All I want is a dustbin to call my own

`I had to pick my way through Puy lentils and woodcock carcasses to reach my doorstep'

THIS TIME last week, looking down on to the King's Road from my bedroom window, I could see Michael Portillo and Jeffrey Archer standing by the No 11 bus stop handing out blue balloons and "Vote Tory" stickers to passers-by.

Well, at least that's all over, and with any luck I shall never see either of them again. The chances of Mr Portillo setting foot in his new constituency this side of the new millennium are as thin as the smile of the woman at the exit door of the polling station last night when I told her that I had just voted for Lisa Lovebucket, People's Net Dream Ticket Party. In retrospect I rather wish I had. Who knows, we might have shared the same dreams, Miss Lovebucket and I.

My current dream, I may as well tell you, is to have my very own dustbin. It's not much to ask, but if you live in a flat in Chelsea it's like crying for the moon. Looking down from my bedroom window this morning, all I can see is the mountain of putrefying rubbish outside my front door.

Be warned, Mr Portillo, should you ever think of paying us a fleeting visit in between your ministerial duties, that's the way it works in your new constituency. You put your dustbin bag outside your front door on the appropriate day, and within seconds 50 other people have dumped theirs alongside it. Being Chelsea, it's superior rubbish, of course - you can see this when the dogs have split the bags open and the rats have had their pick. Many's the night I have had to pick my way through empty jars of Estee Lauder energising cream, vintage Dom Perignon bottles, Puy lentils and woodcock carcasses to reach my doorstep.

In the old days we put our rubbish in dustbins in the back yard, having lowered it on a hoist from the kitchen. It was an ingenious arrangement, albeit time-consuming because we live on the fifth floor. If you operated the winch too vigorously, all the rubbish fell off. Then the landlord declared the back yard out of bounds, and we had to put our rubbish on the pavement. I suppose he has plans for developing the yard into a gym or a shopping mall or a multi-storey car park. That's the sort of thing you do if you own a back yard in Chelsea. It's like sitting on a goldmine.

Oh, Miss Lovebucket, if only you and your People's Net Dream Ticket Party had got in, and your dreams had come true. Why, Chelsea might even have reverted to being a pleasant place in which to live. For ordinary people to live, I mean, not visiting American bankers on short-term contracts with Goldman Sachs, prepared to pay pounds 2,000 a week for a tarted-up workman's cottage. I can't honestly see Mr Portillo bothering his head about fair rents for his constituents. Maybe the new mayor will do something about it.

Talking of mayors, Lord Archer was supposed to be running the auction at the charity ball I went to last Saturday night. It was the same day I had seen him at the bus stop with his balloons. Owing to unforeseen circumstances Lord Archer would be unable to attend that evening, said the toastmaster - would we please give a round of applause for his stand- in. "Pity," said a granite-faced woman in purple who clearly knew the charity ball circuit well. (I don't.) "Jeffrey is absolutely brilliant at doing charity auctions. He does at least three a week, raises millions for all sorts of good causes. I do hope this little difficulty he's having doesn't mean he won't be doing them any more."

I never thought I'd say this, but five hours later I agreed with her. I shall probably never go to another charity ball, but if I do, please God Jeffrey Archer runs the auction; apparently he is not only good at it, he's also nippy - and if there is one quality that this particular art form requires, it is speed.

"The wonderful thing about Jeffrey," mused the woman in purple, "was that if the lots didn't reach the price he thought they should, he didn't hang around - he just bought them himself. He's terribly decent that way." That at least should cheer him up a little.

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year


Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk