I was thinking about recycling this morning. How it has changed our lives! The government have just produced green guidelines, and I was reading them at breakfast, a sort of mental checklist in the background. And this is what floated, like scum, to the surface of my thought ...
Now that the nights are drawing in, the clocks about to change for winter, we live once more in the grimly white light of energy-saving bulbs - and that's after the sad twilight of their warming-up period.
I rush neurotically in and out of the garden to save half-dried sheets as a sudden squall of rain/hail/sleet bursts from what was blue sky only minutes ago. I think of saving electricity by leaving my towels outside, but the rain wins and they come in, wetter than ever, and have to be spun again before I can do anything with them. Black marks for using even more power. [Note: it's really hard to follow this injuction about hanging out washing when you live in the West. It only works for about 5 months of the year, and not in the monsoon season]
There is a permanent pile of discarded paper just inside the back door. If it's windy outside, the paper blows irritatingly into the kitchen when you open the back door. If you're not careful, it can cause a nasty fall as you stand on it and go skiting over the lino. Ditto discarded poly envelopes from the million catalogues we haven't sent for. Plus point: I have become an expert at dismantling tetra paks and other composite packaging. Minus point: This is a skill I never sought.
There is an alarming double row of bottles beside the step into the pantry. If the number rises above ten, you stand the risk of tripping over them as the row infiltrates the already restricted floor space (see remarks about paper, above)
A little bin for peel, dead lettuce leaves, tealeaves and coffee grounds now occupies precious shelf space next to the sink. If it is raining (see above) it is unlikely that anyone will take it to the compost bin because of the long and rather soggy grass en route. When you lift the lid, there is a pungent smell of garlic and festering onion skins.
I have to conclude, I suppose, that there is a virtue in all this suffering and mess. On a day such as today has become, recycling and composting are a bane. But I have a sneaking feeling that the persistent beastliness of our weather has more than a tenuous link to the alternative.