Austerity in the UK means public services have had to be cut back. Cuts have been going on for six years, since the consumer debt fueled spending splurge of the last decade and the irresponsible borrowing by some and equally irresponsible lending by financial institutions led to the financial meltdown in 2008. The cuts have hit most areas of spending. One of them is the maintenance of flower beds and public spaces in our local community. As a result, a group of local residents has been formed to raise money for flower beds in Whickham village and to carry out the job of planting, cutting grass and maintaining beds. I was at the organising meeting on Wednesday and offered to clear the verges around St Mary's car park, behind the Whickham Library and the shops.
Little maintenance has been carried out on the verges in recent year. The result is that they are a bit of a mess. Feral trees (mainly ash) have sprouted all over the place. Brambles are spreading. Paths are beginning to disappear under weeds. Today, I started work at the top end of the car park and cleared the patch in the photos above - you can see the before and after shots.
Gateshead Council has a double win from my gardening activities. Not only do I clear the patch, the council does not need to dispose of the resulting waste. I packed it into my land rover and then took it to my allotment.
There I fed it to my goats who enjoyed the feast.