Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Wombles & Co

Cleaning is an ancient, honest and very necessary profession - if not always glamorous.  But it can be, and I speak from experience. 

I remain immensely proud of my six summers serving as a Womble with Coleraine Borough Council.  From 1989 - as a 16-year-old schoolboy - until 1994 - as a postgraduate - I did my share of cleaning up after local residents and chip-paper-throwing Belfast tourists.  

Not every day was memorable for a good reason.  Strapping a chemical pack to my back and mask over my mouth before spraying flies on Macosquin dump was one particular low.  So too was the Friday afternoon spent trying to fish a decaying sheep out of a stream in Garvagh and load it onto a truck without its innards exploding over me and fellow Womble Warriors. 

But, yes, it could be glamorous in its own way.  No one can tell me that poncing about on the West Strand beach in Portrush in shorts at the height of summer (picking up used nappies, I grant you) isn't that far away from being a dream occupation.  And my final assignment as a senior member of the Womble Special Operations Division (Bog Squad) even provided the opportunity to work with girlies. 

But even these glitzy memories can't compete with the experiences of the cleaner I encountered in Loro Parque, Tenerife last week.  And here he is.

Now that is glamorous.  And, if pressed, I might even feel compelled to concede that his cleaning skills would surpass even mine. 

Plus, I suspect I would have made the tank even messier the moment that stingray came towards me with its big poker out.

Anyway, that's the holiday stories done with.

And this will be the final picture.

For now.