Friday, May 1, 2009

Tales of the Dump

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!

34 comments:

Canary said...

We too, have a narrow-eyed Director of Ops at our rubbish dump, but I know how to get around him. Refuse tips? Not him.

Expat said...

Reminds me of a story.

Fresh from the UK, and working out of town, my husband went into a gas station and asked where he could find a tip. The guy gave him a quarter!!

Of course, they are called landfills or dumps here. We have a lovely one about 15 minutes from where we live. Lovely if you like vultures, that is....

Canary said...

Expat - your husband had a lucky escape! What would have happened if the guy had given him no quarter?

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hello Canary - Yes, I can imagine he finds your ways jolly acceptable! I just want to belabour him about the ears with a big stick, though!

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hi Expat. Vultures?! I liked them in 'The Jungle Book'...

I remember our nearest tip in the UK was generally wasp-infested, and that was fearsome enough!

Canary said...

Vultures and Wasps are jolly exciting, but I prefer Fly-tipping.

Jon in France said...

Our Man is very relaxed and often wanders off for a drink when things are quiet, leaving us to find our own way around.

Our tip was robbed a while back, when commodity prices were at their zenith and road signs were being melted down for sale to the Chinese.

King of the Dump was threatened and the choice items from the scrap metal box (those that he had not already sold on, that is) were chucked into the back of a car and driven off at speed.

All happens around here I tell you.

Dolores Doolittle said...

'Fly-tipping', Canary - how you make me chuckle!

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hello Jon! Your area certainly is a Den of all Iniquities, isn't it (as leaked in Vendée blog).

I'm glad to hear that 'King of the Dump' and colleagues can make some extra dosh from their difficult job (except for that Snotty swine at our nearest).

It's Appalling though, that your Nice Man was threatened and stolen from, and I hope the perpetrators get toxically and painfully poisoned.

Expat said...

Oh, my. Well, I just had to check out the Vendee blog, didn't I. And now there's another place that I fear I will become hooked on. I can't contribute much, if anything, but I shall read with interest.

Our landfull, by the way, is a very large and efficiently run organization. Scavenging strictly forbidden!

Dolores Doolittle said...

Glad you had a look, Expat. I bet you understood the Heat Exchanger diagram, too. (Naturally I didn't, but it was eerily Fascinating somehow).

Canary said...

Dolores – I’ve been fretting again. This time it’s about the narrow-eyed Director of Ops. Just think about the tens of thousands of people who go missing every year. I bet lots of them are being cut up into small pieces that fit nicely inside black bin-bags.

It’s a worrying thought, isn’t it? In fact I’ve come out in goose-bumps nearly all over just thinking about it. By my calculations, my current girlfriend would fit into three black bin-bags. But I’d actually use four bin-bags to achieve a more comfortable weight distribution and to reduce the chance of a bin-bag splitting open at an embarrassing moment. And if I had a criminal mind I’d probably double-wrap to be sure.

I bet the narrow-eyed Director of Ops knows all this, and is keeping a sharp lookout. So are we being kind when we trash him like this? Is he a waste of space, working in his space of waste? Does he fear the sack? If I had his job, I’d also be down in the dumps.

Dolores Doolittle said...

"goose-bumps NEARLY all over" Canary? You're evidently Almost accustomed to this mafia behaviour.

The Narrow-eyed specimen has probably already despatched several of his own unwanteds in such a manner, and he deserves all your wonderful puns!


(I have to whizz off for a day or two now on family Stuff (bin bags packed) bye for now)

Canary said...

Dolores - I'm now in a complete Tizzy.

I’ve just re-read the comment by Jon in France. It seems we have got one set of criminals who are busy disposing of body parts in rubbish dumps, and another set of criminals who are happily robbing the rubbish dumps.

I foresee complications arising.

Dolores Doolittle said...

How very disturbing, Canary!

