Gus and I walked to Goodlands Gardens this morning It makes a change from our usual destination of the park. Sometimes the park is a very lonely place, a great expanse of green dotted with trees with only a lone dog walker or two in the distance bundled up against the weather at this time of year. Sometimes I crave that solitude whilst at other times I feel the need to have people around me as unconnected as they might be there is something comforting about having them around.
The gardens bisect our town and it's always bustling with people on their way to and from another destination. In the summer people will stop and watch the river running past or feed the ducks or sit on the grass areas to eat their lunch but this morning most were viewing it as a short cut and didn't pause to see the trees shed their multi coloured leaves or the weir froth the water into a pulsating white foam. I felt slightly detached as Gus ran happily about sniffing each bush and hunted for a stick for me to throw for him almost as though I were in a bubble watching the rest of the world wizz past.
As we walked home we dodged the green and black recycling boxes that lined the pavements and I reflected on the contents. I don't think I've ever really given much thought to what people put in those boxes before, my main objective being to stop Gus peeing on them because I can't think of anything worse than people unknowingly picking up a box that Gus has liberally sprayed with urine but today for some reason my eyes were drawn to the content.
Some were filled with take away pizza boxes and empty cans of beer. In one there was wrapping paper from a childs Birthday, judging from the brightly coloured boxes it was a young child, a girl of perhaps 3 or 4. Others had empty bottles of wine, cereal packets and convenience food containers. Almost all had milk cartons, empty toilet roll tubes and newspaper.
I guess you can tell a lot about people by what they throw away. The things they no longer have a use for or the things they see as defunct, disposable, of no use.
Out of interest I looked in my own boxes. I put them on the low garden wall to avoid dogs like Gus peeing on them and I try to collect them back in as soon as they are emptied if I'm at home as the bin men always put them back on the pavement. My black box goes out every week usually more than half full with the usual milk cartons and cereal boxes, the green one less frequently with a couple of empty wine bottles, foil containers from the fruit I've defrosted, the odd empty marmalade jar.
My neighbour on one side never puts out any rubbish. She doesn’t have a large black wheelie bin standing in the small area behind her wall that separates her house from the pavement. She doesn't own a green or black recycling box and I've no idea what she does with her rubbish. I only know that she never puts any out to be collected. Maybe she doesn’t acknowledge that she has rubbish? Her house is meticulously maintained, she isn't a hoarder with rooms piled high with accumulated crap. Maybe she sneaks out after dark and deposits her rubbish in other peoples bins? I honestly have no idea.
On the other side of me is a shared house. Their recycling bins overflows with a conglomeration of rubbish all mixed and never sorted into the correct container. They put out their boxes along with the black wheelie bin every Monday even though the wheelie bin is only empties once a fortnight. I guess they can never remember which Monday it is (although if they looked down the street they would see no one else has theirs out). Their boxes stay on the pavement until at least Thursday and generally by Tuesday evening I've tired of stopping Gus from peeing on them as we negotiate the obstruction that often seems to shuffle along the pavement to partially block my gate.
Compared to many I have very little I recycle in this way. I don't own a food waste bin as we waste very little food. All vegetable peelings, left over bread, cake etc. (kidding – there's NEVER left over cake!) goes to the farm for the chickens, most other left over food makes it way into the animals bowls but to be honest, there isn't much of that mostly because I shop carefully and only for the things that we need and partly because I believe that animals should eat only really animal food.
I'm not sure what you could learn about me from my recycling box. That I prefer red wine to white perhaps – That I eat Fruit and Fibre most mornings – That we seem to get through a rather large quantity of loo roll in this house – That I label and date the foil boxes of fruit in the freezer – That I like Jaffa cakes and drink Earl Grey – I like lemon and lime flavoured fizzy water but Miss Mac prefers strawberry and vanilla – That we get through rather a lot of toothpaste and I like my shower gel zingy …. I'm not sure anyone other than me would be interested in the content of my recycling boxes really – to be honest, I'm not that interested in it either …
It was a lovely day yesterday, cold but bright and SD and I got on our bikes for possibly the last long bike ride for a while. SD has been a little under the weather lately and our few days away last weekend didn’t really give him the boost I'd hoped it would. He's generally a little run down, nothing serious just a feeling of not being on top form. We decided to cycle as far as Charlton Orchards, about 5 miles along the canal and then see how we felt about carrying on to Maunsel Lock and our favourite café for coffee.
It really is pretty down on the canal at all times of the year and yesterday was no exception. As it turned out neither of us wanted to turn back or take the alternative shorter route once we reached the orchards so we pressed on. As well as the usual ducks and swans we saw Shetland ponies, a herd of Llama and two gorgeously plump pot bellies pigs in the fields lining the canal. Unfortunately the pigs disappeared into their shed before I could get a photo and, once the Llamas realised I had no food for them, they lost interest and wandered off too.
There's still no sign of Bear (and thank you for your kind comments) – I don't really hold out much hope of him coming home. It's been over a week now and I've had no response from my posters – I guess I was hoping that I'd get a call at least from someone who could confirm what I believe to be true that he has been run over because then I could at least stop hoping he will come home. I miss that daft cat more than I'd ever thought possible.
Maybe that's why I'm rather preoccupied with recycling this morning – there are some things you can easily replace in life and some things that, once they are gone, always leave a gap ...