Sunday 18 April 2010

For Fox Sake

What a sight greeted me on opening the full-length french window curtains this morning. An azure blue sky, with not a cloud, or billow of volcanic fallout, in sight. Yesterday's crisply-mown grass bathed in Spring sunshine, a barbecue which seemed to be pleading for use ... and a dead fox cub slap bang in the middle of the back garden.


So, having located a spade, I waved my way through the congregating flies and scooped it into a black bin bag. Not an easy task seeing as it had died lying full length, tail straight out and was stiff as a board. In hindsight I should have put him in head first as his snout and half-open eyes were peeping out of the top of the bag. I found that a bit creepy so another bag was required to go over the top.

What to do with it now, though? I didn't fancy it rotting in my bin for four days and, being Sunday, no-one was answering the phone at the council. Can you believe I actually tried to ring them? Yeah, seriously. I actually had a notion that there might be a skeleton staff on a Sunday fielding calls. Don't laugh.

Still, the dump waste and recycling centre was open so off I trotted to do my civic duty and dispose of it responsibly.

Now, in common with other authorities, this council has long since dispensed with you running in, dumping your waste and letting the employees, whose wages we pay, sort it out. Nope, we have to sort it into about a dozen different receptacles ourselves. And of course, a stream of householders understandably wandering around like confused chickens trying to work out where to put everything takes time.

Hence the 50 minute queue to get in the place.

The centre is so close that I could have walked there, but that's out too as they won't allow you in on foot. Can you guess why?

The council love to boast about how environmentally friendly their recycling initiatives are, but I'm sure they don't count engine emissions from queues of 50 cars, waiting 50 minutes each, over a 6 hour period, every Sunday.

Still, I couldn't think of anywhere else to dispose of it, so just played Jewels on my phone as I inched along to the site, with one of the little Puddlecotes (the girl), bored as hell, alerting me each time the car in front moved.

I finally reached the front of the queue where a kind of triage dump worker waste management operative, grimacing as I described my cargo, directed me to the landfill container.

Those naughty bags aren't allowed in the landfill container so two guys waste technicians were on hand to help empty the contents. I told them I had a dead fox and panic ensued.

"We don't do dead animals!", one repeatedly exclaimed, "We don't DO dead animals, do we John?" was barked over at the orange-jacketed guy overseeing the rubble skip. "No, mate, we don't do dead animals", came the expected reply. By now, everyone who was previously busy throwing their rubbish in skips had stopped and were looking at me, holding a big black bag, and wondering what kind of dead animal I was trying to dump.

A ten minute conversation with a supervisor ensued, during which I was told I should call the RSPCA, tried that; that I should call the council, tried that; that it was 'chemical waste' and that "we don't do dead animals". By this time, I was getting the idea that they didn't do dead animals.

"Dead animals can carry diseases, you see, mate. You'll have to take it home and call the council tomorrow". I pointed out, politely, that the precise fucking reason I brought it to them was that dead animals carry diseases and I didn't want it in my garden.

That was when one had the idea that, and I'm not kidding, I could just throw it over into my neighbour's garden. I am usually good at thinking on my feet but I stared at him and couldn't think of an answer to such a daft suggestion. It seemed like there was an impasse until I asked if there was anyone they could ring on a Sunday. They all shook their heads ... until one got his phone out and rang someone called Mick. The call lasted about 20 seconds, after which he told me I could leave it there and they would get the council to collect it in the morning.

"We don't normally do dead animals,", he explained (you don't fucking say!), "but as it's Sunday, Mick says it's OK". Hallelujah! Thank the Lord for Mick, whoever he is.

This happens every time I try to get rid of waste items. Regular readers might remember the opposite of recycling when B&Q refused to take back, for free, brand new kitchen cabinet doors and panels. And if you've never tried to organise collection of corrugated asbestos roof panels, which had been minding their own business on my garage since 1929 before being replaced, at which time they became nuclear in their make-up, you quite simply haven't trawled the depths of local authority bureaucracy and intransigence.

