Last year (or maybe it was even the year before – as it is for most people the last couple of years have all blended together), my daughter and I made a pretty sign to put beside the road which simply said ‘Please don’t litter’. This lasted a whole 2 days before it was vandalised by some idiots who changed the ‘don’t’ to ‘do’; they also rather confusingly sprayed ‘Love ya’ on the back of the sign but, whoever they were, I can be certain that the feeling isn’t mutual.

I was so pissed off at this I painted a new sign which read ‘People who litter are sexually inadequate’, but only because ‘People who litter have a fundamental part of their soul missing’ didn’t fit on the board. (I also considered something along the lines of ‘People who litter are as thick as shite’, or my sister’s brilliant suggestion of ‘Men who litter lack length and girth’). Anyway, this sign lasted a bit longer before I got an irate phone call from a woman who told me my sign was ‘offensive’.

So, this woman told me to remove the sign or she would report me to the police. Go ahead, I told her. In the end it turned out she didn’t report me to the police, instead she reported me to our local labour councillor (this delightful guy: https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/labour-racism-row-councillor-accused-12228722), who then reported me to the police. When I contacted our esteemed Labour councillor to ask him why he had done this without contacting me to discuss the issue, he made it clear that he had no interest in the issue of littering and fly tipping in the area and that I was in the wrong for trying to do something about it.

So, then two of Sanquhar’s finest came a-knocking and told me to remove the sign before they had to ‘take further action’. But it’s just an anti-littering sign’ I told them, before asking them what is being done about the littering issue in the area. The cop’s answer? I’m not interested in that, he said, just take the sign down. I lied and told them I would remove the sign just to get rid of them – obviously I had no intention of removing it but when I went out to secure it tighter to the post, someone had already taken it away.

Part of the irony of the whole thing is the fact that a large proportion of the litter I have to pick up comes from the 50-odd year old daughter and daughter’s partner (and now also their lodger) of the woman who reported me to the Father Jack lookalike. I have realised that it is this fact which angers me most – a lot of the litter I have picked up over the last few years doesn’t come from faceless strangers, it comes from my neighbours who inexplicably don’t seem to mind being surrounded by shite and enjoy (very) loudly mocking someone who is trying to do something about it. It is such madness and I will admit now that, together with everything else that has been going on for the last 2 years, the situation made me very ill indeed – along with physical health worries this issue nearly sent me under. And I mean proper under; it has taken me a very long time to feel well again after all that.

Anyway, this season’s anti-littering sign says ‘Using a bin is easy – give it a try’ and so far it has lasted a whole week! I have also changed my dormant instagram and twitter accounts to LoveScotlandHateLitter in a desperate attempt to try and get people to realise that what they are doing is so utterly shitty. Like, why is is it that the more beautiful an area is, the more people want to wreck it? How, for the love of god, can someone drive into a forest and dump a fridge/sofa/TV/toilet there? In their own neighbourhood! How is that any easier than driving for 5 minutes to the council dump in Sanqhuar? Or, say, taking a 6 pack of Scrumpy Jack or Tenants into the woods, drinking them and then throwing the empty cans into the burn. Do these people not understand that the cans are lighter once the contents have been emptied, and therefore easier to carry back home to the bin? Are they so drunk and lazy that they can’t be bothered to do this? It makes me believe that the people who do this truly have part of their brain missing.

I know every area has problems with litter and I know I’ll be one of those people that will have to pick up after idiots for the rest of my life, but I can’t wait until we are living by the beach so I can do beach cleans with fellow litterer-haters and then go to the pub and fantasise about what we would like to do to people who litter. Fingers crossed we can make that happen soon.