Rude Awakening (1 of 2)

It’s rubbish collection day. The bin men arrive early, before 7.00 a.m.

‘Up country’ you’d just leave the wheelie bin out overnight but this far off the beaten track the black plastic bin liner still reigns supreme. By the morning the foxes would have spread its contents half way up the road, our fondness for Waitrose ready meals and Magnum chocolate ice cream bars laid bare for all to see.

And so, on bin day, we have settled into a highly satisfactory routine. Mike gets up as soon as the alarm goes off, pulls on some old clothes and climbs up the hill to the road. He leaves the black sacks at the end of the drive. There’s a precise spot. Six inches either side and a strange form of peripheral blindness, known only to bin men, seems to come into play. How so satisfactory? On his return Mike makes coffee and brings mine upstairs as a wake up call.

Except that this morning there is no coffee to wake up to. And no Mike either for that matter. Time to mull over the list of jobs for the day. But as the minutes tick by I’m beginning to wonder what has happened to Mike. He’s been gone far too long.

I pull on my own set of old clothes and start up the steps to the road.

Voices from higher up.

At the top, hastily discarded bin bags and up on the road, a group of people. Far too many people for this early in the morning, in the middle of nowhere. Neighbour Trevor is perched atop his quad bike.

“Ahhh, you’ve missed all the fun…”