3 Feb 2011

Hestia....and The Bins (The Sequel)

pic from http://www.bentleybrushware.co.uk
Reader, you will recall that I took a brain storm one day and put my neighbours' bins back where they ought to have been placed....and risked the ire of a truculent neighbour as a result.  You can catch up here if you've a spare half hour.

Well, the story continues....

The Council obviously got fed up sending out letters requesting that people put their bins back behind the flats and on Wednesday morning, a Council lorry appeared with three gleaming communal 'treasure chest' type bins, like this lovely thing, pictured left. 

I could hardly conceal my delight as the troublesome wheelie bins were rattled up the tail-plate and on to the lorry and stout bins with BRAKES squatted at the pavement edge in their place.

At last! No longer would I be compelled to haul my sorry carcass out of bed during storm-ravaged nights to drag fallen and sometimes mortally injured wheelie bins off the road.

Pride, they do say, cometh before a fall and so it was that at midnight last night as I was about to get my jammies on (blame Facebook and Twitter) I took a look out at the dark, tempestuous night and saw....three big fat empty bins in the middle of the road.

Now, the streetlight right above them is on some weird Australian time switch and doesn't run at night, only during the day, so the road where the bins lay was in darkness.  I bit the inside of my lip.  I didn't want to go out in the storm - but could I ever forgive myself if someone had an accident because of the bins?

Soon I was out in the street, manhandling the first big bin onto its wheels.  A car drew up and out got a member of the local constabulary.  He basically took over the job of hauling the bins off the road and we waved a friendly goodnight to each other.

Today was as wild as I've ever seen it and, as sure as eggs is eggs, there was the familiar booming of a bin falling over.  This time it was daylight and I felt sure that someone else would see the bin and go out to move it.

After an hour, I realised that cars were simply slowing down and going around the obstacle, so I pulled on my coat and boots AGAIN and sallied forth into the black and foul day.

Of course, I rewarded myself with a Green and Blacks hot chocolate when I got in, so I didn't feel too grumpy about it.....but later in the evening, when ALL the bins had blown into the road again (now dark) I was starting to get a bit fed up with it.  OK I was entirely fed up with it.  But not fed up enough to let someone have an accident.

So, out I went, my troubles further compounded by the fact that I couldn't get the brakes off one of them.  A car approached from the top of the hill and slowed down.  'Thank goodness, a bit of help,' I thought to myself.  Not a bit of it.  The driver watched me trying to man-handle the bin into the upright position and then drove off as soon as there was a clear bit of road.

The grass was sodden and my Fuggs have no sole on them (shhhhh - fake Uggs, don't tell anyone) and I quickly found myself with a soaking, mucky freezing arse.  But at least the bin was now against a fence.

Again I went out into the road  - another car approached.  Again the driver just let me practically puke my guts up heaving the bin upright on my own before driving on.  Again I slipped and stumbled trying to get the bin off the pavement and on to the grass.

One bin remained on the road and by this time my temper was at a rolling boil.  Reader, I gave that bin such a kicking before I got it up off the road...... I am truly a psychiatrist's dream patient ('Kicking bins, Mrs Hestia.  Did your mother make you take the bin out as a child?')

Once the third bin was secured behind the hedge, I stormed straight into the house and found the number for the local station.  But you can't phone down to the station these days, you now have to phone a big switchboard somewhere in Central Scotland. 

'Good evening, Highlands and Island Police.  How may I help you,' a nice smiley lady's voice.

'Could you put me through to The Island's police station, please?'

'Can you tell me what it's in relation to?'

'Erm, possible road traffic safety?'

'Are you reporting an accident?'

'No, I' reporting bins in the road.'

Silence.  I am hoping that the silence is just because she's typing slowly.  But I suspect not.

I then blurt out the whole story - lazy neighbours, bins, wind, arse-hole drivers who don't help, broken street lights....' Even to my ears I sound like Dot Cotton. Only madder.

The lady officer at the other end of the phone says that she can do nothing about the street light, have I reported it to the Council?  Reader, what do you think? Do you think I've let a street light on Australia time go unreported to the Council?  You iz correct.

'I'm just asking for the patrol tonight to take a look up the road every now and again and move the bins if they blow back onto the road.  I've done it 3 times in 24 hours and I'm getting embarrassed doing it, you know?'

'What road is this on?' She has resumed typing and is taking me seriously. I tell her.  'Oh yes, she says, we know that one well.'  I am hoping just from the number of times I have had to phone them, but am suspecting that it might be something to do with drunks, drugs, teenage arsonists and child neglect.  Thankfully, none of which I have anything to do with.  Maybe the drunk bit.  Just once.  And it wasn't me (nor Tertarus!)

I have dashed off another e-mail to the local councillor requesting the timer/sensor be fixed in the lamp.

I wearily climbed the stairs to bed with my Ottolenghi cookbook under my arm and caught sight of myself in the reflection of a glazed painting in the hall (I know, it makes it sound like I live in a stately home) and I stopped to look at myself.  Why do I get myself involved in these things? Why doesn't anyone else step up and sometimes DO SOMETHING?  It gets really tiring always having to try to do the right thing by people, all the time. 

My reflection showed thatmy flirtation with nice clothes was currently over and I was back wearing a fleece and padded waistcoat (very Country Living), hair scraped back into a clip (very SAGA magazine), roots needing done, face like an Afghan hound chewing a wasp....... I examined my forehead.  Just the usual 'character lines.'  Not a trace of an 'Interfering Busybody' tattoo.  Not yet.


