Thursday, 29 April 2010

Eating an elephant

For the last few weekends, the pattern for Saturday morning has been the same. Get up, feed the animals, have breakfast, and then load another pile of the old porch roofing material into the car and take it to the tip. Or the Domestic Waste Collection and Recycling Centre, as it prefers to be known these days.

Yes, the knock-on effect of having a new roof was that I was left with the old one to dispose of as I saw fit. And no, I'm not exactly sure why this happened - I guess I simply forgot an important part of the conversation when I commissioned the work. The spec is just another of those things that I used to leave to R. When we had work done for us, I had to make the tea and look after the workers all day, so R could jolly well do the negotiating-a-price part (which has never been my forte in any case).

Initially I wasn't too worried when the roofer left me with the small mountain of old corrugated roofing panels. "Oh well, I'll just have to hire a skip," I innocently thought. The last time we had one, the cost hadn't been too unreasonable, and it would be a good opportunity to get rid of some other rubbish as well. But these days the basic hire cost is supplemented with landfill tax and THEN they weigh the bloody thing and add a price per tonne. It was going to cost me a couple of hundred quid or more to dispose of the sheets.

R would probably have suggested that we got one anyway and hang the expense. But that was back in the ancien régime - the one with two salaries coming in. In these more straitened times, another solution would have to be found.

The Land Rover was still out of action at the time, so I couldn't put it all in the stock trailer (not to mention the fact that it would have involved me reversing it back through the gate - a task that I will do almost anything to avoid). I guess I could have called in a favour from someone, but I like to ration those for when I really need them. The sheets were beyond reuse, which meant there was no point in offering them on Freecycle. Burning them would probably have resulted in a visit from Environmental Health.

So the pile sat there for a couple of weeks under its blue tarpaulin until the message finally sank in that it wasn't going to spontaneously combust or teleport out of there on its own. I would simply have to break up the sheets and take them to the tip one bite at a time. Fortunately the car was already in a disgraceful state as it was well overdue for a wash. I had also been using it all winter to carry hay, so the inside was as bad as the outside, and it couldn't really get a lot worse.

The first carload barely made a dent in the pile and I was very tempted to go straight back and get another instalment, but I am trying to keep my petrol miles to a minimum and that would have defeated the object of going only whenever I was going into town anyway.

Over the weeks I didn't quite make it to first-name terms with the gentlemen who run the centre, but I did become rather adept at reversing quickly into the right bay as soon as a gap appeared. And I found out how many other things are recycled or collected there. There is even a British Heart Foundation box for books, so I have been whittling down the excess book collection at the same time. Hurrah!

And this Saturday I am delighted to say that I finally saw the end of the pile as the last batch found itself a new home at the tip. It has been an object lesson in patience if nothing else.

And Moose is very happy to have his boot space back. He was most unimpressed by the whole business.


  1. Good for you on the roofing haul out! Whether in Wales or the US, our feeling and dilemnas are similar. So although I'm sorry for your loss, I've got to congratulate you on moving the roofing! Bit by bit your life will get back together, too. Take hope.

  2. Thank you for the encouragement, Ferree. Little triumphs like this are good for the soul, aren't they.