SEARCHING, as one does, for a word or phrase to replace ‘binmen’, I was asked by a website: ‘Do you mean ‘phenomena’?’


Yet the more I considered it, the more apt I thought the synonym.

Binmen in our area at present are distinctly a phenomenon, if only by their rarity.

I’ve seen neither hide nor hair of them for four weeks. We are, apparently, in what is known these days as a ‘binterval’.

I almost feel guilty about revisiting this business of bin emptying.

You might recall that following a run-in on this page with the Kirklees refuse collection operatives in 2009, I spent a day with a jolly bunch of lads on the Linthwaite route.

Bin emptying is not an easy or particularly clean job, though to be fair I kind of knew that before I went out with them.

In our area right now, it is not just dirty and hard. It is non-existent.

The rubbish has filled and overflowed our green and grey bins, but the rumble of the squasher lorry and the cheery early-morning sound of the crews has not been our pleasure since well before Christmas.

Not all areas have suffered the same. A colleague in Outlane, for instance, had a cubic metre of wrapping paper recycled and his turkey bones disposed of quietly and efficiently nearly a week ago.

I, on the other hand, am considering organising a midnight convoy of council taxpayers, destination Huddersfield Town Hall steps, cargo the contents of 100 grey bins, to remind Kirklees that we expect a service when we pay our ‘rates’.

Another thought belatedly strikes me. You know how we’re supposed to lose 1,700 Kirklees workers to get the bankers and the government out of trouble?

Perhaps they got rid of the bulk of the Kirklees binman population without telling us.