I hate the summer beach
They won’t let you wear trousers
You have to make the most of the weather
And so your jeans don’t get wet when you go paddling.
Then they stare at me
Because I don’t look like them
There’s nowhere to hide things
In the little bag of navy lycra that’s all you can wear.
If I want to go in the sea
I have to wear big orange armbands
As if I didn’t have enough funny lumps and bumps
They give you extra ones.
I like ice creams
But I let a dog lick my ice cream once
And they all laughed at me
Now if I get ice cream they tell me over and over I mustn’t let the dog have any.
Now it’s the end of summer though
The noisy children have all gone to school
That’s where they study writing and numbers
I don’t have to do that. Not unless I want to.
I don’t want to study today.
I want to go litter-picking
With my gloves and my big black bag
You mustn’t pick up anything you’re not sure about.
There’s no-one here today
Just me in my long trousers
Lolly-pop sticks and bits of plastic and funny stones with tar on
And Ruthie watching me from the path.
When my bag is full I give it to Ruthie
She says don’t I want to stop now
But I don’t want to stop until I’ve filled all the bags
And picked up all the litter all along the beach as far as the end.
Ruthie says it’s making her tired just watching me
She says we better have a break after this bag
So I fill it right up
Until I can’t put one single more piece of litter in.
Ruthie puts the bags in the skip
She always skips to the skip
She laughs when she skips to the skip
Sometimes I laugh too.
We have to go to the shop for hard ice cream
The ice-cream van has gone now, I don’t know where
The man in the shop says he’s seen me working hard
I don’t say anything
The man says do I like dogs
Then I say yes
Ruthie tells him I like to feed ice cream to the dog
So the man gives me an extra pot of hard ice cream
For the dog.