Tattered gloves, high vis jackets and aching backs are part and parcel of community life for many at this time of the year.
From litter picking to hedge cutting, towns and villages right across Co Longford are presently readying themselves for the onset of Tidy Towns 2014.
Hoping to lead that charge are a band of energetic and devoted volunteers that head up the Ballymahon Tidy Towns team.
Last year, the south Longford town scored an impressive 211 points in the small towns category. .
“This year the Ballymahon Tidy Towns team (BTT) have made a conscious effort to develop and enhance the natural assets of the town,” said chairman Gary Molloy.
A large slice of that drive has involved developing a local wildlife on the shores of the River Inny and carrying out a large scale refurbishment of the town’s canoe launch area.
Local businesses have also rowed in behind the organisation’s efforts as have local schools, supports Mr Molloy believes will stand the town in good stead.
“This year BTT in conjunction with Ballymahon Traders Association are holding a competition for the Best Maintained Premises along the Main Street of the town.
“The aim is to add a special extra incentive to residents and business owners alike to enhance the general appearance of the properties along the main thoroughfare.”
Such has been the group’s focus and dedication over the past number of months, vandalism has been kept to a premium.
It’s a trend Mr Molloy and others within BTT desperately want to maintain.
“There have only been a few minor cases of vandalism to flower boxes and bird feeders.
“In saying that, every instance is a setback for the town’s tidiness and development.
“We would ask people to take pride in our town and to respect the effort that is being made by volunteers.”
The group meets twice weekly, on Sunday mornings and on Wednesday evenings. As one would expect, the atmosphere is relaxed, but with a quiet steeliness attached.
“While the participation in the Tidy Towns Competition is a very important aspect of what we do, we really feel that the community spirit that the teamwork behind it generates is invaluable,” Mr Molloy added.
Community spirit it would seem, in Ballymahon at least, couldn’t be in better shape.