Now, I know I do have a habit of being quite unkind about my adopted town on here and at Twitter.
I have often renamed it Stepford the Second as it seems all the women who live here own VW Golfs. Including my lovely Sisters in Law actually. I have also on occasion referred to it as Made-in-Hell, or its occupants Mad-As-Hell. Which is quite mean.
But one thing I've noticed, as I've been more aware of the pavements due to the rain and windy weather we have had more recently.
The town is clean. Really clean.
When I lived in Kent, it wasn't unusual on a windy, or even mildly breezy, day, you could be assaulted by an avalanche of wind propelled crisp packets, chocolate wrappers, and carrier bags. In the icy and snowy seasons, it wasn't just the patches of ice on the pavement you had to be careful of, but the same rubbish chucked with abandon and slippery as hell when stepped on.
But not so here. And its not the street cleaners doing all the work.
On quite a few of our streets, the residents take it in turns to go out, with the kids or the dog, and with rubbish picker and bin bags in hand, they get rid of anything that makes the road look untidy. They then bag these up by the bins, and the binmen take it away. On one street, they even sweep the leaves that fall from the trees on their tree lined street, so they dont get all wet and soggy and slippery too.
And what happens?
Less litter. Rather than the local shop being a hive of fag packets and drinks cans, there's nothing, not so much as a sweet wrapper. The alleyways, which in Gillingham were extensions of the local tip and never empty of beds, and sofas and other tat, well, no, they are just walkways to get to the next part of town. They don't smell like a loo either.
Its just nice to take a look at how a town can look when everyone pitches in and takes an hour of their time once a month when its their turn. House prices are already dropping due to the recession- it makes sense to do everything to help them reach a little higher, and a clean and tidy street where the first view you have from the kerb is how many items of rubbish you have to wade through to step onto the pavements.
I love it.
And yes, I do like Maidenhead really!