When is a wheelie bin not a wheelie bin?
Orkney Islands Council's development and environment services department obviously had a lot of our cash to spare so they've given everyone on the island a big green wheelie bin.
With the bin came a set of instructions, telling us in seven fairly detailed steps how to secure it. Obviously, given that it's November and it gets a little breezy here at this time of year, it would be madness to leave a plastic bin just hanging around.
So everyone, old folks included I assume, has been given a wooden fence post and a length of blue rope and told to hammer the post into the ground to a depth of 2ft. No small task for a pig "farmer" who happens to be the owner of a large sledge hammer - can't imagine what a peedie Westray wifey will do.
The bin is then lashed to the post using a clove hitch (don't ask me) - no doubt while whistling a sea shanty. A bungee cord to prevent the lid heading off towards Norway is the finishing touch.
Which brings me to the big question. What the bloody hell are the wheels for?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the whole point of a wheelie bin is that it's mobile. You can wheel it around the place - the clue's in the name.
When we lived in England we had a wheelie bin. We kept it by the back door and wheeled out to the front of the house on bin day. The bin men hooked it onto the back of the cart, the rubbish was tipped in, the bin parked outside the house to be returned round the back.
Up to now in Westray, we have been given a year's supply of black bags, leaving the filled bags at the end of the lane to be collected and thrown onto the back of Geordie's wheezing wreck of a lorry.
The new system involves leaving the bags at the end of the lane where they'll be collected and thrown onto the back of Geordie's wheezing wreck of a lorry, although we now have the choice of leaving the bags in the bin if that's where we've left it.
I much prefer living in Orkney to England and I firmly believe Scotland is a far superior country (only one Tory MP for a start), but I have to admit that England is way ahead when it comes to the 'understanding what a wheelie bin does' department.
What the council seems to have done is (out of the goodness of our own council tax payments) handed out a few hundred bins - the type we used to go to the hardware shop and buy ourselves - with no discernable improvement in the service.
On the upside, the Westray wheelie bin racing season gets underway next week. Entries to the usual address.