At a gym class I manage to get to sometimes, we do a routine with bands to the song Remember You're a Womble.
It's a great distraction as you try to convince your muscles to push against the resistance of the band.
As a kid, I loved the Wombles. I had a Wombles pillowcase that was washed so many times the pointy-nosed characters who loved collecting rubbish became hard to make out.
My lovely friend Laurel introduced me to picking up cans while out walking. It was like a treasure hunt without the calories.
After living in two houses down driveways in Whanganui, I was catapulted into vast open spaces when I lived in Feilding's Lethbridge St opposite the main trunk line. Not only was there the footpath, berm and gutter to keep free of rubbish, there was a swathe of grass alongside the railway line to keep an eye on.
I've continued my wombling since I moved to Palmy and make a habit of checking the gutters for rubbish when I put my green rubbish bag out. My street is a cul-de-sac so thankfully there isn't too much rubbish chucked from cars.
On my way to work each day I go down the industrial Mihaere Drive and spot a lot of rubbish just waiting for a Womble to amble along. There's not one residential house down the street so there aren't people looking out their kitchen windows tut-tutting at the litter build-up. Mihaere Drive is home to food distribution warehouses, manufacturing businesses, storage units and an industrial laundry.
On Sunday, I donned a woollen hat that didn't look anything like Madame Cholet's and off I went.
Starting at the city end, I planned to walk the whole street but by the time I got to the new school crossing my arm was sore from carrying the fast-growing bag and my woollen singlet was only just keeping the chill at bay.
So I turned around and headed back on the other side. All up, I spent an hour picking up rubbish.
There were the expected fast-food wrappings, takeaway drink containers, cans and bottles. Perhaps the most concerning were what I quickly named the "white snakes", the plastic wrapping - some still with delivery labels on it. That stuff wraps itself around fences and flaps like an unwanted scarf from your great aunt.
I didn't pick up broken glass, cigarette butts or organic matter. I left the dog biscuit.
Why do people who drink energy drinks squash the cans before throwing them out the window of their vehicle? Is it a way to prove their newfound strength? Why not take the can home, rinse it out and put it in the recycling bin?
The most disgusting item was the cup full of some kind of gone-off milky drink. The most intriguing item was a green plastic tag with a number and Sgt Lock on it.
Driving back, I realised I'd missed quite a bit and stopped the car a couple of times to get the cans.
I don't remember what the Wombles ate when they finished work but I celebrated with cheesecake. It was from Yummy Mummy's but I like to think Madame Cholet made it and that she would be proud of me.
The next day there was new rubbish, but I still felt the satisfaction of a job well done, especially with the white snakes much fewer on the ground.
Remember, remember, remember, remember
Remember, remember, remember (member, member, member).