Monday, 19 August 2013

Disco Inferno

.... burn baby burn!

Since we  more or less made the decision to start from scratch with the garden, and get rid of at least 90% of the shrubs and plants, we've struggled with getting rid of the waste. We're lucky in that we do have a recycling bin purely for garden rubbish in our area, but it only gets emptied fortnightly, and only during the summer months, and at the moment we could refill it twenty times over on a weekly basis! Last week we had a very full bin at mum's, the same with the one at our house, and two of the neighbours were nice enough to let us put lots of stuff in their bin too!

We do take some of the waste to the local tip for recycling/composting, but if we use the truck, it's classed as a commercial vehicle, and we're only allowed twelve visits in total over the year, which we're trying to eke out as there's loads of large stuff from the house to go too. That only leaves my little Toyota Yaris, which can hold a lot if we drop the rear seats, but it's not ideal for carrying garden waste in - we end up sitting in a pile of leaves, needles, and bits of twig!

Which was why we made the decision last week to buy a garden incinerator from B&Q. Not massively expensive, but as there are no bonfire restrictions in this area, it should help us get rid of more of the rubbish from the garden. We put it right at the bottom, on the concrete base where the shed used to be, with the plan that any smoke would just drift over the hedge onto the allotments which back on to the garden. Lovely!

We bought it on Wednesday morning, and as Al was working in the afternoon, I went up to tackle some more shrubs in the garden. The incinerator was going to be Al's thing - I think he may be a closet pyromaniac, as we always rent holiday cottages with log fires, which he loves, and at the first sign of sun he can never wait to light the barbecue! I'm not so good with fires, but thought I'd have a go at lighting it just to show willing. My plan was to try - and fail - to light it, so I could then hand it over to Al with a clear conscience as I was clearly unable to work it. What could possibly go wrong?

How about the fact that it lit with one match, and went up as though it was doused in petrol?

Eek!! I slammed the lid on in a rather panicked fashion, and backed off. Which was when the smoke started. Not just a bit of smoke, a LOT of smoke. In fact my eyes were streaming almost immediately, so I headed back up to the house, and closed the door behind me. I went into the kitchen, looked out, and the world had disappeared! The incinerator was over 20 metres away, but the whole garden was white. You literally could not have seen your hand in front of your face. I apologise unreservedly to any neighbours who may have had washing hung outside - although it had seemed like a windless day where any smoke would gently drift away over the hedge, apparently there was enough of a breeze blowing the wrong way to drive all the smoke into everyone's back garden! I'd texted Al earlier to say I was going to try and light the incinerator, but didn't expect I'd manage it, so I'm not sure how surprised he was to answer the phone at work to me shouting 'can I put water on it??'

He told me I could, although it probably wouldn't do the metal any good for the fire to be quenched so quickly. Who cares? I just wanted the smoke to stop! I filled a big bucket and lugged it down the garden, but thankfully, by the time I got there, it had calmed down considerably, so I left it burning. I was in too much of a state of shock to take a picture of the smoke-filled garden, but I do have one of the calmer scene when I went back!

My plan was not to have to use the incinerator again after failing to light it. I can safely say I'll never use it again, because I can light it all too well, and it terrifies me!

One more thing added to the long list of things that I'm not going anywhere near - along with plumbing, electrics and spiders!


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