Atavistic memories of the word “incinerator” recently started to shuffle around the corridors of my mind but the events surrounding that word remain in soft focus. There was a point in my childhood when several parts of our family shared a house which had, as I remember, a very extensive garden with alleys and paths that led to various sheds, green houses and lean to’s around which steamed piles of noble and ignoble rot. Somewhere in those nether regions lived the “incinerator”. The often heard recommendation to “put it in the incinerator” seemed to be a cure-all for a surprisingly wide range of household and garden problems yet, as a child, I don’t remember witnessing our incinerator incinerating. In a golden age when a link between “health and safety” had yet to be realised I can only imagine that this exclusion must have been imposed because it was considered “dirty” and “dirty” was quite bad. The adults of our world had just lived through a world war so safety in the garden wasn’t a priority which meant that living one’s childhood in that era was an exciting time full of finding, falling and fear. At that time, the sockets in electric wall plugs were round and of a width to allow the insertion of a small child’s finger, a temptation to which I succumbed on occasion with no lasting effect, although maybe I’m not the best judge of that. Were we more resistant to electricity, I ask myself, or was I just a bad conductor. The latter seems more likely as, let alone conducting, I couldn’t sing a note in tune on account of which, during my years at prep school, I was relegated to emptying the dustbins during choir practice. Dustbins, or the shape of them, bring me back to my new acquaintance with incinerators which I believe will be fruitful and lasting. The incinerator in question, which belongs to our neighbour, is to be found close to his atelier, by a wall against which is stacked a multitude of rusty things that must not ever be thrown away as they may well be the vital components of something that is not yet needed but may well be essential in the not too distant future. This “atelier” is equipped with every sort of tool or machine imaginable providing him with the means to mend the broken or to create the new, which ability is in the remit of all “paysan” farmers who often do not have the wherewithal to pay others for services that they are quite capable of doing for themselves. They are also quite parsimonious, a word which I like very much but which will never be used to describe my own nature by anyone who has more than a fleeting acquaintance with me. Rubbish you may say, and in this case you would be right.Rubbish and its sorting, or triage, is the point of this post. The rubbish collection service here in the Vendée is extremely precise about which sort of rubbish should go where. This precision is sadly not reflected in the printed edicts with which we are supplied and which, with the help of competent graphic artists, illustrate into which sort of collection container should be put each sort of refuse. It appears that manufacturers are creating new sorts of container at a speed up with which the illustrators cannot keep. Should a container of the non illustrated type reveal itself to be in one of the variously coloured semi transparent sacks provided for its particular collection then, the appointed collector, will leave it by the roadside thus brilliantly creating rubbish which is the direct opposite of his mandate. To add a little sharp seasoning to this inconvenience, the collector will attach a sticker to the abandoned sack which states that something in that sack contravenes the list of that which is allowed but, annoyingly, not clearly defining the culprit. This led me into a Kafkaesque charade which involved emptying the contents of the sack on the ground and, with the illustrated edict in one hand, trying to decide which morsel of the misshapen crap lying before me could be the offender. So now, with the aid of my new friend, the incinerator, I burn the fuckers.