  1. Have a potential bin issue here buuuuut managing to have a big dose of CBA via the teenager and step away ......nowt worse than communal bins when peeps don't know the meaning of communal

  2. Oh Alison, you are really admirable, taking the trouble to move those wretched bins, for fear of an accident, good on you! i hope your horrid neighbours getting trapped under one of them in a freak bin accident. I clearly recall once yelling out of the window of our flat in London to tell a man to pick up the sh*t after his dog, I felt mad, but proud. Viva les Busybodies say I! But don't let it get to you, look after yourself xx

  3. Oh Ali, you do make me laugh (not that it's a laughing matter but it's the way you tell it) with the continuing saga of the "Battle of the Bins".
    I do think Bonnie might be right suggesting you put everything here into a book.
    Never a dull moment with you around. :-)

  4. i find that repeating the following mantra: karma will get those m*fuckers, karma will get those m*fuckers, karma will get those m*fuckers really helps. as does a good stiff drink.

    god, i hate people sometimes. except, you know, the good ones.

  5. No one else does it my dear, cos they have you to do it all for them. Maybe if you topped some of your useless neighbors and put them in the bins for balast, you could solve two problems at once.

  6. Thanks guys! I REALLY like the mantra 'Karma will get those f*ckers*. I might put that on a mug this VERY morning when I go round to do the accounts.

    We do personalised mugs! Mousemats! T-shirts.....gravestones! cremation memorial plates! van livery!

    *lies down in darkened room*

  7. Just because I want to put the cherry on your frustration cake :-) pride actually goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall .....

  8. Ooh that is shocking, I read the prequel too - I think you are a model citizen and your neighbours are total numb-nuts, and I don't know how you kept so calm (relatively anyway) I would have been apoplectic with rage - not good for your blood pressure though! Have you thought about putting stickers on the bins which relate to the owners then you (and they) will know who the culprits are? Don't let them spoil your weekend/life x

  9. Step away from the Bins now! Its about time you stopped worrying about other people, this is causing you so much stress, its crazy! Think of the worry lines lady and when you pull your curtains at night, don't be tempted to look out of them again!

  10. Bloody hell Alison! You poor thing I would have given that women a piece of my mind.

    I can imaging how aggravating it is to live opposite such nonsense but Mrs Fab has a point. Leave bingate to the council it seems your neighbours are idiots so let them wallow in their own misery and you blank it out!

    Oh and write a letter to Cameron telling him where he can stick his big society - bet he's never had to deal with bins!! xx

  11. Dear Ali, that's hilarious you called the police. I'm still laughing. I hope it gets sorted out soon! Please don't stress about the bloody things. Spend a little time on yourself. Have a lovely day xx

  12. No good deed goes unpunished, right? You are a sweetheart to do what you did.

    Love you.

  13. SB - I love that 'no good deed goes unpunished' lol!

    Christina - police would have nothing better to do on a stormy night on the island, believe me :-)

    Mrs MakeDo - Yes, I've done my bit - now someone else can take over. My conscience is whiter than John Barrowman's smile :-)

    Mrs P - most of my neighbours are really lovely, but it only takes one twat to ruin things for everyone and unfortunately while many of them are lovely, I've got more than one twat. As a neighbour. Not as a biological quirk.

    Viv - it's your birthday, I'll let you be the lovely pedant that you are. Pedant, that's the right word, yes? I'm sure you'll tell me if I'm wrong :-D Happy Day sweetie!!!
    mrs Fab - *salutes* have stepped AWAY from the bins :-)

  14. It must be frustrating for you, maybe the neighbours leave them cos they know you will sort it?Try leaving them a bit longer.
    I laughed all the way through that BTW.
    You could set up a surveillance post in an upstairs room next time they're in the road and watch to see if anyone moves them.

  15. Alison, you are a curious mixture of interfering busybody and my lovely old Gran.

    I do sympathise with your bin/neighbour predicament, but have you tried either of the following?
    Petrol; a good dowsing with the lovely hydrocarbon fluid and you can remove the bins/neighbours/offending SSH flats

    A large truck; removing the bins at 2am would wreak havoc with the offending buggers waste management.

    Keep writing and persevering as a good neighbour

  16. Twisted Scottish Bastard - fabulous name by the way. But I'm sure you're not :-)

    Kevin is 'alive' and well and still living in the bread bin. He celebrated Christmas Dinner with us, to the bemusement of my mother and not-my-boyfriend-Ron (who is her boyfriend).

    We may have to formally adopt.

    As for setting light to the bins/flats, I have contemplated this, but given that there's already been a spot of arson (do you know the difference between arson and willful fire-raising? The distance the fire is from inhabited property) thanks to a youthful type who can't resist flashing up any bit of furniture left out for the Council....I will let that option pass :-D

    That is possibly the longest and most poorly constructed sentence I've ever written.

  17. "That is possibly the longest and most poorly constructed sentence I've ever written"

    Don't worry, I'm sure you'll get better with practice :=)

    BTW, just call me TSB, everyone else does. Apart from my beloved who just calls me her lovely lazy lieabout parasite who does nothing all day except read, eat drink and fart.
    (I lied about her using "lovely")


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