Another use for a wheelie bin . . . (episode 62)


May 5 1999

10 Forsythia Grove
Outer Hamlet

My Dear Harriet

I have managed to rally dear – subsequent to a trip to see my chum Bunny Fortescue – out in the sticks at Nether Hoppington. Bunny is a retired gynaecologist, whose acquaintance I first made while undergoing a course of helicopter-flying lessons in my capacity of agent in charge of ‘Field Ops.’

Bunny, most usefully, has instructed me to deploy logic in the interpretation of the legion of physical symptoms described in my last missive. “What you’ve got to realize, Evangeline,” he declaimed, “Is that the human body reacts in a quite logical fashion to the presence of a tumour. And, if we take an ovarian tumour as our example, you can naturally understand that one of the first physical signs (given the presence of a mass) will be visible abdominal bloating. Now, it then makes sense, doesn’t it, that the mass might well press on adjacent digestive organs, causing appetite loss, and on the urinary bladder, causing urinary urgency.”

And do you know Harriet. This does indeed make quite excellent sense. One might even deploy the expletive ‘whoopee’ in response as I, myself, am not exhibiting/experiencing either abdominal bloating or any loss of appetite!

Once we’d got all that out of the way, Bunny settled down into his wheelie bin anecdote. It transpires that, just recently, the adjacent county of Littonshire has embarked upon charging £30.00 per annum for the supply of a garden wheelie bin. And Bunny has two of these if you count the one for his (fairly recently) deceased wife Angela. He told me that he’d paid a visit to the council to check upon his wheelie bin charges and that the clerk had solemnly intoned, “Well, there one for you, Mr Fortescue, and it’s free as you are disabled . . . And there’s also one for your wife Angela, who is also disabled . . . ”

Well dear, at this juncture, I did rather interpose, “Disabled Bunny? Are you?”

And Bunny hurrumphed rather, before informing me that he did have a recently-repaired mitral heart valve. “Luckily,” he said, this repair has not prevented me from tramping miles across the fields every week, to visit Angela’s grave, with a posie.”

I gazed across the table. “And what about the second bin, Bunny, also free of charge?”

“Well that’s just the thing E,” he said. “When the clerk reeled off the statement that Angela is ‘disabled,’ all I could do was confirm that she is, indeed, ‘very disabled.’ Death is, after all, very disabling . . . ”

We cogitated, for some minutes, upon this point. And then he said, “Actually, I have been thinking of taking the wheelie bin over there.”

“Where?” I said.

“The graveyard,” said Bunny. “I thought I might try to satisfy the ‘6-week residency condition’ and bring her home every so often. You know, dig her up and bring her back . . .”

“But isn’t the bin rather too short,” I said. “I seem to remember that Angela was rather a tall woman. Wouldn’t she stick out over the top?”

“Mmm,” said Bunny. “But it’s been nearly a year now, since her death, and she may have got shorter . . .”

“Nevertheless,” I said. “Suppose she hasn’t? It might be better to do all this after dark. And then you would only be heard, and not seen, trundling her back over the cobbles.”

“I thought a winter residency might be best,” said Bunny. “You know, the smell and all that. I think there might be room in the freezer.”

We both stared into space at this point, sipping our gins and visualizing this scene and the lengths one might have to go to, to satisfy the council’s garden wheelie bin eligibility conditions.

Anyway dear. How are you? Have you received your Decree Absolute yet and found some suitable activities with which to occupy your time?

Love, as ever,



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