And particularly so here because while we were away, our soon-to-be new neighbours did some mass clearance of the house opposite and left three black bin bags outside on departure.

The bin men came as usual at dawn today and refused to take the sacks because they weren't in a Designated WheelieBin. They've stuck an Admonitory Flashing Sticker on instead.

George has now popped the sacks inside their wall until we can find their bin. Who knows what festers within - his poking was inconclusive. He doesn't think they will attract rabid scavenging beasts, but what about Criminals?

Canary said...

Dolores, you are a good neighbour!

But the weird thing is this. When you buy a pig in a poke, you get a pig in a bag. So a poke is a bag. And if a poke is a bag, then it follows that poking is bagging. So what exactly has George been up to? Poking or Bagging?

Life is so confusing, isn’t it?

Dolores Doolittle said...

Well may one ask, Canary - for he was gone a Suspicious length of time to return inconclusively...

(There has been no apparent movement in/of/by the bags)

Canary said...

Dolores, it may have seemed a suspicious length of time – but you must encourage George to keep on poking. He may be an inconclusive poker now, but if he keeps it up, he may well become a red hot poker. That should deter the Criminals.

(And Good Golly Gosh) --!!-- My dictionary confirms that a “POKE” is indeed a “BAG”!

So, since there is always the danger that frequent bag-poking becomes an obsession, you would be well advised to de-bag George immediately!!

:-)

Dolores Doolittle said...

Canary - there are many things I could say about George's RedHotPokerey etc, but I do not wish here, to plunge into Smut... So I shall just Chuckle.

I too was Astonished to learn from your previous comment that a Poke can be a Bag (but As Always, I believed your every word). And apparently, it's a Jolly Nice Bonnet, too!

So multi-funcional, we must not hesitate to bring this word to the attention of our English students...

Canary said...

I entirely agree, Dolores.

And your use of the word "smut" got me very excited - so much so that I've looked the word up in my trusty dictionary. I bet you didn't know that one of the definitions for "smut" is "a fungus causing cereal disease turning parts of ear to black powder".

It was only later, after I'd finished eating my breakfast corn flakes, when I was examining my ears in the mirror, that I realised the dictionary must have been referring to an ear of corn.

Words are wonderful, aren't they?

Expat said...

Words are indeed wonderful...expecially those we have to type in below our comments here to prove we are human. My word today is Getosts, which I first read as Get lost!

I have several regular dictionaries (US and UK), two thesauruses (or should that be thesauri?) and my favourite of all...a crossowrd puzzle dictionary that gives synonyms.

For smut, the entries are bunt, coom, black, bleck, colly, coomb, crock, grime, smoot, smitch, smutch, smatter and colbrand.

Curiously, smutch, the next main entry, does not cross-reference smut.

Ah, but I did know about corn smut!

Canary said...

Oh Expat - I envy your library! Mine is back in England. Here in Tenerife I only have my Concise Oxford Dictionary, plus Spanish and French dictionaries!

Travelling light has it's disadvantages! Never mind, I'll soon be back in England for the summer!

Are you making good progress with your book?

Expat said...

Canary, I used to use Chambers online a lot, but now you have to "join." That probably means pay. I didn't bother to find out. I went elsewhere on line. I love my reference books. I just like turning the actual pages. I'm weird like that.

I would be making better progress with the history book if people didn't keep giving me so much other work to do! But, since I am a freelance consultant, I can't grumble about that!

I will be in the UK myself in late June...not a vacation, though. Always family business to take care of. My dear old Mum is there...96 this year and God knows I don't get home enough.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hello Expat & Canary of the palpitating word-packed brains!

The image of you, CI, frowningly checking your ears for smut, (or bleck or colly), is a delight! Expat - what ARE 'getosts'?

Though not evident, I love dictionaries too! My favourite's a Lexicon George gave me - divided into topic groups and giving many examples of Words in Action!

Sadly, it doesn't stop me just clutching an appealing word and sticking it anywhere. (Rather like my mastery of French, in fact)

Expat said...

