Watching as the hooded youths pushed their unwanted television off the bridge and into the creek my blood began to boil.
Just five minutes ago I had thrown on my flip flops and grabbed a torch to take Spencer the dog we are pet sitting out to relieve himself before bed time. Walking down towards the beach I could hear the base line of a badly remixed Ibiza anthem blaring out into the still night.
I paused listening in to the muffled conversations, questioning whether or not to continue. Turning off my torch I walked forward, slowly peering through the trees.
A group of eight questionable characters sat in the light of a street lamp, the ground beside them littered with beer cans. Hoods raised, expletives featuring heavily in their discussion I decided to avoid drawing attention to myself, turned off my torch and continued through the park to the opposite side of the bay.
Having been house sitting in the neighbourhood for the past six weeks we have come to know the area and a lot of the locals who frequent the beach rather well.
One of the great benefits of house and dog sitting is that it gets you out on foot exploring the area. Dog owners are usually a friendly bunch and will often engage you in polite conversation while their hounds engage with Spencer in the preferred bottom sniff.
Our experience of life here had not included a late night gathering of hooded beer drinkers, I was immediately inquisitive as to why such individuals would choose to visit the tiny beach near our temporary home.
Putting my torch in my pocket I was invisible within the shadows, and just as I was starting to think perhaps I was too hasty to judge, one by one they stood up.
Leaving their cans on the beach they made their way back to the pick-ups parked on the road. I stopped, the eco warrior within me raged. Surely they weren’t going to leave all those beer cans on the beach.
Had they no respect. By 9am the next morning there would be toddlers clad in waterproof nappies descending on the sand. Were they to build their sand castles amongst this eco nightmare?
Our nomadic existence over the past two years has seen us house sit all over the world.
We’ve been invited into ten different communities so far and each time have been welcomed with open arms by the local inhabitants young and old. Yet it was only when watching the scene unfold in front of me that I realised the depth to which you become submerged in a community when house sitting.
You literally wear the owner’s shoes while they are away, their home and community are yours to enjoy.
As I ran through what I wanted to shout at these delinquent individuals my mind raced. I was alone in the dark with eight men who were potentially drunk. I came to the conclusion that a lecture on morals and decency may leave me vulnerable to attack, verbal or physical and so kept my mouth shut.
What happened next made needles run like hot pokers through my veins. Moving in silent unison they unloaded a large television from the back of one of the trucks and carried it over to the park.
Lifting it between them they balanced it on the edge of the wall and pushed the unwanted television into the creek below. Helpless to stop the mindless eco vandalism I grabbed hold of my heavy metal torch.
If they spotted me loitering in the shadows I wasn’t sure how they would react. By this point Spencer had disappeared onto the beach and knowing I was unable to intervene I resolved that Karma would provide a suitable retort.
As the wheels of their trucks screeched into motion I followed Spencer down to the water, the whole episode replaying in my mind. I was angry.
I felt I had stood by and watched when I should have made a stand. Who were those monsters who dumped their unwanted garbage in a quiet family community? The community that I was invited to be a part of, that has been my home for the past six weeks.
Looking back I know that the decision to keep quiet was the right one. I was outnumbered and unequipped to deal with any repercussions that may have resulted from my eco warrior warblings.
Heading back down to the beach this morning I walked over to the scene of the crime and saw the TV glistening in the sunlight.
Even with the high tide now concealing part of broken plastic shell the thoughtless nature of it’s arrival into the community was evident. As I contemplated why anyone would choose such a public place to dump their aging electronics a City Care van pulled up beside me.
Turns out I’m not the only eco warrior in the neighbourhood.