Now, I'm quite happy to do my bit to ensure rubbish is disposed of responsibly, as are most people, but how can councils complain about fly-tipping or householders simply hiding recyclables in refuse bags, when they put so many obstacles in front of us?

After wasting an hour and a half of a rare sunny April Sunday battling with an ill thought-out civic amenity, I'm not eager to repeat the experience and can see why many choose to hang the consequences and just get their rubbish out of sight and mind by whatever means possible.

And a fox deciding, of all the hundreds of gardens around here, to drop dead in mine, doesn't make me too averse to Cameron's free vote to repeal the hunting ban, either ... though I wouldn't want to be the hunt follower who has the job of disposing of the carcass on a Sunday.


Sean O'Hare said...

Why didn't you just dig a hole and bury it?

Dippyness. said...

We don't hunt on Sundays.. 8)

Dick Puddlecote said...

Sean: There is nowhere to dig unless I make a hole in the grass. And even then, I reckon the adult would come tonight and dig it back up again.

JuliaM said...

" during which I was told I should call the RSPCA"

Not wanting to question the searing intellect that is your usual council employee, but wasn't it a little, well, late for their involvement..? Being stone-cold dead and all?

Sean O'Hare said...

It didn't have to be in your garden. If you live in the city how about a local council run park or the bit of waste land at the back of the town hall?

Dick Puddlecote said...

I like your style, Sean. :-)

Anonymous said...

Dick,you know very well you
could have left the poor bugger
at any Wetherspoons bar.
The recently deceased,semi cold,
ready-for-mummification and CAMRA
are allways welcome now that the
normal smoking species have deserted them.

Stranded by ASH

Chuckles said...

NEVER call the RSPCA, they would have done you for not looking after it, keeping a wild hannimule without a letter from on high, neglect etc etc etc. Don't go there.

Hint, What are neighbours for? Hint squared, How do you think it got into your garden? You're just returning the favour.

JuliaM said...

"Hint, What are neighbours for? Hint squared, How do you think it got into your garden? You're just returning the favour."

Hmmm, it's possible poor Reynard travelled more when it was dead than it ever did alive..! ;)

The Boggart said...

I remember going to the tip to dispose of a very small fridge, it had just closed so placed the fridge with the other stuff people had left outside neatly, out of the corner of my eye I spotted a twat in a Football kit writing something down and then dart back in the weighing station further down.
Being alerted to there being something wrong I luckily placed the offending fridge back in the boot & went to inquire what he was jotting down.
The little hitler in the England kit then told me I will be prosecuted for flytipping!
I explained that I had put it back in my car so no offence to report.
Plus I ppointed out I don't take orders from grown men who go to work at the tip in a Footie kit.
He scrubbed my reg no off his list.
I nearly went to court & ensuing criminal record etc.. for flytipping at the fucking tip for fuck sake.

Joe Public said...

What's wrong with the food-recycling bin? [If it's good enough for parts of cows, sheep, chickens & pigs then a bit of fox wouldn't seem amiss.]

I'm concerned about the attitude that dead animals carry diseases - has anyone told McDonalds?

Junican said...


It is obvious that you are too intelligent for your own good. Think average local authority tenant. What is this dead thing? Nothing to do with me - chuck it in street (preferably nearer to next door than to yourself). Or tape it up in a bin bag or two and bung it in the bin. Does the binman care? No. Does the chief exec care? No.

As an anti-smoking ban man, you should know better than to ask a council official for advice!

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

I see, Boggart; there's enough money to employ council cancers to note people's registration numbers, but not enough to open the tip.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Just to let you know, my sister thought I had made this up until I went through the whole thing in minute detail. She was laughing so much she had tears in her eyes by the time I'd finished (I fully described the problems surrounding putting a stiff full-length fox into a black bag).

killemallletgodsortemout: I'm not brave enough to try disposing of paint. What do you take me for? Someone with a day spare?

Boggart: "flytipping at the fucking tip for fuck sake". I know. Daft. But at least you'd have got your pic in the Daily Mail. ;-)