Fiona Duff: Recycling no use if it costs the earth

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My mother has a great expression about people for whom little goes wrong in their lives, and great things happen. She says that they “have the luck of a fat priest”. I so wish I was in that category, but I think I have the luck of a skinny nun, or whatever the opposite is to describe a corpulent man of the cloth.

My life is a series of events that could be described as mishaps and sometimes major disasters. These are interspersed with the delight I bring to others by describing the latest calamity to have occurred.

This week my older daughter returned from university for Christmas holidays. Being the type of person who finds fault in the actions of those all around her, she decided that her sister spent too much time on the iPad. Resolving that this should be remedied, she hid the offending object. Of course, the next morning she, the older one, went to retrieve the iPad. “Where is that pile of old newspapers?” she shouted. In an unexpected bout of housekeeping, I had taken them to the recycling centre. And guess where she had hidden the little computery thing? Yes, underneath a newspaper. We jumped into the car and raced to Craigleith. Many apologies to anyone in the car park at around 3pm on Wednesday as you will have witnessed the sight of two deranged-looking females trying to stick their heads into those large blue containers whilst pulling out newspapers dating back a fortnight.

The company that deals with the recycling was great – they tried to contact the driver, but he had clocked off for the day (at 3pm, the lucky lad). The next morning they called to say that the containers had been emptied before anyone had got into the office (OK, so maybe the driver has to start early) and that due to there being about ten tons of recycling due to be collected the likliehood of it surviving were minimal.

So there you go – trying to save the planet doesn’t always help your sanity, not to mention one’s bank account.