Our local council has just reinstated annual bulk garbage collections and I'm so glad they have. For my old mate Badger and I they were the highlight of the year because we'd sit at the window to watch my male staff clearing out the shed. He and I would watch my male staff enter the shed, full of purpose and intent. We'd hear a few scuffles and thumps and bangs as he moved stuff around, then there'd be an almighty shout of "Faaaaaaaaaark!" as he shifted a large box of junk only to disturb what he'd later describe as an eight foot long taipan. "As thick as my wrist." (A taipan is a variety of particularly venomous snake quite common in these parts.) We'd then watch as my male staff would burst from the shed at a surprisingly high speed for a middle aged human, pursued by the above serpent who was obviously not best pleased at having his winter hibernation disturbed. This sort of event could be relied upon to occur at least once during every shed clearing out session and was particularly satisfying to watch if it had been raining because invariably my male staff would slip on the grass in his anxiety to get away from the snake, ending up on his backside, frantically scrabbling about in the mud in an attempt to escape the "fangs of death" as he liked to call them when recanting the tale to others. Each time he told the tale the snake got larger and the fangs got longer and closer; so close in fact that he claimed he could see the venom dripping from them. Once he'd calmed down and changed his trousers because, he claimed, they were muddy, (I for one don't believe for a moment that it was mud.) he and my female staff would go out looking for the snake to make sure it didn't go back into the shed. They found a harmless two foot long tree snake.
Even more entertaining were my male staff's encounters with spiders who upon alighting on his clothing would make an immediate bee-line for the nearest opening - a sleeve, a collar or best of all a trouser leg. Readers of earlier posts may recall that my male staff makes a particular sound when under attack from a large hairy spider, or even a small non-hairy one for that matter. It's best described as a sort of high pitched "ai-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" and on shed clearing days this sound is most commonly followed by my male staff stumbling from the shed with his shirt off and his trousers around his ankles as he strips off in an attempt to locate the offending arachnid. On one occasion this did prove useful as Badger and I had been watching with trepidation the approach of a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses intent on expounding the advantages of joining then in prayer. Luckily their arrival coincided with a large, particularly furry huntsman spider courageously scuttling up my male staff's trouser leg.
I can still see the look on the Jehovah's Witnesses faces as a shrill cry of "ai-eeeeeeeeeee!" came from the shed and a large man with wild eyes and lowered trousers lurched out in front of them and, snatching their Watch Tower magazine from their hands started beating himself around the legs with it. Oddly we haven't been bothered by Jehovah's Witnesses since that day.
Anyway, this weekend as my male staff cleared out the shed I suggested to Baci, Alfie and Tom that they might like to watch from the window. They agreed to join me because there was nothing much else to do except perhaps munch on a little hay. I told them that they could do that any time, but that the shed clearing happened only once a year if you were lucky. So the four of us positioned ourselves with our furry noses pressed to the glass and waited for the show to start.
It was a bit slow to begin with. For an hour or so we watched as my male staff dragged various items of junk from the shed and placed them in a large pile by the side of the road. There was an old settee, a large piece of mouldy carpet, an old television and the outdoors cage that I refused to use. (Do I look like an outdoors guinea pig to you?) It's about fifty yards from the shed to the road where the junk needed to be left for collection so my male staff piled the stuff into the Hyundai Getz and drove it so that he wouldn't have to make multiple journeys with lots of heavy items, he can be quite smart for a human sometimes. However, on this occasion things went slightly awry. After the final load he left the Getz parked next to the pile of junk and strolled back to the shed to give it a bit of a sweep.
Baci, Alfie, Tom and I were bitterly disappointed. Indeed I was a little embarrassed too after telling the others what a wonderful afternoon of entertainment they had in store. It looked as though it was all over. The garbage truck arrived and two burly men in high visibility jackets started heaving our pile of junk into the back of the open truck. In less then ten minutes they'd finished, or at least we thought they had. The two burly blokes were sizing up the Getz. I nudged Baci. "This could get interesting after all." I said.
"Oi Jacko!" One of the big blokes called. "Give us a hand with this will ya?" Another burly bloke in high visibility jacket climbed down out of the driver's side of the truck and the three of them positioned themselves around the little yellow Getz and with a heave lifted it up and put it on the back of the truck, then climbed into the cab as the four of us guinea pigs looked on with interest.
"ai-eeeeeeeeee" cried my male staff from within the shed. At last, things were looking up.
He burst out of the shed, brush in one hand, trousers in the other just in time to see the garbage truck pull away from the kerb with his beloved Hyundai Getz on the back.
Unencumbered by trousers he raced after the truck yelling at the top of us voice. "Hey! Stop! You've got my car." Not unnaturally, the truck driver, upon seeing a trouser-less madman chasing them while waving a broom, accelerated in an attempt to escape but after a mile or so he had to stop at some roadworks at which point my male staff was able to catch up and between gasps of breath managed to persuade the garbage men that he was not a dangerous escaped lunatic but the legitimate owner of the little car on the back of their truck. Anyway, between the four of them they managed to return the car to the road and my male staff, still trouser-less drove it home. I only wish I had been there when he was stopped by the police for a random breath test on the way.
At furst wen Uncal Billy sed that watching hiz male staff cleering owt the shed wood be fun I thort like......BORING. I'd much rather be chooing on sum hay, but then wen hiz staff came owt of the shed wiv no trowsas I wuz like.........Woah! Kool. Look at those funny pink hairy legs and the underwear wiv the pitcha of the Incredible Hulk on the frunt. Maybe Uncal Billy wuz rite after all.