Cold Turkey

It’s been quite a successful weekend. The Christmas tree has been bought and the thirsty thing now sits in the back garden in a bucket of water, gasping. It has had a tough time getting to the tree enclosure at Aldi and I can’t promise it a better life when it moves indoors in a few days time. Still, a farm shop was selling them for an eye-wateringly exorbitant price so the supermarket had our business. As well as the tree being sorted out, there is now a turkey in the freezer, Christmas cards are written and ready to post and I have dug in a couple of roses as instructed.
It was a grey Sunday. Had a good walk in the pale grey countryside, the blank uniform sunless sky shrouded in cloud so low that you could almost reach up and touch it. The sort of still silent, muffled, cawing crow day when your hair gets soggy just by walking through the murk and every thread in the cobwebs is picked out by the hanging droplets.
I don’t know if it is a lockdown thing but I have become a rag-and-bone man, or so I have been told. The hedgerows have been cut recently and the severe haircut has exposed discarded cans and plastic bottles chucked out of the windows of passing cars. A year ago, I might have walked past and tutted at how messy human beings are as a race, mumbling dirty buggers. But now I have to pick them up and carry them back home to throw them in the big green bin.
I passed a neighbour a couple of days ago on my homeward leg while clutching four crumpled cans of Red Bull, an Oasis bottle, three plastic water bottles and five cans of Thatchers Gold cider. I guess we are in the country but even so. The neighbour shares the name of a well know successful author but it isn’t him. He eyed me, carrying the detritus in each hand and said, “Ah, so that’s your role now is it?” It seems my destiny has been decided. Goodness knows what happened to the last rag-and-bone man. Maybe I’ll find him discarded in a ditch one day.

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