The ice is out in full force at the moment which means my walk to work takes on a whole new challenge, where just staying on your feet becomes a task equivalent to reading war and peace. This takes on an added dimension when the ice is combined with the fun that is recycling day, where it is not only the invisible black icy patches that have to be avoided.
This being York, nearly everyone recycles. Down our street where the average age is about 152 the recycling boxes are mainly just newspapers, with the odd plastic container that probably contained Horlicks thrown in. We obviously have a few more glass items in ours, although this week I was incredibly embarrassed putting out the bottles. There was only 4 in there, what must people have thought. I promise I’ll try harder this fortnight.
Obviously down the main street there is a much wider variety of recycling coming out of the big houses. Despite the obvious dangers of tripping over escaped caviar pots or rolling champagne bottles I must admit I find the chance to see what people are buying fascinating. Before recycling became popular the only way to know what complete strangers had for tea was to go through their dustbins which is borderline stalking apparently. However now just walking down the street allows those of us with a keen interest in the human race (some people call it nosy, I just like to think I am interested in my surroundings) access behind closed doors.
Of course the problem with that is you don’t get the full picture. It’s easy to see what people had for tea with the abundance of organic M&S ready meal wrappers. There is one house that I swear must buy the same ready meals from waitrose every week. It’s good to have a routine I suppose although personally I prefer a bit more variety in my food.
The ones that really frustrate me are the abundance of amazon parcels, especially the book shaped ones. Short of actually picking them up and hoping the delivery notes have been left inside (which I would do if I thought I’d get away without being seen) there are no clues from the outside as to what was inside. I’d love to be able to see into people’s houses and look through their books. There should be a website where people could post up pictures of their bookshelves for me to peruse. It would be like Waterstones but without the impossible to resist temptation of actually buying books.
Unfortunately until then I’ll just have to continue trying to spot peoples bookshelves through their windows and trying to guess what the latest purchase is. At least once the ice has gone it’ll make the walk a bit safer and I can concentrate on looking at the recycling rather than trying to spot patches of ice.
Those of you have read any of my previous blogs know my love of a jiffy bag arriving. This week it has been jiffy bag galore around us. You could tell it had been pay day as it seemed every house had been ordering things. Of course down our street all parcels end up being delivered to Hilda 1. It’s nothing to do with the size of either the parcel or the letterbox, mainly it’s the fact that Pete the postie gets intercepted with the offer of help as soon as he turns into the street. On the odd occasion I’m actually in at lunchtime, watching him is great fun. You can see the look of fear on his face as he creeps round the houses trying desperately not to make any sound that might alert the Hilda’s to his presence. Sadly for him Hilda 1 has the hearing of an Owl (seriously, this is the woman who once told me she had heard a rat climbing into my hanging basket) so most days he is unable to avoid her.
This week the street has had a whole range of items delivered, from vitamins to clothing to a new frying pan. Of course mine were jiffy bags of knowledge containing books as always. This week they were even better from my point of view, as they were both books I’d been sent from America to review, so I’m very excited.
The slight problem with getting things delivered to Hilda 1 is that as she goes to bed at 4.30pm you always have to wait until the next morning to get the parcel. Although handily it’s always delivered with the 7am weather forecast and her top tip of the day. Friday’s tip for those of you interested was that you should always use lard when making pastry not butter, helpful to know at 7am.
Of course the fact that I know what everyone else down the street has bought also means that they all know my purchasing habits too. This led to the women over the road, we’ll call her Marina, commenting how she can’t believe I have so much time to read. This is the kind of comment that annoys me, in my experience everyone has the time to read if they want to. For some people checking their email is such an addiction there is barely time in their lives for anything else, similarly those who put constant updates on facebook are often those complaining of lack of time.
Marina is a classic example of a woman who spends hours doing non necessary (in my view) tasks. Putting aside the stream of male visitors that appear as soon as her husband turns her back, just friends obviously, this is the woman that seems to be obsessed with saving the street from the dangers of winter weather.
At the first sign of a morning frost she’s outside with her bucket and trowel throwing sand around until even the seagulls get confused and start circling overhead looking for the sea. When it was snowing, you’d think it was about to be the end of the world. Every time I looked out the window she was out with her shovel moving the snow, only for it to be completely covered again within an hour. Not that it deterred her or the Hilda’s who joined her in the fight against snow. . It was truly one of the most pointless tasks I’ve ever seen, especially as it all disappeared overnight anyway. This is the problem with a lack of reading I think, maybe if she’d read more books she would have known that snow is only temporary and does eventually melt! I think I need to introduce her to the joys of amazon and she might start getting the jiffy bags of knowledge too.