I use the cycle track which runs behind my home in Scotstoun a lot – more now that I am training for the Etape Caledonia in just three scary weeks. I often praise the track as a linear park for the local community. It saw the regular Kiltwalk charity parade at the weekend with lots of colourful outfits and kilts strapped to people of all shapes, ages and sizes.
On their way to Loch Lomond they may have noticed some litter on the track, although as green spaces go it’s not the worst.
They might also have been baffled along the track – as I was all the way to Luss yesterday – by the small black plastic bags of dog-shit scattered on the verge, stuffed in hedges, left on walls…
At least I assume it’s dog-shit – I haven’t looked in them all, and there may be piles of Smarties or cheese sandwiches in some of them, but from the outside I would guess it’s dog-shit all right. It comes in dog-shit bags and some of them are open at the top or have begun to decay, to reveal the dog-shit within.
I love dogs and plan to get one when I have the time and the space to look after one properly. The thing about dog-shit is this: if you leave it out in the open, without going to the slightly nauseous trouble of picking it up in a bag, it’s just a nuisance and unsightly. Kids and people like me step in it and bring dog-shit into houses; your bike runs over it and it leaves your wheels all dog-shitty, but this dog-shit does eventually disappear, helped along by the slightly-higher-than-average-for-the-UK rainfall here in the west of Scotland.
However, if you put dog-shit in a plastic bag, it lasts a lot longer. On a recent litter pick we find someone’s secret stash of bagged-up dog-shit, hoarded and half-buried behind a tree at Scotstounhill, like the gold in a dog-shit version of Treasure Island.
You can imagine the refrain from the pirate’s parrot: “Pieces of shite, pieces of shite…”
It all begs the question: why do people go to the unpleasant trouble of picking the dog-shit up but then can’t take it home or put it in the local dog-shit bin? And who are the people who leave this ready-wrapped dog-shit? I have never seen it being done, and no dog-owner I know admits to leaving plump parcels of dog-shit around for others to admire.
One of the more bizarre things I have seen in the past year or two is dozens of bags of dog-shit dangling from a tree on the access track to the cycle-track. Was this an effort to create a sort of dog-shit Christmas tree?
Perhaps that’s a clue: it’s all down to just one magical dog-shit Santa, who travels through the sky on a flying toilet seat, pulled by flying cocker spaniels, resplendent in a suit of dog-shit brown-and-white (oh yes, remember white dog-shit?). He leaves his gifts of dog-shit everywhere we like to walk and enjoy. And his working calendar is not stuck to December like his dull old non-dog-shit counterpart, but makes every day his dog-shit Yuletide.
If it isn’t that, then tell me who the hell it is. Answers on a Christmas card please.