Last week I decided a clear out of my office was long overdue so I gathered bin liners, rubber gloves and cloths together, took a deep breath and got started.
I went through teetering piles of paperwork which had been in danger of toppling over, sorted through shelves, cleaned out drawers and put each item either in the recycling box, through the shredder or in a pile for throwing out. So far, so good. Eventually I could see the surface of my desk, I found documents I thought might have been lost for ever and, gradually, as the room started to clear so did my brain.
I was finally satisfied that it was as good as it was going to get so I placed the pile for throwing out in a bin liner along with the paper from the shredder and gave Ash that bag to put into the general waste bin (black) and the other stuff into the recycling bin (grey). Remember those two things because they are significant to this story.
The next day I took some magazines out to the grey bin, lifted the lid and found all sorts of non-recyclable stuff in there. I gazed into the bin completely bewildered until I realised that Ash had looked into the bin bag I'd given him, seen shredded paper and decided it needed to go into recycling. Now I don't know about where you live, but here shredded paper can't be recycled but as far as Ash was concerned it was paper and he knew exactly which bin was for paper.
The real difficulty was that he'd emptied the entire contents of that bag into the recycling bin and some of it (a quantity of small sea shells comes to mind here) had fallen through the bigger stuff at the top. Something had to be done so I emptied as much of the bin as I could reach onto a pile on the ground before tipping it over and practically climbing inside to remove everything I could find which wasn't recyclable. Eventually I had everything out that I needed so I replaced all the cardboard and plastic then put the shells etc into the black bin and we were good to go.
Except the story doesn't quite end there. The next day I took some magazines out to the bin for recycling, opened the lid and found myself staring at a heap of shredded paper. Ash had obviously seen it in the black bin where I'd placed it, decided it was in the wrong bin and put it in the 'right' one. I moved it back and very quickly put something on top of it to hide it from view.
Is there any wonder that sometimes my brain scrambles a little!