Ipple-Pen Diary. Skip Time

It is a strange time at the moment in Ipplepen being that period between the end of the post – Christmas January sales (unless of course you are a furniture retailer when the sales never bloody end) and the arrival of Easter.

Do we have an Easter bunny still doing the rounds?

Easter by the way this year falls on the weekend of the 19th April.

It is that time of year when people feel what is a primeval calling to set about the essential (and usually tedious) jobs about the house and then ‘Spring Clean’.

Why is it in our house Spring Cleaning which also includes ‘sorting out the wardrobes’ doesn’t as it implies mean (or at least for Liz) throwing stuff away?

What it should really be called is ‘re-arranging the wardrobes to fit more in’.

It’s also time to watch the weather forecast before deciding whether it is to be slapping emulsion on the spare bedroom ceiling or go outside to weed the garden.

As is the case what usually happens is that half way through you either run out of emulsion or worse still the house ‘senior site supervisor’ – she is called Liz in our home – decide the colour (note to my USA readers there is a u in colour) is not what she likes anymore.

So it’s off to the Wellington and just as well the landlord isn’t suffering from Winter Miserable Bastard Syndrome because he/she can expect busy nights as the men escape from the turmoil of the house being turned upside down.

It’s just as well they don’t water the beer down or there would be a riot in the village.

By the way someone who reads my blog asked how big the town of Ipplepen is…..

The locals will go apoplectic at any suggestion that we are a town.

One advantage of living in a village like Ipplepen is that we don’t have that most anti-social of establishments namely a take-away.

You can get a take-away meal from the Welly or from a mobile fish and chip van that comes on Thursday but that is it which means we can look out of our windows without having to look on a mountain of litter and discarded take away containers.

Having come from a large town in the Midlands (OK Northampton) where litter is a major problem and health hazard because let’s face it where there is rubbish and discarded food there are rats who quite frankly are presented with their preferred diet- namely shit – everywhere.

It is a joy to live in a place where sighting a rat is a major event.

It is also that time of year that people order skips where people are able to display all of their rubbish to their neighbours and allow them the opportunity to do a number of things.

The first is to look and privately tut tut at the crass style, sophistication and choices of others.

Secondly of course is that most certain of all statements that one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure which means that plans need to be put into place to retrieve items from other people’s skips whilst surreptitiously depositing rubbish in skips across the village.

The skill in making a deposit of is in waiting for that brief moment when the attention of the skip owner is distracted and in the limited time available to silently deposit unwanted items into the skip.

It it a fact of life that there is very little in the whole universe to match the look on a skip owners face when they discover that in the seconds they were distracted they find that the skip – their skip – the skip that they have paid for – and the skip that moments ago was empty is now full to overflowing and there isn’t a single person in sight who could have done it.

Retrieval (or if you prefer the liberation) of items from a skip is carried out in two stages.

The first is to walk around the village giving skips at first a cursory glance before returning a few days later and at a slower pace giving it a more detailed look to identify what may be recycled serviceable stuff.

The second stage is to liberate the identified item/s which can only safely be carried under the cover of darkness which requires a great deal of planning not the least being to accustom the eyes to night vision.

The outcome of these manoeuvres that would put most military organisations to shame is that by the end of the week the vast majority of stuff in the skips is now safely houses across the village and the skips are almost empty.

To newcomers to Ipplepen and villages across Devon it is a mystery that they don’t understand that borders on something akin to the Wicker Man but in time they will join in and so continue the annual skip ritual.