So how did I find myself up-ending a brown wheelie bin last week? Not the most pleasant experience, olfactory or otherwise. Since the shift to the temporary abode I’ve been concerned (or rather, obsessed) about the recycling, or lack of it. We have neither any glass collection or composting bin. So after 3 months of complaining, I duly rang the council. Well, they sent a man in a van the next day. And as serendipity would have it, I happened to be cycling back from a run just as he pulled in. A lively chat ensued and a brown bin materialised within the week. Ask and you shall receive. Not just as progressive on the glass front, alas. Apparently in flats all the recycling tends to get mixed up with broken glass which poses a health hazard, so it just isn’t done. So I was all excited with the brown bin and saw some others were using it too: result! But then, some fuckwit fired a load of glass bottles in on top of the food waste, plus other rubbish. I nearly went berserk. There was me, fastidiously scraping every last coffee ground into my green bag and carting them down 3 flights of stairs and it was now all contaminated so destined for dumping. I was very irked.
Not to be deterred, I set about hoking out the bottles, but one, inevitably, had smashed. Bugger it, I thought and took off on a run to channel my energies elsewhere. But en route, I spied two council workers emptying litter bins, and stopped to regale them of my plight. “Can’t be up to them,” sighed one, “thos’uns. They see a bin, and they just fuck anything in til’it. They don’t give a rat’s arse”. We shook our heads; the futility of our quest for a greener Belfast having worn us down. “No”, I said. “I won’t have it, me schlepping potato peelings up and down and all for nothing.” Seeing my distress, the chap sprang into action. “In that case, you’ll need gloves” said he. “And a black bag”. So off I skipped with my council bag and gloves, and hid them behind a fence while I did my run, before returning to the flat. My renewed vigour waned quickly as the stench was rancid and my stomach was turned. Plus at 5 feet nothing, I was practically inside the bin, and there were spiky shards of glass everywhere. (Should I maybe, just go back to work, I wondered?) But, perseverance pays off. Another fellow came to my rescue, this time from the serviced apartment. He upturned the bin and we sifted through the bags together, chatting as we did so. Life felt better.
And this, dear readers, is what I love about Belfast. It is quite clear, that I am daft as a brush, but people are kind. They could have eyed me with suspicion and sent me on my way and I could have given up on the whole mission. But I didn’t, and I felt a wee bit more positive about myself and the world as a result.
But please, all those in Anna Hill, for fuck’s sake save me the effort and sort your rubbish out next time. We’ve a planet to preserve you know.