course they said yes, all hands on deck and all that. So after a group photo, we set off. Bin bag in hand, with clip board to record everything we picked up in the first 100m of beach. Of course I found very little in that first 100m, only really finding anything much the moment I handed in my clip board, but what the heck, it wasn't a competition.

I should probably mention that the beach was Southwold. I wouldn't have said that it was a litter strewn beach, I've always considered it to be very clean, but when you really start looking you see lots of little bits and pieces. Mostly plastic.

I found string, small bits of rope, the remnants of balloons, a toy truck, a sock, the back end of a rat (I didn't pick that up but left it for the tide), used shot gun cartridges, wet wipes, and the plastic sticks from cotton buds. All little bits that are easy to miss but will not decompose.

It was really enjoyable, and felt very satisfying. I walked along the shore line, also looking at pretty stones, enjoying the feeling of sand beneath my shoes. I found my first piece of sea glass, albeit very small. For the first time ever I saw dead fish on the beach, tiny little things - they looked a lot like whitebait to me. I've never seen fish on the beach before, and another lady commented on it too. I took a rather morbid series of photos, but I'll spare you those.

The weather was perfect, it was cloudy so the temperature was warm but not too hot, and there was a warm breeze. I did get sunburn on the back of my neck, despite having suncream in my bag. It just didn't seem like a burning kind of day.

Between us (25 people in total) we collected 21 bags of rubbish, and on our short walk to the Adnams pub once we'd finished, I couldn't stop looking for litter and wanting to pick it up. We were rewarded with a free pint (just a half for me as I was driving), I sat talking to a lovely family who have been getting involved for a while. The next one is in September to clean up after the busy summer season, and I'm told participants are rewarded with free fish n chips for that one.

Being on a beach, feeling great satisfaction by picking up litter, and then eating good local grub? I'm in. It's already in the diary, in pen.

I wandered back down the beach cooling my feet in the surf. I hadn't eaten since breakfast so stopped off at a cafe for an emergency ham and cheese toastie, and mug of sweet tea. It was most welcome, and not bad for £4.00.

I wandered down the high street, popping in and out of the charity shops (1 book, 1 skirt purchased), before heading back to the beach. On my way I passed a bakery and queued for a while for a sour cherry gelato. It was worth the wait.

A short walk and I was on the beach again. After a stroll and bit of a sit, I reluctantly decided it was time to head home.

I spotted this building near the car park and something alerted me to the fact that it might just serve tea, so, feeling a little parched, I went to investigate. With an Earl Grey I read the first few pages of my recently purchased book, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, and decided it was going to be a good read.

And then it really was time to make my way home. It had been a lovely day - spontaneous and something a bit out of the ordinary.

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  1. What a great day out, and looking after our beautiful beaches in the process. Don't get me started on cyclists, why on earth do they have to ride two or three abreast? Just no thought for anyone else on the roads, but they're the first to complain about motorists. I read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves a couple of years ago and I really enjoyed it. I did find it sad though and tears were shed, especially about the true events mentioned in the book. I do love beachside cafes and your lunch looked delicious, the ice cream too.

    1. It was more satisfying than I thought it would be, my thighs did ache the next day after all of that bending down and standing up again!
      My husband hates the cyclists more than I do, they refuse to pull over to let him pass when he is in his tractor, and they try to wave him passed when he can't possibly overtake, they don't seem to realise that in a tractor he doesn't have the power to put his foot down and overtake as he can only go a similar speed. He gets so frustrated, he's working, and they are out on a jolly, wasting his time. It's just selfish.
      I'm really enjoying the book so far, I have cried already, I doubt it'll be the last time.
      I can't wait to get back to the beach (and the ice cream!)

  2. Sounds like a great day. It's always nice to contribute something to making the world a better place, and it's a lovely bonus when it turns out to be something fun & relaxing.

    1. It was a really lovely day, everyone was lovely, and so I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would. I'm going to try a rope a few friends or family members into coming next time.

  3. I love that you did this! HOw amazing of you ! <3 I am so glad I found your blog because this post just made my whole day :)
    XO Ellen from Ask Away

  4. Beach clean ups are such a great idea! I'm often appalled at the rubbish which can be found on a beach. Even a little bit is too much! We were passing a rather secluded beach in Pembrokeshire while out walking, admiring its tranquility, when Jos pointed out the mountain of rubbish piled up near the lifebelt! Time to re-educate people, I think ... xxx

    1. I just don't understand how people can litter, I can not bring myself to do it. If I can't find a bin for litter, it comes home with me, it's that simple.

  5. This looks brilliant! I am sorely tempted to join in in September if I could as I fancy spending some time on the beach but doing something useful. My husband loved Southwold so maybe I could persuade him! Well done for your hardwork!

    1. Yes! Come along in September, it would be lovely to have some company, and there is the added bonus of free fish n chips :)


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