Doodles help clean up

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Dante trying to sleep through the stormy weather

The excitement of Christmas had come and gone. The only thing Dante & DeDe could remember was just how juicy their turkey had been on Christmas Day, but after four days of leftovers DeDe did consider becoming a vegetarian. Thankfully today she found ham and sausage in her bowl, and realised the holidays were over.

None of the doodles had seen each other since Christmas Eve; they’d decided to spend some quality time at home napping on the sofa, with one eye on the kitchen door, just in case there was a little something for them.

When Dante watched the decorations coming down, he decided an early night was in order. Every year it’s the same, he feels flat when the decorations disappear, and the best place to be when you’re sad is bed. As he nodded off he thought he heard a storm brewing, he gets nervous when the wind blows, and knows he probably won’t get a good night’s sleep. The combination of the decorations coming down and the storm made him melancholy.

As the first light peeped through the window Dante knew he hadn’t slept a wink. DeDe hadn’t either, but that had less to do with the storm and more to do with Dante’s snoring. She smiled when he moaned he hadn’t slept a wink because she knew different. Neither of them felt like getting up, but when they heard Mr Exercise Man on the telly downstairs they felt energised and rushed to join in.

Winter settles in post Christmas

After a quick breakfast the doodles were off to catch Billy Train. They could see the winds had been rough by the amount of leaves and branches in their way. As the railway crossing came into view a tree was being lifted off the track. “Gosh” said Dante, “It really was quite a storm”.

Luckily Billy was punctual, and they hardly had time to say hello to Phoebe before jumping aboard and securing their favourite seats. Unusually Dante preferred to be quiet and gazed out the window, while DeDe and Phoebe chatted about how much they’d eaten over Christmas and how unfit they felt.

Dante didn’t say a word throughout the journey. When they got to Camber, Cheryl, the ticket collector wanted to tell him all about her Christmas and how many mince pies she’d had. But he wasn’t in the mood for small talk and carried on straight by her.

DeDe and Phoebe saw how hurt Cheryl was with his behaviour so took extra care to listen to her stories. Even though she told them twice about how much Christmas pudding she’d had, and how she’d pinched her grandson’s icing. In an attempt to finish the conversation DeDe interrupted by asking if she’d missed the beige biscuits she normally ate at work, hoping she’d feel hungry and nip off to find one.

Sadly Cheryl didn’t get the hint and just carried on without drawing breath. It wasn’t until Phoebe said. ‘We really shouldn’t keep you from your work” that Cheryl grimaced and let them go.

A distinctly chilly wind

They could feel a distinct chill on the wind as they climbed the dunes, it certainly had been a cold night. There was not a soul to be seen as they ran down onto the beach, just the seagulls scavenging at the water’s edge.

As DeDe and Phoebe ran to the sea Dante while settled in the dunes. He still wanted to be quiet and preferred to watch his friends play. As he gazed towards the horizon he heard a familiar voice drifting on the wind, it was Harley and Lily-Poo saying, “Hello!” Sensing Dante was not in the mood for a chat they sat down beside him and gazed out to sea, watching DeDe and Phoebe dashing along the beach.

The collection of rubbish washed up on shore

As their eyes followed the doodles back and forth, they noticed how much rubbish there was. Among other things they saw hundreds of plastic water bottles, food wrappers and supermarket carrier bags strewn everywhere.

That wasn’t all, because when Lily-Poo joined them after her dash she said she’d seen a pair of pink high heeled shoes, two coat hangers and a ripped lampshade! It looked like someone was having a decluttering day and had spread everything out before deciding what to throw away. It certainly wasn’t a pretty sight and it needed tidying up. They couldn’t just sit around looking at the mess, they had to get busy.

Not following the foreman

Being a born leader Harley immediately appointed himself “The Foreman” expecting everyone to do exactly as he said. Unfortunately the others aren’t ‘natural followers’ and pride themselves on being liberated independent doodles, and aren’t keen on being bossed about by anyone. They pretended to ‘jump-to-it’ but after collecting a couple of bottles Dante lost interest and ran to the sea for a paddle.

Neither DeDe nor Lily-Poo enjoyed picking up rubbish either and soon slunk off unnoticed. This left Phoebe labouring away under the foreman’s gaze.

It took practice to pick up more than one item at a time, but soon Phoebe found she was able to grab the strap of an old shoe as well as squeezing two plastic bottles in her mouth. She was enjoying herself and felt she was making a difference.

By now DeDe and Lily-Poo had settled in the dunes for a natter. “How could this have happened” said Lily-Poo, “why can’t everyone take their rubbish to the bin so it can be ethically disposed of?” DeDe agreed, saying she’d read quite a bit about the rubbish problem and knew there was an environmental crisis.

Questions needing answers

Back on the beach Harley felt sad when he realised only he and Phoebe were left to do all the work. The amount of rubbish overwhelmed him and he worried they wouldn’t be able to clear everything away. He also thought about the fish and how they must hate bumping into milk cartons and dodging torn plastic shopping bags. Why was so much being thrown away, and why was it ending up in the sea?

His thoughts made him work even faster and it didn’t take long before they were making a difference. There was still a long way to go, but they were starting to see the sand again! By now Phoebe was getting weary and wanted a rest, and luckily she knows a little bit about employment law and that all workers are entitled to a break every now and then.

Exercising her rights Phoebe ran to find Lily-Poo and DeDe in the dunes. She’d been given a slab of Winton’s Liver Cake for Christmas and wanted to share it with them all. She hadn’t even finished unwrapping it when Dante and Harley turned up looking on expectantly. Phoebe carefully divided the cake into five equal pieces and they all tucked in. As they savoured their treat they gazed along the beach at the apocalyptic scene. How did this happen, who would want to spoil their precious spot?

Harley, Lilypoo and phoebe doing a great job at collecting up some rubbish

Shaking their heads with embarrassment,, they saw a group of furless two legs walking towards them with what looked like black plastic flags in their hands. To their surprise the furless two legs started collecting up the rubbish.

Dante winked at Harley as if to say, there is no need for us to clear up anymore, let’s leave it to this lot and go for a dash. With a twitch of his nose Harley took off along the beach, quickly chased by Dante. For the first time since the Christmas decorations had come down, Dante felt happy, and with the wind in their fur the two doodles forgot all about the problems others were causing.

Gazing along the beach DeDe gave out a big sigh, pleased to see help had arrived, knowing that soon their beach would be clean again. The rest of the day was uneventful, they had lunch in the café as usual, and afterwards Dante paddled in the sea. Harley dug holes, Phoebe found more smelly seaweed to roll in, while Lily-Poo and DeDe had another good natter.

The days are still short so it wasn’t long before they set off for home. Walking along the beach towards the train they noticed the rubbish had all but disappeared, except for the mountain of black plastic bags piled high by the café wall. With a bit of luck things were getting back to normal.

Image Credits: Vicki Batt .

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