Derek Johnson, at one stage dubbed a green pioneer for his work with natural cleaning products, has been made redundant after his lemon juice inspired rapid response graffiti cleaning services proved too costly for the Isle of Wight Council.
A spokesman for the council reflected on Derek’s years of service:
‘Derek may be described as an eco-cleaning pioneer. When he first started, most cleaning firms utilised cheaper, industrial solvents for the swift removal of various graffiti tags. But they did so at a cost. A negligible cost to the local environment. It was just too much for Derek.
He stood as the lone voice against the establishment. He risked everything he had to save a minor regional locality from minimal to unnoticeable environmental damage, instead choosing the natural power of lemons.
Derek reaped the benefit of his new scheme, even meeting his wife when he was working in a lift at County Hall. He was busy in a lift removing graffiti that said 'Mandy Smith sucks cocks for 50p- IT'S TRUE’ when his future wife got in the same lift as him. It was love at first sight.
United by their mutual love of citric acid, they quickly wasted much of their time and physical strength cleaning up very minor graffiti. They lived a happy and harmonious, if woefully naive and sheltered, life until the council finally decided to cut the minor cleaning services budget and prevent any further shameful inefficiency.’
In many ways, Derek’s is a story of the magic of real life, of triumph over adversity, of cheaper, mass produced industrial solvents over expensive organic lemon juice pressed unsustainably to form uneconomic cleaning products.