The following is an excerpt from a Walk Score developed for This is Not a Slog. Text written by Nessah Muthy.

The life and times of Derek Davis
The autobiography of Derek Davis
The last will and testament of Derek Davis
A request….

Let me tell you something…
Let me tell ya what they used to call me…
Old mad man sweeper
Now I don’t mind the mad and I don’t mind the sweeper
But I don’t half hate being old
Wish I was young.
I wish I could go back
To when I had my family
My son…
I’ve got a fair few stories…but nowhere near enough…
But you can’t go back can ya?

Don’t listen to whatever anyone else says about it road sweeping is a skill you know.
More than that, an art…an art is what it is…
Cleaner the streets, cleaner the minds.
Simple as anything
Simple as that.
Gave me a job for life and I’m for that I’m eternally grateful.
Now though…seeing as I’m somewhat incapacitated…
Perhaps…in my absence… you’d have a sweep of the local streets for me please?
A sweep around the Oval in particular?

Have you got my broom?
My high vis jacket
My hat?

My sweepers’ route was always once round the outside of Oval cricket ground.
Twice round in the autumn.
Those trees don’t half shed.
Make sure you stop at the entrance.
I always started at the entrance.
Lord Hutton watching over me from above.

Probably right messy round there.
People always seemed to like to empty their pockets before they entered.
Make sure you have a right good sweep please.

Got into a right barney with the wife here once.
Dead embarrassing.
Went right off on one in front of everyone.
Said she would have liked to get bat down from Lord Hutton and batter me one…
Wanted me home…
I just wanted to keep sweeping though…ya know…

Right on round you go, you’ll see what they call a CCTV sign soon enough.
The broom sees what the CCTV don’t, let me tell ya.
Stop there.
Use the broom to scrub really, really hard please.
Dirty young lads, with dirty young habits…is all I’ll say…
It’s hard work init eh?
Make you sweaty.
Quick wipe of your forehead and you’ll be alright though.

Wish there was CCTV when I needed it.

Make your way up to the school on your right.
Give it a right good going over.
Children are messy things, especially these days.
All the sweets and the plastic wrapping and the chewing gum.
I hate chewing gum.
Spoils a lovely school and a lovely spot.

Take a look at the greenery.
There’s a tree there that’s quite different to all the others.
That’s my holiday tree.
Mine and me son’s.
I promised him one day that we’d go find that tree.
You know…abroad…
Guess I’ve missed me chance now
But I can still keep the streets clean for him…you know…just in case…one day…

Cor, the trees and the bush they don’t half like to shed don’t they eh?
Stop and brush them gently please.
Too many times have I seen someone slip.

Sweep your way on round to the rest of the cricket ground right up to the post box.
Take a breather. Bet you’re exhausted ain’t ya?
I unusually am by now.
I refused to give up though.
I sweep round and round and round.
Got to keep it clean haven’t ya?
Got too.

Suppose you’ve got to make your way back now haven’t you?
Oval in your sights straight ahead is it?
Don’t forget to add a gem to me suitcase of treasure, if you managed to find anything.
Make sure it’s not gonna rot on me though. Everything clean.

I’m very thankful to you
Thank you
Perhaps though…
Perhaps you’ll go round again?
Just once more?
You can bet your life you’ve missed a few spots
You can’t can ya?
You won’t will ya?
No bother…