06 July 2008

Hooked on helping

I see that Bruce and Sheila of Sanity are once again giving generously of their time and energies, this time at the Saul Festival. They do an awful lot for others during the year so well done both - I hope that in the future, with fewer commitments, we can also give a bit back to the cause. Prior to the dogs, we did attend a national canal clean-up event on the Walsall canal which was an absolute blast! On arrival, we were issued our equipment, which caused me some immediate consternation. You see, I personally would never give anything as potentially dangerous as a grappling hook to A, who throws like a girl and could wreak some serious damage with a sharp pointy thing on a rope. Thus I wrestled it from him, placating him with a keb instead, and off we went. We soon realised that the most fun, and the richest pickings, were to be had at bridgeholes so we strategically separated ourselves from the main group to go and have a forage in these more fertile areas.

Well, you can’t believe the amount of crud we hauled out....well, you could actually. Just think of anything and everything that could be chucked in and you’ll have an idea of our booty – traffic lights, safety fencing, motorbikes, road signs, wheels, steering racks but sadly, no safes and no suitcases of used fivers. For about three hours we were ably assisted by three young lads who pitched up on their bikes. Shamefully, I thought that they were just going to start lobbing everything back in but they came up and asked us politely if they could help. They actually thought it was disgusting – their word, not mine - that people threw stuff into the cut as they liked to fish in it. They helped us pull in the grappling hook and you should have seen their faces light up when we brought in something like a lorry tyre. They only left us when they realised that they were very late for their tea, compounded by the fact that their mums were apparently going to kill them because they were so filthy. I told them to tell their mums that they had been brilliant – and so they had. A little further up, we met another group of kids who were also trying to pitch in. One lad was doing his best with just a couple of bungee clips, bless him. He still managed to haul in a load of carpet, a triumphant smile on his face as if he’d just landed a prize fish. At the end of the day I couldn’t help thinking how much better off we’d all be if we could somehow harness the energy and enthusiasm of kids like these, kids who genuinely wanted to help but who I sensed were usually denied the opportunity. They thrived on interaction and involvement – who would have thought that a grappling hook could prove so inspirational?


Lesley and Joe K said...

I totally agree, kids are PART of our society, not an alien race. To be parochial, perhaps all the canal restoration societies could have a youth section. The societies need to actively encourage youths to take part in local work parties - mixing with all age groups - what a difference that could make!
NB Caxton

Dogsontour by Greygal said...

Hi guys

Couldn't agree more. We saw some school parties up at Ellesmere Port and they were having a great time and behaving impeccably! What if they'd been able to get their hands dirty as well? Mind you, the Health and Safety lobby might have something to say about it!

All the best