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Bin a long time coming but now there's joy to waste

THERE was rejoicing in the streets, people throwing their arms around each other and weeping, feuding neighbours sobbing in each other's arms, promising the return of lost balls and secateurs.

Truly, never before had there been such widespread and unfettered public joy in Rathfarnham. No, the water wasn't back to normal, the bins had been collected!

OK, I'm lying, but last Tuesday did in some respects feel like a glorious triumph. For between the snow and the holidays and the were-they-or-weren't-they-bank-holidays, the bins were bursting at the seams. Our flock has grown to three, a black bin, a green bin, and a brown bin.

The free green bin we usher out on the path every fortnight when it is due for collection, for to miss it is annoying. The black and the brown ones can rack up quite a cost but if you're wily you can eke a good few weeks out of them, they are collected on alternate weeks and we proffer them only when full (not overflowing or open in any way because they won't collect them if there is even a tomato skin peeking out of the lid). So to miss these collections is more serious, there was a time, in summer, when I was having a bit of difficulty working out the new system and the bins were almost certainly a cholera risk.

The recent Arctic conditions had kept the brown bin at bay. With the thaw, however, it got scary again, composting quietly away to itself. At the bottom there was the remains of a dinner from October and then the poor jasmine that fought so hard but just couldn't make it through minus 15, all seething in a cauldron of stink and flies, in a way that has Beloved offer payment to anyone who will venture instead of him to make offerings to it.

But the green paper bin had been overflowing before Santa ever arrived bearing goods in anything from copious to challenging packaging. And not just in our house. Since well before Christmas assorted coloured bins have been making optimistic appearances outside homes. At first solitary bins, standing alone in piles of snow and ice, then slush, hoping someone, anyone might make it up the Olympic ski run into the estate and relieve them of their load.

So as the weeks wore on, and more Tuesdays slid by untroubled by the squeaks and roars of the bin lorry, the solitary bins were solitary no more. A throng, a gang of bins loitered at every gate post every day. Was it black bin Tuesday or brown bin Tuesday? Was the green bin this week or next? No one knew as no one could keep track of the non-collection days. So we set them all out, begging someone to come and take them away. Two was the most we could hope for, but even one would do.

And finally it happened, last Tuesday I came home to the joyous sight of bins strewn all across the road, the driveway blocked with not only my own empty bins, but some of the neighbours' too. Now I just have to work out what to do with the 15, not exaggerating, (eco) black bags full of paper lurking (non cholerically at least) in the back garden.

Sunday Indo Living