Big Society, Odd ol’ me and the Lash

Before Oz Clarke and James May Drank Britain, The Ale Trail was a pleasantly understated affair enjoyed by a small amount of people with a spirit for adventure. Its appearance on TV has made it so popular that the train home from work now seems odd if there isn’t a group of beery breathed middle-aged men, razor-sharp creases ironed into their jeans, shirts awkwardly not tucked in, talking much louder than they would ever imagine they are. Usually harmless but leery and intimidating to the regular commuter they trundle their way to the next pub on the route.

OOz and Jamesne of the pubs on the route is in the village where I live. Weekends see a steady flow of these groups to and from the train station throughout the day. This is OK and I’m sure it’s boosted local businesses but with it comes the usual problems. My favourite being the – Oh no the train’s due we’re going to have to leave now groups – rushing up the hill back to the train station, pint in hand.

What do you think happens to the glass when they finish their pint?

The first time I noticed that the streets were sprouting pint glasses I walked past tutting and shaking my head, thinking, “Don’t they realise it’s litter?”.  I must admit I walked on for a 10 yards before stopping and thinking further:

beer glasses

beer glasses

  • Is it my responsibility? After all I didn’t leave it there.
  • If I leave that glass there am I just as bad?
  • What if it gets knocked over and smashed? Someone could get hurt.
  • My kids play on these streets – they could get hurt.
  • The place will end up looking scruffy.
  • What will people think when they get off the train and this is the first thing they see?

I went back and hid the glasses in a bush to be picked up on my way back home. I have now done this on several occasions and built up a collection of beer glasses which sit gleaming in my kitchen cupboard where they will remain until they’re claimed by the appropriate publican (well, erm… unless I have a barbecue) 🙂

I’m not posting this story to big myself up but hopefully to demonstrate that maybe The Big Society isn’t all about huge social projects like running a school or powering your town with a community run wind farm. It can be simple small acts too.



  1. Chris said

    Sweet, honest and worth thinking about.

  2. […] Big Society, Odd ‘ol me and the Lash by Steven Tuck explores an idea about Big Society. It reminds me of a lady I met who regards it as a personal duty to keep the country roads around her free from litter. She keeps old carrier bags in her car and stops to dash out and remove any rubbish en route to the shops or railway station. I doubt most of it would get picked up otherwise. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Day 3: The Big Society..and all I got was this lousy eraser.Big Bear PaddleFest – july 2010 […]

  3. How true!

    Because Big Society is really just doing the things we have always done, like looking after our community spaces, or helping our neighbour or supporting the aims of a national cause or campaign.

    OK, not all of do all those so perhaps Big Society is getting those who do to encourage those who don’t to do more.

    Just think, if the whole of your village collected the pint pots you’d have an awesome BBQ …. have I missed the last train to Marsden?

  4. Dave said

    ‘I must admit I walked on for a 10 yards before stopping and thinking further:’

    And therein lies the tipping point into action …

    Nice piece!

  5. Nice piece – and BTW my kids always pick up aluminum cans to recycle wherever we are.

  6. […] We’re asking the question ‘Who owns my neighbourhood?’ to get people thinking about what personal responsibility we are each willing to take for the place where we live, and how we might be able to help each other to look after it. There are lots of individuals who contribute to looking after their neighbourhoods. Our very own Steve Tuck inspired us to think about this in a different way by blogging about small acts of personal responsibility and how they can contribute to The Big Society: Big Society, Odd ol’ me and the Lash […]

  7. […] With deductive powers of Sherlock Holmes proportions, I challenged him. “Then how do you explain the simplistic brilliance of your Pint Glass thingy blog post you did?“ […]

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