GYMS across Swindon are currently dealing with a rush of people whose New Year Resolution was to lay off the cakes and get fit.
I am one of those people. I promise that I shall embark on such a regime of fitness as has never been attempted by a man of my age or state of health.
My preparations have already begun. I am systematically purging my cupboards and fridge of all unhealthy foods. As soon as I’ve polished off the last of the Brie, family-sized packets of crisps and chocolate liqueurs, I’ll be ready to tackle the gym.
Or at least, I’ll be ready to tackle at least the first couple of hundred yards of the walk to the gym.
There’s no point in going at this sort of thing like a bull in a China shop.
Recycling issues can be solved...
IT’S official: from April it’ll cost you 40 quid a year if you want your green waste collected, although you’ll get your very own special wheelie bin to put it in.
In other news from the eco-friendliness front, recycling collections will be fortnightly from next month.
When it comes to green waste collection, some 6,000 people took part in a council consultation. The authority assures us their voices were listened to, and the original plan to charge 70 quid a year was dropped.
We can therefore assume that the majority of the people who took part in the survey thought a charge would be just fine and dandy, but merely took issue with the sum involved. Yes, that’ll be it.
The changes are being made to save money and keep our council tax to a minimum – something for which we should be grateful. Some of you out there will not be grateful, of course. Some of you will be thinking this whole business of keeping council tax down is a bit of a con.
After all, you’ll be thinking, if I tell somebody that I’m going to cut their lawn for a tenner a week, and then a few years down the line tell them I’m going to cut their lawn once a year but still charge a tenner a week, they’re not exactly getting value for money, are they?
Well, put such cynical thoughts from your minds, you ungrateful lot. It’s time to embrace the future.
Unless you have a garden the size of a small city state or are a farmer, the chances are you won’t accumulate more than a few bins’ worth of green waste a year and will therefore choose not to opt in to the scheme.
But what to do with your green waste? I was planning to burn mine once the dry weather starts, but then I realised that if everybody did this the sky over Swindon would end up looking like something from a news report about one of those catastrophic Californian forest fires.
We’d be swamped by TV crews from all nations wearing smog masks and trying to look intrepid as they gasped live updates into satellite phones.
There’s always the option of putting the stuff in the car and driving it to the tip, but if we all had the same idea the tip would grind to a halt throughout gardening season and the extra petrol and diesel smoke belched into the atmosphere would be a minor ecological disaster in itself.
Then I hit on a brilliant idea. All we need to solve our green waste problems is a blender and a one or two catering-size containers of diet mayonnaise. Those big plastic bottles with a squirty nozzle on the top that you see outside burger vans should do the trick.
Sling the green waste in the blender – you might have to saw the bigger tree branches up a bit first – and give it a right good blending until it’s just a load of green, leafy bits.
Then distribute it among your blue bags and give each batch a squirt of mayonnaise to make it look like discarded healthy food. Add some old crispy pancake and chilli flavour mini-kiev wrappers to complete the illusion of salad-dodging.
After all, with the recycling only being collected fortnightly, it’s not as if you’re going to be short of old packaging to stuff in your blue bags, is it?
Not unless you’re thinking of starting a rat sanctuary or a refuge for distressed seagulls, anyway.