Age Rage and Other Distractions

I try not to rant.   It’s very aging.  We all have things we take for granted of which we say “It’s just common sense.”   But the dereliction of common sense promotes a rant – for example in the matter of getting rid of household rubbish.

Apparently we lag behind many other countries in this.  Our landfill is overflowing and heaven knows what we do for an encore.


In the meantime, large numbers of people just dump rubbish without a thought about wrapping, recycling, discarded food, aesthetics, vermin or health hazard.

I live on a street of mixed properties; council and privately owned. Some houses, some flats, owner occupier and tenants.

Some of the flats have gardens, some tiny terraces.  The upper ones keep their rubbish out the back, those lower down put it out the front.  The local authority collects for recycling and landfill, regularly sends round little wagons with circular brushes and large men with flat brooms.  In the matter of waste disposal, the householders are well served by the local authority.

But the more it does for us, the less many of my neighbours do for themselves.

In the matter of the bin lid: if rainwater gets into a bin full of rubbish, it causes the contents to rot and stink.

The road is full of uncovered bins.

And when was the black bag converted by marketing from “bin liner” to “rubbish bag”?  A bin liner has to go inside a bin.  Apparently a rubbish bag is an alternative to a bin.

When I suggested to one of my neighbours that she might invest in a bin (even in these straightened times, not an item of major expenditure) she asked “Why?”

So she and her flat mates continued merrily to put their rubbish out the night before collection in the cheapest black bags which spilled and split and the foxes had a field day.


The next morning there would be much pouting and tutting, fingers arched away from any contact with the mess, but not a lot of clearing up.  No, that was for the waste operatives – what we used to call the dustbin men.

Reasonably, they have neither time nor inclination to pick up after us, so the eggshells and the bits of half eaten food, the bacon rinds and the wadded tissues and teabags would be left all over the pavement.

Until I went out and picked up.

Another neighbour observing me commented in his best disapproving voice “Bin men don’t do a very good job.”

I straightened up, Queen of the Marigolds; to say crisply “The garbage men do a fine job.  Most people don’t know how to wrap rubbish.”

It wasn’t what he wanted to hear.

Why don’t you think that dumping a rolled up carpet in front of your flat may have solved a problem in the short term when the weather was dry but once it has been raining for some weeks, the carpet is beginning to rot.  And it smells.

Why don’t you understand that a paper carrier breaks down in the rain and disperses the contents everywhere?

How can you not know that foxes and rats are attracted to every kind of meat scrap and that if you don’t wrap remains and put them in a place safe from claws and teeth and a sense of smell far more acute than a human one, they are going to be slavered over., defecated on and are thus a source of horrible odour and putative infection?


If you can’t afford a bin (£25 between two or more of you), what about stronger bags and not putting them out till the morning of the collection – rather than the night before when the critters roam?

I continue to write to the waste disposal department to point out when bags aren’t collected, when fly tipping (the logical extension of the above) occurs, to thank them when they clear stuff away, to wrap and rewrap, frequently swearing under my breath, always with a sense of incredulity.

Because if it is all a matter of common sense, then clearly common sense is as rare as hen’s teeth.


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