You know that family dynamics have reached a transitional point when your entire stock of chocolate biscuits appear in the re-cycling bin. They do this spontaneously — apparently of their own volition. You call your daughter who is staying for the week-end to witness the mystery. You both stare into the gaping mouth of the green food-recycling bin where pale, slightly crackly milk chocolate digestives peep out from beneath cauliflower leaves and carrot peelings. “Perhaps it’s for the best, Mum? They don’t look very fresh!”
“I just fancied something sweet,” chips in son-in-law from somewhere in the background. The plot is edging towards a painful denouement. “But I couldn’t find anything that had expired later than 2018.”
“But, but…” I suddenly sound defensive, “We’ve only just dealt with the spaghetti mountain.”
“Not quite” interjects Judas Iscariot who is helping set the table, ” we’re up to 2016.”
“Well that’s no age at all for dried spaghetti” I snap, I’m starting to sound petulant. “Anyway, I’m on a war footing.”
So I have reached some sort of milestone. It only seems yesterday that I was furious with my own mother when I caught her rummaging through my kitchen waste to rescue things that she felt needed to be recycled — this was early in her eco-warrior phase. She had done this by emptying the entire contents of my kitchen bin onto newspaper on my kitchen floor.
I seem to have come all the way around some sort of cycle — I think I’ll go and hide my dirty underwear, like great-granny did, in back copies of the Daily Telegraph and start spitting my pills behind the toilet cistern.