AS I was enjoying a walk the other day my heart sank.
Alongside this path was a pile of rubbish.
Boxes, cans, old disposable barbecue containers...
And on top of all this were two of those collapsible garden chairs.
They were no ordinary chairs, though.
These had been marketed to cash in on some fuss surrounding an England game, I presume.
The reason I reached this conclusion was that each chair was emblazoned with a flag of St George.
You can see the picture in the marketing man’s mind now: a garden full of lager-swigging football fans loudly shouting the odds about the game they’d just watched.
But now the chairs were as disposable as the barbecue tin.
And, to me, they summed up England today.
We are being overwhelmed by people who just don’t care.
This was a pretty spot.
A nice place for a picnic or impromptu barbecue.
But now it was a tip.
And it is not just me who thinks this way.
Look at the photograph at the top of this page.
It was sent in by reader Elizabeth Hughes.
She told me: “We found this pile of broken glass, drinks cans, a gas canister and general detritus in the middle of a path in Lady Canning’s plantation at Ringinglow.”
Elizabeth didn’t need to add any further comment.
For it is clear that she wasn’t praising the aesthetic merits of the arrangement of the debris.
She was sufficiently shocked that someone could go to the trouble of seeking out a beauty spot only to ruin it with rubbish.
Sadly, this is the result we have to endure in our increasingly disposable, throw-away world.
Everything comes in a packet or container which has a very short life.
No sooner have you opened it than you are throwing it away.
And, unfortunately, too many people don’t care where they throw them and they end up littering the floor at our feet.
I am tempted to question whether they would treat their own homes like that but I suspect that they do.
Is there an answer?
Put a cost on the containers. That way people would value them and do something about their disposal.
I have said before that when I was growing up you hardly ever found old pop or beer bottles in the gutter or hedgerow.
That’s because you paid a deposit when you bought your drink and it was given back to you when you returned the bottle.
If you did happen to come across a discarded bottle, you were laughing. It meant you could cash it in and buy a Jubbly on the way home.
I am sure that if the Government knuckled down to it and made retailers follow a similar pattern today, we would instantly see a drastic drop in the junk tossed aside by the slovenly among us.
And if they insisted on still throwing them away, there would no doubt be an army of volunteers who would quickly pounce on the empties as a way of boosting their pocket money.