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November 2002 - Put the Bag Out

The organisational skills of this Nick Harvey chap never cease to amaze me.

After a definite lapse in the middle of the year, I'm now getting almost professional at this writing Comments in advance lark; and I'm even leaving myself notes about subjects for future editions.

I'd hate to let you into the secret of how many aeons ahead I've got myself now, you probably wouldn't believe it in any case.

By the time you read this I'll probably be well into the writings of 2003, I've got myself SO organised now.

That's the wonder of these computers you know. Bash it all in in advance and then fire it all up onto the Web in a couple of minutes on the appointed day.

Now, this is where it gets a bit complicated as I now need to rummage through all my notes to find a subject different to the one you read a month ago; which I wrote yesterday.

It was last Sunday evening it all happened you see. That's the Sunday evening previous to me putting fingers to keyboard; not the Sunday evening previous to you reading this. If you really need to work out when it was relative to today, as in you reading it today, it could get exceedingly complicated, so I wouldn't even bother.

Not that it really matters WHICH Sunday, as it happens most weeks.

It's a plot dreamed up by the local councils and the manufacturers of things which come in very large containers in my humble opinion.

In this neck of the woods it'll always happen on a Sunday evening, except when the Monday of that week happens to be a Bank Holiday, in which case the problem automatically transfers itself to the Monday evening.

You ARE following all this, aren't you madam?

It was a one-and-a-half litre whisky bottle which prompted my inscribing the words of this edition's subject on my little scrap of paper this week, but it could just as easily have been a fabric softener container or some other large item of use in the smooth running of the household.

And, before you ask, yes, a litre and a half of whisky IS essential to the smooth running of this household!

After a heavy Sunday of supervising 'er indoors cooking a roast dinner and then doing all the washing up of the pots, pans, plates, cutlery and everything else; I just happen to NEED to sit down and relax after all the hard work, with a wee dram or three.

And, if she asks nicely, I even let the lady of the house have a drop as well.

Which brings me to the point on the Sunday evening where the last wee dram of scotch made its exit from the neck of the bottle and down into the glass.

So there you are, stood standing there, with an empty whisky bottle in your hand. Now, why on earth didn't it become empty the evening before, or even earlier on the same day?

As I said earlier, the reason is clear. It's because of this plot. If it was a lemonade bottle which you could fold over and squeeze the air out of to make it small, it would have become empty at lunchtime on the Sunday, not late on in the evening.

Because it's something huge, it waits to bring you maximum trouble and inconvenience now.

Perhaps it's time I filled you in on a little of the background to this story so you have just a tiny bit better chance of working out what the heck I'm moaning on about.

You see, here in my little corner of the world, the refuse disposal operatives, or whatever it is they're called in this current politically correct climate, come to collect my black bags on a Monday, unless, as I've said, it's a Bank Holiday.

The time of their arrival outside my humble abode is somewhere in the single figures of the anti meridian, long before I'm up and about. This necessitates the transfer of the black bags from the flip-top bin in the kitchen to the kerb outside, at some point on the previous evening.

This also ensures that the contents of said bags can be spread up and down the street by the local cats, rats and foxes during the night.

I digress, but whoever it was at the council who thought up the idea of insisting that all bags are put out the night before ought to be put in a bin bag himself and left out all night to be clawed to death by the marauding wildlife.

There's more rubbish scattered up and down the street by the vermin on bin day than by the bin men themselves, and that's saying something!

Anyway, meanwhile back at the plot; as you now realise my black bags get put out at some convenient time on a Sunday evening, before I put my feet up and relax with my small glass of scotch.

This means that, at the point of relaxation, a clean empty bin bag is residing in the flip-top bin in the kitchen. Now, this is where the plot, if not the ultra-flimsy bin bag, thickens!

I'm convinced that the manufactures of large whisky bottles and all the other huge containers fit a secret sensor to them, which detects when you've got an empty bag in the bin.

This sensor trips a special mechanism in the container, which ensures that the next time you handle it in any way it instantly becomes empty and requires throwing away.

After all, it never becomes empty just BEFORE you put the bag out with plenty of spare room in the top, does it? Oh no, you tie up the top of your second or third bag of the week and usually put it out half full don't you?

So how does the whisky bottle know you've just done that then? Why does it insist on hanging around in your new bag for a whole week?

Apart from the inconvenience it causes by being in the bottom of the bag so every time you move it you have to be specially careful not to put it down too violently, it sits there for a whole week taking up valuable space which could much better be used for an old pizza box or something similar.

Perhaps whisky bottles just don't like going to the tip?

Actually, that could well be the explanation. I reckon they're scared of going in the crusher or something. That's why they put off their trip with the bin men for as long as possible. That's why they have the sensor built in.

It's actually a sensor to arrange for their trip to their final resting place to be held off for as long as it can be.

But what of the fabric softener container I wonder? Surely your average big plastic bottle doesn't worry about its ultimate future.

It may not worry, but that doesn't stop it exhibiting exactly the same characteristics as the whisky bottle if you so much as dare to consider popping a load of dirty washing in the machine before you go to bed on a Sunday night.

That's why I reckon the councils have got a hand in this plot. They want us to use more black bags, so they make sure they're all bunged up early in the week with these huge containers, so you have to go on to a second bag about Friday and then put it out half full.

After all, it's all money for them if you use more. At least, it is round here.

Every year, our lovely local council is generous enough to give us fifty-two black bags free. If you want any more, you have to buy them from the council at some extortionate price.

Just to make sure you DO buy from them, they refuse (hey, nice pun there folks!) to collect any bags which don't have their name emblazoned on the side.

So you see, it's in the council's interest to make you use lots and lots of their lovely bags, certainly far more than fifty-two. That keeps their coffers filling up as people go in and buy more and more.

Point proven at this stage I think! I wonder how much the councils pay the large bottle manufacturers to fit the sensors though? I reckon there must be a bit of commission!

The bottle people probably get ten percent of the black bag profit or something like that. I'm surprised designers aren't working at this very moment on bottles which expand to take up even more bag room, the second you bung them in.

I HAVE thought of a way round it though. I'm going out to buy a second flip-top bin to put next to the original one.

I'll always leave the second bin with an empty black bag in it. That way, the sensors in the containers will ALWAYS think the bin's empty and will even out their nasty habits throughout the week. When the jolly old whisky bottle gets empty, I'll sneak it into the other bin on top of all the existing rubbish, while it's not looking.

I reckon that's got to be the best solution.

Anyway, I'd better get off out now, and buy the new bin, otherwise the plan won't have a hope of working.

When I return at the beginning of December, I suppose it had better be a Christmas edition that I dream up for you. I think that means the wee dram or three are required about NOW, to get me in the mood.  Right, I'm off, where's me dustcart?

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