Saturday, 13 February 2010

Postcards from Norfolk?

So what is the difference between a rook, a jackdaw, a raven and a crow? Answers on a postcard please. Or should I say email.
Whatever happened to postcards? We don't even send them from our holidays now. Not that I ever did. I could never understand why anyone would want to spend time on a long awaited break, carefully choosing and writing postcards to people who, I can phone or visit, should I wish to contact them, which I probably don't - hence the holiday. I certainly don't want to let them know where I am!

Anyway, not really that important - the avian question, that is. Whatever the species of our feathered friends, one of the little buggers keeps building a nest in my chimney. And they do it so quickly. If Barratt could work that fast, the housing crisis in the UK would be over in days. The Big Issue would go out of business. This weather is far too warm to light a fire every day and I cannot even contemplate going up a ladder to the roof, (oooh reminds me of the old Supremes song).
Talking of the Supremes, I was thinking the other day of when I was a teenager. (I know, amazing how far back we can remember isn't it?)
What sparked it all off, was listening to the radio and the concerns bands have about internet downloads of their music.
How things have changed.
We used to go off to Coventry Theatre on a Saturday afternoon and saw such amazing groups (as they were called then) as Status Quo (with short hair and quiet music), The Kinks, Supremes (complete with Diana Ross), The Hollies, Love Affair, Troggs to name but a few, and all for 5 bob. Yes, that's 25p. We would be armed with posters, lovingly made from rolls of wallpaper using brightly coloured felt pens, all declaring our everlasting love (usually lasted about a week) for that particular star. Afterwards we would charge round the back of the theatre to the stage door, hoping to catch a glimpse of our idols. Our hopes were pinned on them, catching sight of us, falling in love instantly, with all thoughts of their current girlfriends/ wives expelled from their minds for ever. I actually grabbed a chunk of the hair from one of the Kinks, in a moment of passion. Come to think of it, he didn't look too pleased, although I interpreted his expression as adding to his mean and moody look at the time.
Talking of mean and moody (these links are flowing thick and fast today aren't they?), I think the dustmen of Great Yarmouth win the prize for the meanest this week.
Now I, like my neighbours in the village, have two wheelie bins. There is a green one for plastic bottles, anything that comes through my door that isn't a letter (my interpretation not GYBC's) and cardboard. The black one is for general household rubbish, but not food waste. There are a variety of other rules attached to this waste disposal business, but too many to go into now.
Suffice to say that I have to move the bins every time I want to get to and from my front door, and apparently we are shortly to have a new arrival soon, meaning I will probably have to use the back door to enter my own property.
Now, this would not be so bad if the dustmen, or sanitation engineers, to give them their politically correct title, would empty the damn things.
There are four of them who visit once a week. One drives the truck, one looks in the bin to see if I have sinned by sneaking in some rubbish that I shouldn't, moving the bin two inches forward to assist his colleague who pushes the bin onto the automatic lift to empty it. The fourth, well I am not quite sure what he does, maybe takes notes and inserts the yellow or, in particularly criminal households, red cards into the handles.
So when I noticed my green bin had not been emptied for several weeks, I decided to take drastic action - this in my case taking the form of my getting up before 7am, lying in wait behind the curtains and at the appropriate moment running out, still in my pyjamas and slippers, and chased the neglectful and rapidly absconding man up the road, shouting "Oy you" as I went. When I eventually caught up, I was subjected to a grilling that would have put the KGB to shame. He looked at me as if I was a naughty child (I expect it was the princess pyjamas), sucked in his cheeks (thought only car mechanics did that) and proceeded to ask me what I had been putting in the bin that could have led him to his choosing not to do his duty.
Eventually, he gave up on this line of questioning and we looked together. Seems, I had offended by putting some plastics bottles (acceptable) into the bin in a plastic carrier bag (not acceptable). And on top of that, the most heinous crime of all, I had not turned the bin through 45 degrees so that the handle was conveniently placed for easy access to man number two.
And the funniest part of all, when I told my neighbours this sorry tale, they all nodded knowingly and glowed with pride at their apparent godliness in the bin department.
I obviously have much to learn about village life.


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  2. Ah the twist and turns and sorrows of waste management. After moving from a flat which just had a massive bin for everything to our house in Hemel, we both had to make that steep learning curve. Espeically as in Hemel they only collect your rubbish every 2 weeks. Each alternate week is collection of the magical green bin. We now have three separate bins in our kitchen and we really have to watch what we put in them. My wife isn’t too pleased about the rubbish bin invasion of the kitchen but she never takes out the rubbish so doesn’t have much say. I’m sure village life is a lot more clickey about how things are done, our bin men are much more laid back about the angles of bin placement.