Wednesday 8 April 2009

The binman cometh

15st 0lb, 3.6 units. Grip clearly lost again, judging by the verdict of the bathroom scales this morning. I’m tempted to blame Mrs H’s parents, who invited us around for a hugely delicious supper yesterday evening, but clearly it is my own fault for being unable to say “no thank you” when someone offers me a second helping of something really good. And whatever you may say about authentic Iranian food, slimming it most certainly ain't.

It comes to something when the best thing that happens to a Bloke in the course of the day is going for a walk and returning to find that his bins have been emptied. Not that we have bins as such. You can’t even get a John Lewis van into our street, never mind a bin lorry. So the authorities send a sort of lightly armoured expeditionary vehicle along to take away the rubbish in plastic sacks, just like in the olden days. The reason for my sense of triumph is that I was clearly one of the very few people in the street to bother reading the council’s leaflet about Easter collections, which stated that they MIGHT come a day earlier than usual. Which they duly did, while I was out taking the dog for his lunchtime stroll. It must have been the quickest rubbish collection of all time, given that only about three people in the whole street took advantage of it. The rest of the dozy sods dragged their bags of refuse out onto the pavements tonight, causing me further mirth until I reflected that they were going to remain in place for at least week, being worked over by the street’s large resident population of stray cats and the occasional urban fox. Thereby eliminating our one chance of keeping the place looking reasonably tidy, in the week when the Scratters’ Academy and the College for the Terminally Thick at the other end of the street are on holiday, and there is no-one to distribute the usual generous daily supply of chip wrappers, bottles, soft drink cans, sweet wrappers and so forth.

Talking of scratters, I made the mistake of going out to Tesco this afternoon and it was like a bloody zoo full of the bastards: a veritable Scratter World. Huge great things covered in tattoos waddling down the aisles in shorts; enormously fat ones with matching offspring, grazing as they filled their trolleys with trans fats; confused elderly ones muttering to themselves as they checked the prices of the Basics. Actually they looked elderly but were presumably younger than I am, given that their appalling diet, chain smoking, excessive drinking and lack of exercise and intellectual stimulus must surely leave the average scratter with a life expectancy of no more than 40. One of the larger, younger and more menacing ones rammed his trolley into me, accidentally I dare say. He even apologized, but added the word “mate”, which always gets my back up. I refrained from giving him my usual educational speech on the various meanings of the word “mate”, none of which applied in this instance. Mrs H was unsympathetic when I moaned about it later, pointing out that she had warned me about her own scratter overdose in the same store the previous evening (and she is far less sensitive to this sort of exposure than I am). She speculated that Tesco must have become the top Day Out for Scratters affected by the credit crunch, displacing such traditional favourites as Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Flamingoland and Alton Towers.

What we clearly need is to bring back hunting. A lot of Ruperts on horseback sounding horns and yelling the traditional cry of “Scrat-ho!” as they give chase and trample them into the terrazzo flooring between the pot noodles and the lard. I don’t think I’d be prepared to learn to ride at my age, but I’d certainly be up for following them on my quad bike, and indeed for lending them my Border terrier to flush out the quarry if it attempted to go to ground among the confectionery or feminine hygiene requisites.

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