One day, John gathered up all the bins near where we live.

The local authority knew about this.

They’d given John the OK.


There had been a bit of discussion around what our neighbour John wanted to do with the bins.

In our local community.

I missed it.

Because I wasn’t attentive enough.

But if I had have been paying attention.

I’d have said yes; fine.

Go for it.


John cleaned all the bins.

Then painted them.

There were about 20.

Then he planted really lovely plants and flowers in them.

And popped them back out.


Now, this story isn’t necessarily about what you might think of this particular act.

It’s just about the act.

The selflessness of it.

And the community spirit.

Of course, we could look at the dark side.

More litter.

Less opportunity for me to drop my bags of dog poo off as I walk Colin and Frank.

Alternatively, there could be organised litter picks around St. Peter’s Basin to clear up after the lazy and the idiotic.

And, with zero effort or inconvenience whatsoever, I can take my bags of poo home.

And as both of those things happen – I see no downside.

Common Purpose.

In 2003 I went on a course put together by Common Purpose.

I met some great people.

It was a course that, fundamentally, encouraged people to:

Act beyond your apparent authority.

I always remember that line.

It’s what John did.

And what most people don’t do.

And they should.

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