This green and unpleasant land

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HOT weather is back – and so is our sense of abandon, it seems.

We’re not talking about all the pale white youths on Fargate.

You know, the ones who feel the need to show their pit bull and anyone else who wants to be put off their lunch just how much of their state handout they have traded for tattoo ink.

No, it’s those seemingly less intrusive people who celebrate the north’s rare glimpses of summer by heading for our precious green public spaces.

No sooner has the temperature reached double figures and they arm themselves with bottles of cider, wine, cans of lager.

They are laoded down with as much as they can carry.

And then they head for the likes of Sheffield’s Endcliffe Park and Devonshire Green.

Hey, nothing wrong with that. The sight of our parks being used by smiling people for once not having to clad themselves in coats and wellies when T-shirts should be out of the wardrobe is a welcome one. The waft of disposable barbecues as yours truly cycled along Rustlings Road last night inspired drooling.

What brought tears to the eyes – almost – was the carnage the following morning. Not so much S11 where the kids seem to know where the bins are, but Devonshire Green.

Arguably among the most treasured of our park spaces, as it is in the otherwise pavemented city centre, by Wednesday morning it resembled the aftermath of a major festival.

Bottles and cans caught the early sunshine as pigeons tossed tatters of meat snatched from abandoned kebabs. Carrier bags ballooned in the breeze while empty Carlsberg boxes fidgeted and rolled like urban tumbleweed.

Don’t get me wrong, Devonshire Green was created for city centre workers and those brave enough to have bought flats there. It was ergonomically designed so that people might sit in the sun, socialise, drink and chat.

But presumably the designers also incorporated many litter bins into their design so that those very same grass-dwellers might clean up after themselves.

Come Wednesday morning some had at least gone part of the way towards making the space tidy again by placing their detritus near, even beside, bins. Not in them, of course.

Way too challenging. And don’t even suggest recycling at one of the recepticles at the adjacent skate park.

Thursday morning – day two of the (say it quietly) ‘heatwave’ – it was as if people had stored up bags of empties simply to deposit on the green. By 8am, two council workers had been hard at it removing this junk – including a duvet – as the bins remained noticeably devoid of contents.

A wise colleague rightly made the point that surely great effort goes into carrying the booze there in the first place when the cans and bottles are full and therefore heavier, so why not take them away.

At the risk of sounding like some kind of sun grinch, jealous of all these al fresco refreshments being partaken, we just reckon it’s a bit daft dumping on your own doorstep. Not least because those pigeons are going to get awfully fat on all those doner cast-offs.