BinGate - The Trials and Tribulations of Living in Suburbia
We’re entering week three of 2024 and I thought that my streets WhatsApp group would have quietened by now, but no. It looks like I’m entering my third week of bin-gate.
You all know what I’m talking about. The chaos that three bank holidays in the space of a week over Christmas have on the rubbish collection calendar never changes. Who does know when the bin men are due to arrive and will we need to live amongst festering piles of Christmas rubbish for the rest of the year? The inordinate amount of conversation this topic generates on every single social app is insane. I’m pretty sure we had the same issue when I was growing up* - but I have a feeling that it was slightly easier as you didn’t have a thousand types of bin to put out, on a collection schedule that requires a PhD to decipher.
Every year I dutifully pin up on the kitchen notice board the new bin collection schedule for the coming 12 months - which always conveniently greys out the weeks over Christmas and the new year - as these will be “confirmed closer to the time”. Confirmed where is anybodies guess (and I don’t have enough hours left to live to spend my afternoon scrolling through my local councils website).
I only joined my streets WhatsApp group a couple of years ago - it was like some weird invitation-only affair and I obviously didn’t know the right people to get myself onto the list (apparently actually living on the street isn’t good enough). I think someone took pity on me eventually and I wonder frequently whether it was the right thing to join after all. To be fair, it can be days or weeks between messages, and sometimes the conversation is super useful (tracking the streets milk thief, prodding people who have parked in suspended car parking bays or across drives, expressing horror at the phantom pooper who struck a neighbours garden…yes, a human pooper). Other times….not so much. Coming out of a meeting at work to be greeted with 53 messages from the same 6 or 7 people about some cheese that someone has bought too much of and would like to offer it to the road can be a bit much sometimes. But inevitably bin talk is the subject that is a constant topic of conversation - and boy has it blown up this year.
“Is it recycling or refuse this week?”
“Is it one day or two days later this week?”
“Is it two days later this week and one day late next week?”
“I’ve heard they’re only collecting certain types of recycling”
“I think they’re doing odd numbers this week and even numbers next week”
“I believe they need you to wear your rubbish like a hat and they’ll collect it off your head at midnight”.
What’s made it even more confusing this year, is that they’re not collecting Christmas trees. Shock and horror. Well, they will but only if you subscribe for green waste collection and chop it up into itsy bitsy pieces. But they won’t collect it this week, even though it’s green waste week because the day has an “a” in it, so it’ll be two weeks time, meaning you need to keep your Christmas tree up until February please and thank you. Not that I give a shit. I have a fake tree that was carefully boxed away and put back into the loft on New Years Day.
Every day though, there’s a new message about rubbish and trees. And every day I walk down my road, past discarded trees, lying forlornly and lost outside houses, waiting for the tree fairy to magically come and rescue them.
I’m sure that things will get back to normal - probably some time in March, by which time Easter will roll around and we’ll start the whole sorry saga again. Damn these limited number of public holidays. Of course, what I’m really waiting for on the chat, is the holy grail of bin conversations - the hunt for the magical disappearing bin. Where do they go? Are they like socks at the back of a washing machine and every now and then one has to get sacrificed to the bin gods, leaving the bereft owner struggling to manage an overflow of cardboard waste. Which means an inevitable trip to the one place that holds some kind of weird fascination for all of us…. The tip… but that’s probably a story for another time….
*ermmmm… 35 years ago 😳