Given that, under the latest round of restrictions we are limited in our movements to a distance of 10 km from our homes, a trip to the dump is an exciting outing!
By the way, since there’s not much visual interest to be found in the topic, I am illustrating this little post with pictures of my favourite example of my favourite animal who is staying with us for a couple of weeks.
Seriously, we really like our dump, or recycling centre as it should more properly be called. It is operated by Bruno, one of the most chaotic farmers around here. Bruno has everything on his farm, from woolly pigs to hens, goats, fruit trees, cows, rabbits and whatever, all surrounded by a fairly indescribable amount of farm machinery and kit, silage clamps, barns and sheds, in amongst which is his friendly farm shop selling eggs and cheeses along with pâtés and saucissons derived from former residents of the pig sties.
At one time Bruno got an authorisation to open a quarry on a small hill on his land. Once the quarrying operations were complete the hollowed-out hill made a perfect site to locate the proposed new recycling centre and an approach was made by the authorities. The result is altogether satisfactory: it is a super well run facility serving all the nearby villages and hamlets, open three days a week and able to accept all types of recycling, from sump oil to mattresses, white goods to electronics and everything in between. Bruno is always on hand to advise on what goes where and generally say hello and there is a little stand, run by a local ecological recycling group, stocking items which could be up-cycled or given a second life.
It is genuinely a pleasure to have such a well run facility on hand. Previously if you had something bulky to dispose of you had to ring up the employé municipal, a diminutive pixie-like individual, who would arrange to meet you outside a small fenced off area just above his house to which he alone held the key. Here he would take possession of your item, with the proviso that it had to be composed almost entirely of metal. We brought him a bed frame once and asked his advice as to the best way of disposing of the mattress. “Oh ça brule très bien” he said. We were a bit dubious and did not take him up on the idea of burning a latex mattress, undoubtedly full of horrible chemicals.
But on the other hand, what else was there to do? Fortunately the bad old days are now gone, when every farm had its own tip into which went generations of tin cans, bicycles, cast iron pots, bedding and broken bits of this that and the other.
Years ago when friends of ours bought their house outside a nearby village and were clearing out this kind of junk, they inquired of the locals where they could dispose of it. They were directed to a farm right up at the head of a valley and duly drove there. They located what they took to be the dump and started to unload, only to be met by the farmer, who was none too pleased to find their junk in his yard. The official site, he pointed out, was the fenced off area on the other side of the lane. Our friends were understandably mortified at their mistake – especially so since it transpired that the farmer was also the mayor of the village!
Which is not to say that you do not still find rustic relics of the French automobile industry like this in the most improbable places – usually inaccessible woodland – and you can still come across rusting bits of this and that in the steep river gorges and below the road bridges.
Recently we participated in a village clean up of these eyesores and our little army of around twenty people filled the municipal truck with retrieved junk in just a few hours. Here we are with our friend Elizabeth celebrating the capture of a tractor tyre which we had wrestled from the undergrowth on a precipitous slope.