Do you enjoy a jolly good Clear-Out? Do you like to plunge occasionally into the festering depths of your cupboards, your cellars, your garage; to gather it all up into an explosive pile and whisk it off it to The Tip?
Of course, anything with a modicum of use left in it can be charity-shopped or sold at the next village Brocante (second-hand market), but today I refer to the contents of our ancient garden shed. We finally decided that it needed the Clear-Out.
What treasures might lurk within, abandoned and ignored for aeons by us and all those who roamed this land before us… (Excitingly, we did last year unearth a bucket of 1943 German rifle cartridges! But that was under the sink in the cellar, and now they live wherever the Police sent them).
The Shed content is more humdrum: a medley of paint and varnish tins dating back several decades, mucky and broken bricks, shattered plant pots, a collection of greasy old chicken feathers, an electric pump for our well that never worked, and a really disgusting brush on the end of a long bendy pole. George actually wanted to keep that, just in case it came in handy...
Poking beyond the outer crust disturbed something small and scuttly that mercifully escaped, plus two plastic containers bedecked with Skull & Crossbones. God knows what was (or still is) in those, and certain Rubbish Tips may well stick you in the Bastille for even trying to deposit them…
For, Going to the Tip (or Déchetterie) in France is not the Roll Up, Chuck in skip that I remember in the UK.
Here, you must be issued with a Tip ID Card by your local Mairie. Ours gives us a generous choice of six Tips in the Department, and these adhere to strict timetables – around two and a half days a week, and certainly not lunchtimes!
The nearest is a ten minute drive; followed by a forty minute queue to be allowed through the gates by the extremely surly and unhelpful sod In Charge. (Many of the locals, in fact, make the most of this time by getting out of their cars and animatedly catching up on gossip).
Once you make it inside the Compound, the Director of Ops watches through narrowed eyes as you drive up the slope to the Chucking Area; he demands your ID and inspects you for suspicious twitches, then scribbles angrily on a clipboard. Once I went alone; he glowered as I pantingly heaved a sack of something into the skip, then inspected the Something to make sure it was Rubbish of an Acceptable Kind before Heavily Sighing me on my way.
Fortunately we can drive an extra ten minutes for the joy of a smiling Operative; one who waves you into the roomy parking area, proffers his sleeve to shake (in lieu of handful of tip microbes - polite and considerate), cheerily asks your ID no if he remembers and gives assistance if needed, all the while engaging in jolly banter. I love him very much.
As for the Skips, well, the Greenery skip is always popular at this time of year... Then there’s the Tatty Old Cardboard Box skip; the Any Old Iron skip for all unwanted railings and the like; and the exciting “Tout-Venant” (all & sundry). Last time this was overflowing with old settees, mattresses, DIY leftovers, and a motley and rather poignant collection of stockings draped over a broken bench. The Tales this skip could tell, eh…
One thing I haven’t noticed here is people rescuing stuff from the tip. The usual recyling containers are there for glass, paper and whatnot, but some bits in the mountainous skip piles must be useful too. No doubt there are schemes...
I shall recognise those stockings, though, if I see them at the Brocante!
Woman's Weekly - the inside story!
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