When we were in Buxton recently a small incident occured which keeps coming back to me.
I was standing near the centre of town with the dogs when a lad of about 18 who was parked in the road alongside me wound down his car window, crushed a Coke tin in his hand and calmly dropped it on the pavement in front of me where it made a loud rattle.
Not wishing to get into serious bother I didn't follow my first instinct and pick the coke tin up, open his door and chuck it back into his car. I didn't even calmly remind him of the general benefits of us all taking our litter home. I just stood there fuming.
My problem is this: Have I inevitably turned into a grumpy old bloke or should we all be a little bit more pro-active in defending a few fundamentals of civilised society?
It connects with another incident which has lodged in my brain for the last 40 odd years. When I was the same age as Coke Tin Colin I can clearly remember sitting on a grassy ledge in the sunshine about 100 feet from the summit of Ben Nevis playing the Rolling Stones on a Philips Cassette player at high volume. An old wrinkly (ie over 50 years old) in shorts came up to me and asked me firmly to turn it off as he hadn't gone all the way up the highest mountain in Britain to listen to "Get off of my Cloud". I politely complied but probably made some glib teenage riposte under my breathe.
Now the tables have turned and I'm the old wrinkly I'd be the first to remonstrate with anyone playing a radio up Scafell Pike and would look upon them as the height (geddit?) of crassness and stupidity.
I did wonder if living in the countryside of Norfolk for the last few years has put me out of touch with what is and isn't acceptable behaviour in towns and cities in the 21st Century but this morning I came across this pile of asbestos piping which some bastard in a van had calmly dumped in the hedgerow like Colin and his coke tin.