Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Underground, Overground Wombling Free

"Underground, Overground, Wombling Free,
The Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we.
Making good use of the things that we find,
Things that the everyday folks leave behind.

Wombles are organized, work as a team.
Wombles are tidy and Wombles are clean.
Underground, Overground, wombling free,
The Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we!"

For the uninitiated, Wombles are an institution of the 70s. Fictional book and then television characters, they are little fuzzy bear-like creatures that, as their theme song suggests, collect other people's litter. They are the original recyclers.

Last time we went to 'our' swamp, Emma told me it was messy and next time we should bring a bag and pick up rubbish. So we did exactly that this week. (What she actually meant was "you should bring a bag and you should pick up rubbish".) But it seemed like a good lesson in stewardship of the earth, and Winter is undoubtedly the best time for this, when the bare branches expose any objects that do not belong in the wild. The wombling is also a kind of tradition in my family, so I felt it my duty to pass the habit on to the next generation. We did remove several grocery bagfuls of bottles, beer cans and - strangely - plastic flower pots. Needless to say, we didn't transform this bounty into a treasure for our house, as real wombles would have done, but I still feel the recycling container is a better home for it than the woods.

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