Sunday, June 05, 2005

Elbow room 

A truck made its way down our street the other day, dropping off a huge green wheelie-bin at every house. It seems our local council is finally catching up with the times and expanding its recycling scheme. This bin’s none too fussy about what it eats – just about anything vaguely animal or vegetable goes in – kitchen scraps, garden waste, cardboard – even tree trunks, so it says.

Wonderful! Eco-friendly! Time saving! (Fewer trips down to the communal recycling bins at the local dump). Oh, probably smelly too… Just one snag though - the source of all that rubbish is out the back, but it obviously has to be collected from the front of the house. So? It’s just a bin, on wheels, so what’s the big deal? Just wheel it round.

Well, it took an entire Sunday afternoon to re-arrange the garage (far too valuable a space to waste by keeping a mere car in there) and the area outside the back door to accommodate said wheelie-bin and allow clear passage through from back to front. Now, I’m not complaining – the garage needed a good tidy-up and it means we can be more selective about what goes on the compost heap and in the wormzwork. But I did think rather wistfully of the archetypal American suburban home set in a wide plot with yards of space all round where any such new facility could be accommodated with ease, whilst here we sit in the UK in our little boxes squeezed shoulder-to-shoulder, where the smallest addition requires a major reshuffle.

There’s just no elbow-room in England.

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