Regret a garbo

July 2, 2015 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments
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Dad and I were chatting on his terrace.

Having put a smashed concrete planter in his wheelie bin, he worried the ‘garbo’ wouldn’t take it.

As heavy vehicles approached, he wondered if each were the garbo.

I said that in the good old days, the garbo always came at the same time every week, and that today’s outsourced contractors were all over the joint.

Some time later, a deep roar murdered all other sound.

‘That’s the garbo’, said dad.

A leviathan hove into view, its dwarfed driver leaning out to peer at dad’s bin.

With a shriek, a mechanical claw swooped, plucked and tipped the bin into the bowels of the beast.

The speed and force were so great, I expected the bin to vault the road and slay a knot of schoolchildren opposite.

‘Well, dad’, I said. ‘You needn’t worry about bunging that bloke’s back with your blocks!’

Dad replied that in the good old days, there were three men to each truck: runner, tipper and driver.

I added that when I was a child, our garbos recognised me and were friendly.

At xmas, Mum left cash and a thank-you note for them.

In our letterbox.


‘That was before the drugs came’, said dad.

And though Doncaster wasn’t a noted 60s hotspot, I knew what he meant.

Driving home, I listed conditions that would have to exist for the good old days to return:

  • Public ownership of sanitation services.
  • Job satisfaction.
  • Job security.
  • Reduced (or no) key performance indicators.
  • Trust.
  • A sense of community.
  • Egalitarianism.

I seem to recall these used to exist in our society.

Yet time can colour our thoughts.

I also remember that dogs, kids, rust and wind wrought havoc with old tin bins.

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.



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  1. Great writing. “A leviathan hove into view” love it.

    • Hi, Michelle. What a lovely comment! Many thanks for making it. Kind regards, P.

  2. Lovely reminisce of ‘back in the day’ when we left a slab of beer for the garnis as a Christmas present.

    • Flipping heck how did auto correct get garnis out of garbos? LOL… I give up. 😂

      • I put it down to enthusiasm, Catherine. Please don’t ever give up. I value your contributions so much. Kind regards, P.

  3. Very nice Paul, I remember the days of the old garbos. And the milko, who had a red van pulled by a horse. We also had bread delivered. And a man came with a crate of soft drinks. They also delivered the newspaper to your door rather than throwing it in a tree.

    At the service station the attendant wore a tie and greeted you and the transaction was made without the need to get out of the car. And they say we’re living in the time of convenience; I’m not convinced.

    So when is real service coming back? Perhaps that too has been outsourced to India.

    I think large corporations, in the name of cost cutting, have put the con in convenience.

    Cheers Malcolm

    • Fantastic memories, Malcolm! I’d forgotten about the clip clop of the milkman’s horse. And the magpies who’d peck the foil tops off the bottles to get at the cream. As to service, I agree it’s bloody rare. So I try to promote it when I get it. Wish that happened more. Thanks heaps for your contribution. P.

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