WE’VE all been banned from leaving more than four bags of garden waste a fortnight out for collection.

It seems the council is anxious to avoid a repetition of last year’s problems, when ideal growing conditions caused a huge backlog.

While it’s tempting to criticise, doing so would also be a bit unfair. For one thing, there’s a recycling centre at Cheney Manor open to anybody who has a car or a friend with one.

For another, some of the people flouting the four bag limit have apparently been leaving about 40 on the kerb. Anybody whose land produces that much spare vegetation probably has access to a tractor and a combine harvester, never mind a car.

In any case, if we don’t fancy a trip to the tip, we have the opportunity to revive two splendid traditions of British horticulture: composting and bonfires.

For composting you will need a big bin, a load of old leaves, grass and stuff, assorted food waste and any old rubbish you can think of. Old rubbish, organic or not, is a traditional part of home-made British compost. Anything from redundant bicycle components and chemical waste to dead pigeons, discarded medical dressings and perhaps even the odd body part will give your plants, flowers and veg that special something.

You will also need worms and other invertebrates to break down the compost.

Dig these up from elsewhere in the garden. You may find that they suss out what you have in mind for them, primitive brains or not, and attempt to flee in terror from your shovel as you ferry them to the compost bin.

Harden your heart against their entreaties, no matter how pathetic the slugs and snails look with their little antennae clasped in supplication. Ignore the worms as they desperately wriggle to spell out the words: “Please God, no, not the compost heap!”

Be careful, though, if you’ve been too heavy on the chemical waste. There’s always the risk of those same beasties growing to the size of Neopolitan Mastiffs and coming after you one night with their hearts full of vengeance.

Alternatively, you might prefer to opt for that other summer favourite, the bonfire. Some people say bonfires are impractical for disposing of garden waste, as it tends to be bit moist unless you leave it for a few days to dry out.

Such people have no idea what they’re talking about. As any bonfire enthusiast in this fine nation knows, anything can be made to burn well.

It’s just a case of stacking it carefully to allow oxygen ready access, distributing the driest material evenly and then chucking an old tyre on the top so the burning rubber drips down over everything else.

If you don’t have an old tyre, improvise with anything else you have lying about that might be flammable. Random boxes of junk from the shed or garage are good, but if you like a laugh use a six foot wide roll of carpet and keep glancing around nervously.

Then the neighbours will think you’re a murderer.

Let's recharge our batteries - literally

THE Central Library is apparently under fire because it’s introduced a 50p a day charge for public use of its electrical sockets.

Seemingly some of the people using them to charge mobiles, laptops and other devices were becoming bored while they waited and then hassling staff and other library users.

Forgive me if I seem out of touch, but I never knew there was free leccy at the library in the first place. Had I known, I’d have been down there every day with my mobile, my laptop and every other chargeable electrical device I own, not to mention my telly, my games console and my microwave and toaster in case I fancied a snack.

Now I suppose I’ll have to carry on charging things in my home and paying for the power I use, just like everybody else. Oh, the unfairness of it.


CERTAIN councillors have been accused of failing to turn up to enough meetings.

Various political parties accuse one another of this from time to time.

Before I muster any outrage in such cases, I like to wait for any evidence that a single policy decision would have been different had the missing councillors been present.

It’s been about 15 years and I’m still waiting.