In the absence of a social life, a paying job and anything better to do I returned to the River Melvin this week, my scrawny friend and associate by my side, to tidy away more of the things the every day folks leave behind. In a river.

We had a different focus this time, moving away from recycling a half-dozen cans of Tizer to fishing out the larger items that the less evolved among us have flung into the river. We’re dealing with a very particular kind of stupidity here; the dumb kind.

The first find was a PC monitor that looked to have been there since slightly before the letters P and C were invented.

Next up was a fossilised bike so old we were able to extract a DNA sample from the saddle and hatch our very own Bruce Forsyth.

Then there was yer classic shopping trolley, dumped in a ditch without a care for litter cliché. No doubt having scored this point the dumpers went on to relocate a traffic cone to a nearby statue’s head. Such jokers.

We had moved upstream and downclass, the river running through a neighbourhood of towerblocked deprivation that was reflected in the litter; we happened upon a couple of human poos, the odd sanitary towel and, inevitably, a load of syringes. Most of them were in a sharps bin but a stray one fell out of the trolley as we heaved it over a fence. The atmosphere sort of changed at that point.

It’s amazing how quickly a pleasant afternoon in the bushes of your local park can turn into a serious HIV scare. Like that time I cottaged your mum.

Heh heh. Mum jokes; they’ve still got it. Man, I’ve got a sudden hankering for a traffic cone…

Photo credit: The Zero