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What's my home worth?

An hour of rubbish.

Apparently I am grumpy on Tuesday mornings. That's because Tuesday is rubbish day and we have to get our rubbish bags out on the street by seven o'clock in the morning.

Peter Matthews

I get up at six and put the kettle on and if I'm lucky I will remember what day it is before it's too late. In fact, it is often not collected until much later, or even the next day, but the day I am late will be the day they come at seven.

If I do remember, I rush round the house gathering refuse from various rooms and bathrooms (and the latest batch from the kitchen) and then spend half an hour in the garage sifting though it all.

This is when the mood begins to deteriorate. I can hear myself droning on at the kids: "Squashed is not flattened! Oat milk containers are not recyclable!". It was the same when we had a cafe a few years ago - the cardboard recycling bin out the back was forever full of imperfectly flattened boxes - and we had to pay for it to be emptied when it was full, which it always was because the cardboard was not flattened properly.

It's not hard to flatten a cardboard box - you just have to make the decision to do it - after that it's common sense.

However, almost invariably the best I get is squashed, and the soft plastics will be mixed in with the eggshells, and some of the tin cans will be dripping with tomato sauce - How can anyone maintain a sunny demeanour when dealing with all that on a cold wet Tuesday morning?

A year or so ago I made my teenage son stand and watch while I went though the palaver. He didn't enjoy it much - that was the point - I wanted to inconvenience him into lessening my workload by doing what I'd asked him to do in the first place.

It worked for a while.

It's the same with clothes pegs; we are always running out of pegs because they ping off the clothesline into the long grass when the kids yank the clothes off the line. Then I mow them and we get multi-coloured plastic shards throughout the back lawn. And the ones that don't end up in the grass find their way into the house amongst the laundry from whence they pop up all over the house and then promptly disappear.

The thing is, when a person is standing in the kitchen with an empty pizza box, or by the clothesline when a peg takes flight, the easiest thing to do, at that point in time, is to stick the box straight in the cupboard, or not to notice the trajectory of the peg. The fairies will take care of it from there.

This is how it is the world over, and this is why the changes which are necessary to fix the planet must come from the top, as they are now beginning to do.

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