If there is one thing you do not want to be caught out on, it is being late putting out the rubbish bin! One morning I was still in that state between awake and asleep, though more asleep than awake, when I hear the well known roar of the rubbish truck’s engine and the peep, peep, peep, peep as it stops a bit further down the street. Quick as a flash I jumped out of bed, pulled on my track pants and rushed outside, grabbed the rubbish bin and ran bare feet over the gravel (You know the saying about the voortrekker tannies going bare feet over the mountains!) and made it just in time for the rubbish truck driver.
The garbage trucks and their drivers still have the ability to stop me in my tracks, when I am not running to meet them with a bin in tow. (Remember that I do not do running – but when you are faced with household rubbish piling up for another week, you do it without a thought.) The boys love the two steering wheels and the mechanical arm that lifts and puts the bins down with …well mechanical precision. And I? Well, I stand and remember the days when there were anything from three to six people running behind the truck, picking up the rubbish bags and throwing them in the back of the truck. I remember almost as if yesterday the frustration when a bag broke and everything was left as is. I also remember how people would forage through the rubbish…
Here a municipality is called a shire, and in most shires you have a green bin with a green lid and a green bin with a yellow lid. The green lid is for household rubbish (It will do you good to ensure there is a bag in, and one of those poison thingies that keep the flies and the maggots away, lest you are invaded by maggots, as I told in my Aussie Salute post.) The yellow lid is for recycling. Either inside or on top (Cremora with you coffee any one? It’s not inside it’s on…top…) is a list of eveything that can be recycled. Please ensure that you know what can be and what can not be. It will make the job for the people sorting your rubbish, much easier. Some shires even give bins for green waste – I do not know the colour of their lids. That is where you dump the garden rubbish after a Saturday’s toil in the sun.
Can you believe it – a whole post about rubbish (hopefully it is not a rubbish post!). The one type of rubbish that I love looking at however is the verge collection rubbish. I love it and I hate it. Verge collection happens once or sometimes twice a year. In stead of you loading all your (please pardon the French) crap on the back of your ute (bakkie) or Ventertjie, you put it outside on the verge. People take their lamington drives (slow relaxed Sunday afternoon drive) past the homes and have a stickybeak (look around) at the things people chuck out.
This past Sunday I went to drop of my lounge suite cushions (upcycling them) and it was verge collection day in the suburb. At the front of the home there was a perfect queen size futon, that no one wanted to buy on Gumtree – free, gratis and verniet for anyone who wanted it. As I was talking to the lady and taking photos to go with this post I saw that she had creepy crawly pipes laying there as well. Eureka! I thought – I need those to get the greywater from the washing mashine to the lawn. And so one woman’s trash became my treasure.
I love and hate verge collection dates. Love it because it provides an opportunity to get incredible stuff for free. (It also gives you a bird’s eye view of how certain people live and there is only one word to describe it – SIF.) There sometimes are lounge suites, that just need a bit of TLC (all right a hell of a lot of TLC) but if you are willing to do it, you can take it. Near the leisure centre where my boy has his home school co-op meetings there is a head board of a single bed that I can just see being transformed into a shabby chic one. But knowing my husband he will say, “No, we already have too many things.” So I just keep looking at it, sighing inwardly, because I know what will happen to it if not taken. And that is what I hate about verge collections. The trucks will come, the little replica’s of bulldozers will pick it up and drop it in the back of the trucks and a perfectly good and useable headboard will be crushed. My heart pounds when I see how things that are still in good nick are thrown out to make place for the next new things, that will be thrown out while still in good nick to make space for the next new things. The wastefulness of the first world people fill me with sadness because I know a country… another great south land… where things will not reach the back of a truck.
Dear Migrant to the Great South Land,
Be prepared to wait and stand in awe of the rubbish truck for the first couple of months. When we had our first visitors they loved standing by the front door looking at the truck and its two steering wheels and mechanical arms. It definitely is not a case of small things amusing small minds. It just has some magical power.
Gents, you’ll have to start toughening the soles of your feet in the way that Shaka Zulu did with his impi’s, because gravel and those little stones make you look as if you are running on hot coals as you rush to put the bin out, when you have forgotten to do it the night before. Us girls have got it covered, remember the kaalvoet oor die berge tannies were our ansisters (I know the correct spelling by the way).
Make sure you understand what goes in which bin, which days are recycle days and which are not. And enjoy your first sticky beak as you do a lamington drive during the verge collection days when you arrive. I hope you score a couple of bargains at the roadside, you never know what you may pick up.
Many of you are getting ready for the big clean before the groot trek, if there is something that you do not want – give it away. The receiver will be ever thankful. You are going to miss the joy of giving and the often unbridled joy of the receiver, when you see the truck crush a perfectly useable headboard.