Swanning Around


Swanning around is all the rage here at Dawdle Hall as we heed the clarion call to help rid the world of one of mankind’s greatest perils!

Down at the lake our majestic pedalos shaped like the royal birds have been commandeered in a bid to turn the tide of floating rubbish.

According to the patron saint of wildlife Sir David Attenborough the mighty oceans, seas and rivers of the world are being poisoned by waste.

The United Nations too has warned that marine life is facing irreparable damage from the millions of tons of plastic which is entering the food chain.

Stirred into action I, Lord Horatio, have personally taken command of adapting our footpowered flotilla to wage all out war on waterborne waste.

Inspired by Mr Trash Wheel and Professor Trash Wheel, currently cleaning up Baltimore’s inner harbour in America, we are on the crest of a low-tech wave!

Harnessing pure pedalo power I am determined to stop potentially lethal flotsam and jetsam washed into the lake from up river, flowing downstream into the sea.

Carried by global currents the humble plastic bottle can end up in revolving ocean water systems like the enormous Pacific Garbage Patch, between Hawaii and California.

While ecowarriors like Dutchman Boyan Slat  are looking at the big picture and trying to tackle the stuff out at sea our job is to stop the stuff getting there in the first place.

Behind every swan I have trailed a chain of old plastic washing baskets rescued from the laundry and weighed down with bricks so they float just below the surface of the lake.

The idea is to plough headlong into a raft of rubbish while pedalling furiously. The paddles fling the debris out of the back and into the ‘booms of doom’ lying astern.

What could be simpler? The bald answer is a lot! Unfortunately a frenzied bout of ‘swanupmanship’ and the antics of a mutinous ‘sea’ dog scuppered our maiden voyage.

The magnificent sight of ‘seven swans a swimming’ across the lake quickly degenerated into chaos as the unruly crews of relatives and friends turned into pedalo pirates.

Instead of heeding their long suffering admiral, yours truly, and working in harmony they saw each patch of rubbish as plunder to be fought over. Naturally carnage ensued.

Amid the cacophany of clashing hulls and sound of swearing could be heard the excited barking of Whimsy my first mate who had abandoned ship at the first sign of trouble.

Leaping from stricken vessel to stricken vessel he decided us mere mortals needed a lesson in rubbish retrieval by plunging headlong into the surrounding murky morass.

Before long the dying swans were knee deep in slimy logs, plastic bags, bottles, bits of old rope, and the odd tyre. Meanwhile the hopelessly entangled baskets remained empty.

Battle of Swan Lake

As the pedalos started to sink we began to frantically throw the junk overboard. However, Whimsy the Spaniel loves a challenge and is a past master at the game of fetch!

Fortunately ‘Operation Mudlark’ had attracted quite a lakeside crowd and before long the reassuring ‘putt,’ ‘putt’ of Lady Winifred’s steam launch could be heard drawing nigh.

The shipwrecked mariners were quickly pulled aboard, consoled with grog and wrapped in blankets. Whimsy duly appeared on deck soon after and gave everyone a free shower.

Lashed together, the battered remnants of the fleet limped back to the boathouse jetty under tow. Was it our eco-warrior swansong? Not at all! The battle has just begun.