Boxes in bins (a post without pictures)
I more often go down the road. Down the road leads to Tesco and the library and the Post Office and the doctor and the bus stop for work.
Up the road leads to the stop for the one bus an hour for needles and haircuts. And occasional squirrel-sightings.
Up the road, the pavements are lined with wheelie-bins. (And, no: I didn't take very kindly to the letter from the Council to everyone on the street saying there have been complaints about the fact that the bins are left out on the pavements, and threatening me with a prosecution for fly-tipping. Partly because I don't leave my bin out on the pavement when it's full, and partly because the fact that other people do is a very minor inconvenience indeed in comparison with the fact that they also park their cars right up on the pavements.)
Anyway, the wheelie-bins were so full of rubbish that their lids wouldn't close. This is because the sort of person who ignores the regulations about not storing their bin on the pavement laughs in the face of threats that their rubbish won't be collected if their bin is over-filled. Rules are, apparently, for other people. People who, presumably, are so insignificant that they haven't been granted a Special Dispensation For Important People With Busy Lives.
So I could see what was in the bins without needing to rummage through them. Not that I ever do rummage through other people's bins, you understand. And not only because I couldn't bend that far. No. What I meant was, I had no choice but to see the contents of the bins.
Contents which consisted almost entirely - from what I could gather - of Christmas present wrappings. Brightly-coloured cardboard boxes containing plastic trays in which toy parts had nestled.
Now, you'd think that the parents of children young enough to welcome gifts from Fisher Price would probably quite like the world not to have burned to a cinder by the time said children had reached adulthood.
To which end, the amount of effort required to break said brightly-coloured cardboard boxes down flat and put them into the blue wheelie bin so that they would be taken for recycling might not seem impossibly onerous.
I mean, I can understand why people weren't prepared to drag heavy bags of stuff for recycling to a public collection bin three streets away, but failing to recycle when the council has provided you with your very own wheelie-bin for precisely that purpose just seems to me to be downright perverse.
I hate my new blue wheelie-bin. Separating out my rubbish is difficult and painful and uses spoons I would very much rather be saving for something more enjoyable. But the visible proof of the great quantities of stuff which would otherwise have been heading straight to landfill (without passing Go and without collecting £200) is sufficiently sobering to make me keep on doing it. And, if I can do it, then I'm going to take a lot of convincing that my non-disabled neighbours' excuses for not doing it are persuasive.
Look, I'm no environmental ambassador. I have a great aversion to being preached at. Particularly by that dreadful harpy who keeps turning up on television berating families for playing computer games when they could be huddling together in one room round a guttering candle with a single marshmallow poised, in a triumph of hope over experience, on the end of a toasting fork.
It's not a barrel of laughs being in constant pain and being stuck at home almost all the time, and I'll be damned if I'm going to deny myself the things which make it tolerable, particularly when my carbon footprint is titchy compared to that of anyone who eats meat, or runs a car, or has children, or goes on holiday.
But I'm not completely irresponsible. I think about how I dispose of things. I have never understood how people can just toss things in the bin when they could be of use to someone else. I've seen people throw clothes in the bin. I've even - horror of horrors - seen someone burn books on a bonfire. What happened to caring about the consequences of one's actions? Where did that sense of individual responsibility go?
Just exactly how smug and self-important do you need to be to not only refuse to use your recycling bin, but to leave the things which should have gone into that bin perched right on the tippy top of your this-is-all-going-to-landfill bin in full view of anyone who walks past?
Oh dear. I appear to be turning into my parents.