Not so fresh for some this week

Shattered: Broken bottles are dangerous and depressing.
Shattered: Broken bottles are dangerous and depressing.
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IT’S a miracle. It really is.

The fact that my trusty Timberline GT mountain bike has got through the week without succumbing to at least one puncture really is miraculous.

Okay, not such a miracle unless, that is, you’ve caught sight of many of the pavements and kerbsides in certain parts of Sheffield city centre and out towards Student Land these past few days.

In the uncommonly generous late September sunshine you could have mistaken these streets for being paved with gold.

Instead, it was actually fragments of shattered lager and cider bottles that glittered in the sunlight.

Nothing too unusual about that in a major British city.

But there are currently millions of shards catching the rays of our more than welcome Indian Summer.

And their source... that loudest of the migratory autumn species, the student.

It may be Freshers Week for them, but it’s not so fresh for us poor folk who live here all year round.

Okay, the carpet of broken glass sparkling on the tarmac may not be entirely down to them.

But having dodged some of the packs of incoming/returning academics on various pavements and in the middle of certain roads twice on midweek nights, we can say for sure many of these young boozehounds have a very poor grip; they just cannot seem to multi-task keeping hold of a bottle and walking at the same time.

Be thankful they are doing brainy stuff rather than aspiring to play for their national cricket side.

Regardless of the inevitable butter fingers created by one too many WKD, there’s certainly no excuse for the masses of broken glass decorating our roads this week.

Nor for the trail of blue bins unpended on Ecclesall Road on Wednesday night.

At the end of a season that saw the city council’s Carbon Quids scheme thrive on that busy route, our degree-chasing chums decided it would be a good idea - perhaps even funny - to empty out those blue recycling bins on to the pavement, scattering to the four winds those items Sheffield’s more caring residents had taken the trouble to separate and recycle.

I accept that they might be too cool, too busy being ‘fresh’ to save the planet...

But at least leave alone those who can be bothered.

Better still – at the risk of sounding like a nagging schoolteacher here – imagine what your mum and dad would say if you went back home and decided to evict their empty cans and bottles all over the lawn.

No doubt the above words will incite someone at our two universities to write in and grumble that I’m attacking an easy target.

And they’d be right. But maybe they also needn’t bother because, much like us hacks after hours, we understand such organisations cannot be expected to be responsible for what their students do in their down time.

All we’d ask is that these otherwise probably pleasant but excitable young people learn one crucial lesson before they dive into their text books: have some respect for the place you’ll be calling home for the next three years.

That way, it might just respect you.