BIN BAN­DITS A miss­ing wheelie bin sends Fiona Arm­strong into Miss Marple mode

Per­plexed as to why any­one would steal a wheelie bin, Fiona Arm­strong re­lates her mother’s rub­bish sit­u­a­tion

Scottish Field - - CONTENTS - Il­lus­tra­tion Bob De­war

Idon’t want to spoil any­one’s break­fast by men­tion­ing the ‘B’ word, but some­thing has to be said… Shock hor­ror. My mother’s bin has gone miss­ing. Yes, bin and gone. Tues­day the thing is there. Wed­nes­day it is not.

Who steals a wheelie? We pace the street to see if it has been in­ad­ver­tently put in the wrong place. We knock on neigh­bours’ doors. I can tell you, they do not take kindly to be­ing ac­cused of be­ing bin ban­dits.

Mum’s house sits on the edge of a loch and we prowl the paths, look­ing sus­pi­ciously at the wa­ter. Af­ter all, there is just a chance that this large plas­tic con­tainer may have been blown into the stream, float­ing mer­rily some­where along with the swans.

As they say, seek and ye shall find. How­ever, not in this case. Which is a mys­tery. Why has her waste dis­posal unit sud­denly be­come an ‘as bin? And will the bin men – sorry, the waste man­age­ment and dis­posal tech­ni­cians – refuse – again, no pun in­tended – to take away her trash with­out one?

I know a miss­ing rub­bish repos­i­tory is not the big­gest prob­lem in the world. Well, cer­tainly not with Brexit around. But this ‘B’ word mat­ters to Mum. Be­cause it is her only out­side bin.

Now you are prob­a­bly vet­eran re­cy­clers. You may well have a de­gree in gaug­ing which garbage goes in which box. In your part of Scot­land you may well have six or seven colour­ful con­tain­ers, each one of

“If you want to sleep safely at night, don’t leave your wheelie bin out­side

them pos­i­tively teem­ing with the right sort of trash.

But here in Dum­fries and Gal­loway, we’re pretty rub­bish at that sort of thing. Here in the south-west of the coun­try ev­ery­thing goes into the one bin. Paper, cans, glass, it all squashes in to­gether. Although, to be fair, the stuff is even­tu­ally sorted back at the de­pot by a gi­ant re­cy­cling ma­chine.

But it means we only have one bin per house. And although we guard that jeal­ously, in my mother’s case, we have ob­vi­ously not guarded it care­fully enough…

I de­cide to fur­ther in­ves­ti­gate and found a web­site that goes into great de­tail about how to safe­guard your wheelie. In­deed, a bin on wheels ap­pears to be a prized item. Thieves can roll it away to ri­fle through the con­tents and get your per­sonal de­tails. Van­dals could nab it and set fire to the thing. This is ap­par­ently a pop­u­lar pas­time in cer­tain places.

If you lay it on its side, it can ev­i­dently act as a coal bunker. Then a wheelie bin also makes an ex­cel­lent cooler for bot­tles of beer. Fill the thing with ice and the party’s on – un­for­tu­nately at some­one else’s house, not yours.

Ba­si­cally, if you want to sleep safely at night, the ad­vice is, don’t leave your wheelie out­side. Which is eas­ier said than done for most of us. Oh, and buy a lock for the lid. That helps.

All that wor­ry­ing about the wheelie. It is enough to turn the owner grey. Or more grey. Memo to self: make a hair­dress­ing ap­point­ment to get roots done…

But back to my mother’s prob­lem. The wheelie that went walkabout. Af­ter a day’s fruit­less search­ing I con­tact the coun­cil and am pointed in the di­rec­tion of an­other web­site where I can re­port the thing miss­ing and en­quire about a re­place­ment.

Whether we must pay, who knows? What we do know is that we are now of­fi­cially coun­cil ref­er­ence num­ber 371331.

I do hope that is not the num­ber of peo­ple who have re­ported miss­ing bins. We wait to hear what hap­pens…

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