4. Flowers and litter.
A walk in the park at Descartes on Good Friday.
On most of our travels in France we have seen lots of flowers and not much litter. In our part of the UK it is the reverse.
Where are the plastic bottles and beer cans?
In our little corner of France, public areas are a riot of flowers every summer. Parks, roundabouts, roadsides and village squares are planted with beautiful flowers and they are cared for so that they are a joy to see all summer.
Flowers in the village square in Ligueil last July – no McDonalds cartons here.
The effort that goes into keeping the towns and villages looking beautiful is well appreciated by people like us. In our part of the UK, flowers may be planted but they are left to their own devices and shrivel up through lack of watering in dry weather. The planters and flower beds become dumping grounds for rubbish of all kinds, some unspeakably disgusting (I won’t elaborate), and nobody clears it up.
Flowers in a planter on some railings in Loches.
In the town where I work, the planters and flower beds were robbed of their plants or vandalised year after year. Now they are abandoned and are unattractive receptacles for rubbish amongst a few overgrown shrubs.
The only flowers we have these days are provided as advertising by a local garden centre, in hanging baskets, very high up the lampposts where nobody can get at them. The trouble is you hardly notice them either, without craning your neck.
A splash of colour in Loches.
In our part of France people mostly seem to take their rubbish home. If you see anything more than the odd scrap of paper or discarded bottle it’s quite unusual. The streets are largely clean and roadsides tidy and well looked after.
This is such a contrast to Derbyshire where rubbish is dumped everywhere. You have to get a long way from any civilisation to find yourself not shuffling through food packaging and empty beer cans. The roadsides are awash with litter, even in the countryside, and any areas provided for leisure purposes are often just filthy dumping grounds. Some of it is the kind of stuff that people just drop as they walk along but there are also piles of rubbish that someone has obviously driven miles to dump there.
Rubbish dumped at a Derbyshire “beauty spot”.
I have always found it baffling why anyone should drive miles to dump stuff in a pretty part of the countryside when it must be just as easy to take it to the local tip and dispose of it properly.
The village square in Ligueil. No bags of rubbish here.
A display by the roadside at Descartes.
All over France we have seen that people seem to respect their surroundings so that public areas are made to look attractive and are kept well. In the UK, whilst some effort is made to make ordinary towns look nice, there are too many people who either don’t care or are determined to spoil things.
When it comes to a balance between flowers and litter, we find France much easier on the eye !!