Real Men Sow

Littering – Grrrr (Slightly Off Topic)

I’m a very placid bloke, but if there is one thing that really gets my goat its littering and flytipping.

Okay, that’s two things. Still, they make me cross.

The reason I bring this up is a small one, but nonetheless something that has really bothered me. An empty cigarette box has appeared on my plot this week. To most, this is an insignificant occurrence, but the sight of the discarded packet, floating around the little piece of the world that I try to keep as neat and tidy as possible, has irked me.

Someone, somewhere, brazenly tossed the packet into the environment with no care to where it might end up, or the blemish and affect it would have on the surroundings. This attitude is unacceptable, but most of all, one that confuses me. There’s no justification or logical reason for littering. It’s entirely inexcusable.

Moreover, they weren’t my pack of fags, but now I’ve got to dispose of the litter. That’s selfish.

I followed a bloke in my car this week too, merrily chucking unwanted paper out of his window for about a mile. It takes a fair amount to get a swear word out of me, but my car was blue. I simply cannot understand the thought processes behind this sort of thing.

Not Going to Rant. Funny Littering Stories Involving my Dad.
Anyway, I’m not going to rant. We’re smiley, happy folk around here, but while I’m on the subject, I will share a couple of my favourite stories about my dad, which strangely enough involve flytipping and littering.

I grew up down a little unmade lane which was great for us kids to roam as we wished, but unfortunately, it was equally as good for a covert dumping. One winter’s evening, a guy in a van decided just that, and relieved himself of a washing machine. Unbeknown to said flytipper, my dad was watching.

He jumped in his car and followed the fella home, before getting on the phone to my granddad (a tough old bugger if there ever was one), popping the washing machine into granddad’s box trailer and unceremoniously dumping it back into the flytipper’s front garden.

Never Judge a Book By Its Cover
Dad also had a bee in his bonnet about littering, and if someone threw their rubbish on the floor, he’d politely stop them and inform them that they’d dropped something. A couple of years before I left home, a big black van was parked up at the end of the lane. Me and dad were in the front garden, when sweet wrappers started coming out of the van windows, piece by piece.

Before I knew it, dad went marching down the road and banged on the window. Suddenly, a loud, aggressive ‘Oi, what’s going on’ came from the other side of the van, and the biggest, scariest looking bloke I’ve ever seen came bounding out. It was like something from a cartoon, as the bloke blocked out the sun around dad and leant over him.

‘Well?’ he said thunderously.
I could see dad cowering. I really hoped I wouldn’t have to go and help him. I didn’t fancy a pasting. ‘Erm. There is litter being thrown out of your van.’
The man’s face became even more angry and contorted, and suddenly he turned back towards his vehicle.
‘You two! Get out of here now and pick this rubbish up!’ He turned back to my dad, and apologised profusely for his daughters, informing dad that he’d not seem them throwing the litter on to the floor.

I have never seen a man so relieved in all of my life.

Tagged ,

Sign up to receive a RMS weekly bite size summary, featuring all posts from the previous seven days, hints and tips and other interesting snippets from the world of veg growing.


  1. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening!March 26, 2012 at 11:54 amReply

    Nice stories Jono, and I share your feelings about the trash.

    Have you considered the cigarette box was dropped by the badgers who’ve been passing through? I’ve heard they’re tough customers. ;-)

    • Jono

      JonoMarch 26, 2012 at 8:39 pmReplyAuthor

      Hehe, maybe that’s where the whiskey bottle came from too…

  2. Claire BensonMarch 27, 2012 at 9:15 amReply

    One garden I volunteered in we found dozens of those little tiny miniature Jack Daniels bottles. We were intending to turn them into some garden art.

    At the Bramford Community Garden in Wandsworth that I support and mentor one of the major battles is that we have to litter pick every week before we start gardening. It’s besides a railway track and located in a public park so we just suck it up and pick the litter. We feel we would be wasting our effort if we get angry and accept that its a public place. In areas where litter particularly linger we look at beautifying those areas with pretty plants in the hope that they will drop the cigarette butts somewhere else. Its rose tinted hope – I know!

    On a personal note I get very upset when I see people dropping litter. There’s just no excuse. I don’t understand why people can think its OK.

    I loved the stories of your Dad and litter. Really made me chuckle. He sounds like a character and very brave in the quest for Keep Britain Tidy.

  3. Jono

    JonoMarch 27, 2012 at 7:46 pmReplyAuthor

    Hi Claire, thanks for your comment.

    Like the idea of the miniature bottles. Some college kids did a project with the parks team at the Council I work to make a sculpture out of junk cleared from the park. He was called Trolley Man, and stood about 8ft high. Great to see.

    I admire your work and optimism at the Community Garden. It must be soul destroying at times.

  4. saraMarch 31, 2012 at 4:06 pmReply

    Hi..just read this..i love your dad..what a hero..
    Litter is my bug bear…i have just spent 2 hours doing our front garden..finding sweet wrappers,donut bags and various other carp…picked it all up and disposed of it properly..what annoys me is that these were dropped by the neighbours on the way to and from the bloody car….really i should bag it and give it to them..but then the neighbours are all huge,scary and would probably chew me up and spit me out…

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

Buy My Book on Amazon!


Sign Here for Updates!

Sign up to receive a regular RMS bite size summary, featuring all recent posts, hints and tips and other interesting snippets from the world of veg growing.

Allotment Cakes for the Weekend

  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #15 – Blackberry and Apple Flapjack
  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #14 – Courgette, Lime and Coconut Cake
  • Allotment Cakes for the Weekend #13 – Jamie Oliver’s Squash Muffins
  • An Allotment Cake for the Weekend #12 – Lemon Curd & Blueberry Loaf Cake
  • An Allotment Cake For the Weekend #11 – Apple and Cinnamon Flapjacks
  • An Allotment Cake For the Weekend #10 – Fresh Ginger and Apple Cake
  • Good Food Magazine Marrow and Pecan Cake
  • A Rhubarbey Roundup, and Whatever Happened to Allotment Cakes for the Weekend?

Saving £500 a year!

During 2011, I kept a diary of how much money I save from growing my own fruit and vegetables. After totalling all my outgoings, I saved approximately £500 over the year. I made a spreadsheet to calculate these savings - it’s nothing too complicated, as I’m no Excel guru, but hopefully someone else will find it as useful (and strangely fun) as me. For more info, visit my Money Saving Experiment page by clicking here.


As Featured In…