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You know those sad people who pick up rubbish in the street (not the “paying something back to society” mob, but the other ones – the ones with their own equipment for picking up litter), well, I’m one of those.

Rubbish in Street

There are some odd patches of ground on the street where I live which are overgrown, but are tolerated because of the birdsong, the blackberries and the fact that nobody knows who owns the land.

Unfortunately, they also seem to attract rubbish – mainly discarded crisp packets which are probably blown in on the wind, but also cans, bottles and, occasionally, fly tipping. It was this latter type that I tackled on Saturday, ending up with two bin liners worth of Tesco bags in various states of decay combined with nails, remnants of old toys and roots which insisted on clinging to the Tesco bags as if their lives depended on it.

Car wheels and exhaustSo on Monday morning I bundled the bin bags into the back of the car along with a defunct flourescent light and headed off to the local recycling centre.

A quarter of the way there I started to feel a grating sensation in the generally vicinity of one of my front wheels. Then I started to see dirty exhaust fumes (or possibly smoke) coming out of my rear end (so to speak). Another driver flagged me down. It was smoke. So I pulled off the road and considered my options.

My recovery service only works if I’m more than a mile from home, which I might have been, but wasn’t entirely sure, so opted for phoned the garage and discussing the situation with them. We decided that it would probably be OK to risk driving to the garage as the intervening roads were fairly slow. As it happens, they were even slower than usual, making this the first time in my life that I had been thankful for road works, so I was able to proceed gingerly without either drawing attention to myself or bursting into flames

Readers will, I hope, be relieved to hear that, although the smell of burning rubber had become very noticeable by the time I landed in the forecourt of the garage, your correspondent lived to tell the tale.