Hello Dolores. Getosts is not a "real" word. When I post to your blog, word verification is required to prove I am human and not a computer (to prevent spamming, I suppose). I have to type in a string of letters that has been provided below the comment box (in fancy font). Some of the letter combinations are really funny and sound like they should be real words!

Do you evr look at a word you have been happily using all your life and suddenly think "That looks so strange. I wonder who on earth thought that up?" I mean, how did things get named in the first place?

It's going to be a sunny day today after a week of rain. I am off to the garden center to buy stuff to plant!

Expat said...

Oh, this is too funny. I popped back in to add another thought, and the word verification is.....

Whine!!!

Now I've forgotten what I came back to say!

Dolores Doolittle said...

Brilliant, Expat, and a Real word to boot!
I don't often go through Word Verification luckily, because it's SO tricky to make the letters out! Adequate-Lens verification, perhaps.

Know what you mean about going hazy on a simple word; sometimes they lose all sense - Love your new Whine... The cat's got Buttons...

D'you do it with names too? I always have done - a sudden blank, even with close friends - "Ha! I called you Caroline." (She IS called Caroline, you dope).

Dolores Doolittle said...

I would just like to mention that, following her extremely lovely Anonymous comment on 'A Redder Shade of Carrot', Scarlet Merrill has kindly sent me a book written by her husband Ian.

Called 'Coq & Bull - Going Mad in Normandy', it's very funny even on first random glimpse: "One does not aspire to self-sufficiency, one becomes broke."

If you look in here, Scarlet and Ian, huge thanks for this; really looking forward to reading more.

And anyone can find more on their great blog 'The Chickens Have Escaped'.

Many thanks again

Canary said...

Expat - Whenever you are lost for words, may we think of you as a Chrisword Puzzle?

I delight in words or sentences (palindroms) that read the same forwards or backwards. For example "Was it a rat I saw").

The word MUM is like that. And if you look at her age backwards, you arrive at a number that gave me great fun on Constance's blog!

And if you will be in England in late June, remember that I too can be a terrific tour guide....

Expat said...

I should have responded before now but I've been a bit down in the dumps.

CI: I LOVE palindromes. "Able was I ere I saw Elba" is a famous one, of course.

My trip to England is short and packed. Between spending as much time as possible at the nursing home with my Mum and helping my nephew sort out his recently departed Dad's estate, it's no way a vacation. I expect to be exhausted by the time I get home. But I thank you for your offer.

Dolores...oh, yes! I can be introducing someone I have known for years to someone else and suddenly draw a blank on their name. I would say it's old timers disease, but it's happened to me all my life.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hi Expat! So sorry to hear you've been feeling down in the dumps - we could have sent comforting vibes in your direction.

I imagine your frenzied lifestyle doesn't even allow you time to console yourself with mass chocolate dunkings!

Sometimes I'm glad that moods can't necessarily be gleaned from typings. (And certainly appearances)! At the moment, for example, I'm sitting hyperventilating at the kitchen table as my latest hair colour drips scarily onto our oldest teatowel.

This one's supposed to be imparting "illuminating highlights" into the haggard effect of last week's attempt.

I'm addicted; and as we're sallying forth socially tonight and tomorrow lunch, I'm slightly concerned that this Mad Professor look will remain post wash-out.

Oh well. Off to stick my head in a bucket of warm rinsing...

(What a relief I'm not the only one with Lost-Name disease)

Canary said...

Dolores – methinks Expat is playing with words!

“Down in the dumps”?

Do we take her literally or litter-ally?

Dolores Doolittle said...

Oh damn & blast, Canary! (Of course, I Knew really)!

Jolly funny Expat, though, and I hope you weren't hiding your real pain! (As I am struggling to now)!

Anyway, have pleasant evenings, you clever wordsmiths both, and I shall go and thrash myself dim-wittedly.

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