It has come to something when you warm to the new local rubbish tip

Plus: Well done Ed Balls for taking your speeding ticket like a man

Share

A while back, with stuff to throw out that was unworthy of the local charity shop, I looked up the council’s provision for refuse disposal. The website referred me to a “facility” which – it also informed me – was closed. Last week, with a decrepit exercise bike to get rid of, I found that the “household waste recycling centre”, redesigned and refurbished, had reopened. It would be an exaggeration to say that I couldn’t wait to get down there, but I’ve been a bit of an aficionado of municipal dumps (as they were once called) ever since we discovered the local déchèterie when we had a house in France.

The déchèterie was a small marvel of French rationality. It hid behind high gates, beyond the Bricomarché and the McDonald’s, and it kept very French hours, with a generous break for lunch. It was a essentially a mound encircled at ground level by colour-coded skips.  You drove (but only when invited) up the steep slope to the top, backed up to the desired section, and threw the pruned branches, boxes or whatever overboard. Woe betide you if you moved your car out of turn or failed to reverse neatly into the designated spot.

If it wasn’t too busy, the attendants weren’t averse to helping a damsel out of her absurdly over-laden distress. They sometimes even asked whether you wanted to keep the big green plastic bags. They liked to be asked for advice.

Which is one reason why, overjoyed to have found Smugglers (no apostrophe) Way without getting lost in a jungle of DIY stores, I paused at the gate to ask which category the bike went into. The attendant smiled indulgently and said Number 12, scrap metal. I backed badly into a space and threw the pieces over the railings to join other gnarled bits of metal in the skip below. All very satisfactory. “We hope,” said a notice at the exit, “it went smoothly.” Thank you, it did. 

The council seems pretty pleased with its new recycling centre, too. Opened by the mayor, it’s described thus: “The new split-level design separates the public from operational activities, and a traffic management system keeps cars flowing through in a controlled manner.” “Visitors” – a nice touch, that – “can deposit their waste and recycling from a special walkway.” You can also “view the length of any queues” on the website before leaving home. The sense of pride is so Gallic, you could translate it almost word for word into French. 

Ed Balls took it like a man

Whatever the judgement on Chris Huhne’s services to literature when he writes his prison memoir, as he surely will, he’s already performed a huge service to road safety. Never will a senior politician be tempted to lie or dissemble about a speeding ticket. Well, perhaps not never, but not for a long time. How well this lesson has been learned was illustrated by Ed Balls’s model response to being zapped recently by a speed camera on the M62.

“Like many local people” – note the politician’s perpetual quest for affinity with his constituents – “I was caught out by the never-ending roadworks on the M62,” he wrote on his blog. “I was caught – and bang to rights – doing 56 in a  50-mile restriction zone.” He said he’d paid his fine and attended a speed awareness course. “I currently have no points on my licence and would like to keep it that way.”

You bet he would. Imagine what Yvette would say if he even hinted that she might take his points on her licence, what  with her being shadow Home Secretary and all.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Taking on Ukip requires a delicate balancing act for both main parties

Andrew Grice
Today is a bigger Shabbes than usual in the Jewish world because it has been chosen to launch the Shabbos Project  

Shabbes exerts a pull on all Jews, and today is bigger than ever

Howard Jacobson
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker