Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Dangers by the seaside

Thoughtless visitors spoil it for all

The Shields Gazette this evening carried a story about the damage being caused to the Leas in South Shields by users of disposable barbecues. The National Trust, owners of the cliff top open spaces, and the fire brigade have been pointing out that these barbecues can so easily cause a grassland fire, even when this does not happen, the underside of the throwaway "barby" scorches the grass, thus damaging the habitats of some of the wildlife on the Leas, additionally, some thoughtless people are not disposing of their waste in a responsible manner, leaving spoils behind which can be dangerous for birds, mice, voles, etc.

We need visitors to the town, and we need their spending power to help our local economy too, but we also need them to behave responsibly.

As a further illustration of the thoughtless attitude of some of our seaside users, Curly and his family had a real scare this afternoon. I had taken Junior and Missy Curly down to the sea front to watch today's "Tommy's Party" and during our time down there the children decided that they would like to go onto the beach. As we climbed over the sand dunes and down the other side towards the sea, Junior fell into a hole on the downward side of the dunes carefully left there by a thoughtless sand digger. The hole could have been no larger than eighteen inches in diameter but was about three and a half feet deep. Needless to say, Junior got into a panic as the sides of the hole in the sand collapsed around him, trapping him up to to the chest! My first efforts to extract him were fruitless, and I could have got into a panic too, but I persuaded him to lie back and almost broke his arms as I heaved him out, I pulled so hard (adrenalin rush) that his feet came right out of his shoes. Once the tears were dried up, I then had to start digging to exhume his shoes - I knew Mrs. Curly would ban visits to the beach after this episode!

I was so glad that it wasn't the younger, and much smaller, Missy Curly who had fell in, if it had been, I'm sure she would not have survived.

The whole near disaster was so unnecessary! If the person who had enjoyed digging the hole had thought to fill it in before departing!


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