As the week came to a close, I identified a small voice inside me which grew louder and louder as I approached Saturday morning. On arriving at the allotted time, it became deafening.
Saturday morning - a moment of the week when normal people breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they will not have to engage in the occupation that God put them on the earth to perform. They can bask in the arms of their loved one (s), contemplate their breakfast of coffee and croissants, engross themselves in a few more episodes of "Breaking Bad", take their children to play football. For me, although tired from the week's labours, it was different. I was propelled from under the duvet with the knowledge that I could go to the tip.
I resisted it knowing that this thought was not normal. I was warm, I did not have to do anything, the children were asleep. But I knew that resistance was futile.
Mrs Pickwick too is liable to similar moments. Often, I cooch up with her on Saturday mornings with thoughts of love in my mind and stare deeply into those hazel eyes I have loved for over 20 years. It is only then that I discover that she is composing a list of things she and I need to do that weekend driven by duty or necessity. She warns me that if they are not done, HMS Pickwick would be liable to flounder in high seas prior to it sinking with the loss of all hands. A consideration of these facts may suggest Mrs Pickwick is related to Bree from "Desperate Housewives". Though the two are both of the ginger fraternity, the similarities stop there. Mrs Pickwick is the eldest daughter of mother-in-law Pickwick, another Ginge whose ability to raise five children without losing one will have scholars perplexed for years to come, much as they are when analysing how Stonehenge was constructed. Her Bree-like moments are largely driven by seeking to maintain a pretence of respectability to the outside world. Behind closed doors, we are more "House of Horror" than "House of Fraser".
The period between getting up and being ready go to the tip disappeared in a blur of anticipatory excitement. Finally, I was ready. I sat in the driver's seat, turned the ignition, pressed the series of buttons that would give me the Reverend Richard Coles on Radio 4 and off I went to deposit my load in a dark container. There was a cathartic joy, an inner peace which ensued when the car was empty. All that was left was a tiny wriggling worm on the passengers seat which had escaped from a piece of garden refuse.
This entire experience can be encapsulated in what Timothy O'Leary referred to when at a festival in 1967 attended by 30,000 hippies, he introduced the World to the life philosophy "Turn on, tune in, drop out" - this was deeply prophetic recognising that in years to come, thousands of middle-aged men would mount their people carriers, turn their MP3 player to hits from the 80s and journey to the tip to drop out unnecessary rubbish and consumer goods in search of satisfaction and a feeling of inner peace.
Returning home, I knew I had more left in me. There was the steam cleaner which was now so dangerous that it caused all of the lights to fuse whenever it was used and a long mirror framed by reclaimed varnished timber that had mysteriously got broken one day leading to some furious finger pointing as to who had been the culprit. Before long, the car was full again andR.E.Ms "End of the World" was playing on the car music system.
A cruel restraint was placed on me when I got to the tip for the second time. Instead of being able to make my customary release, there was a barrier put across the entrance to the tip with the sign "temporarily closed for the skips to be compacted". This was almost too much to bear made worse by a bloke operating the ultimate boys toy, which resembled the love child of a JCB and one of the Transformers. It had a big metallic fist which was thrusting repeatedly into each of the skips doing the compacting. When this finished, the restraint was removed and I raced to achieve an even bigger refuse-inspired climax having released my load.
Returning home, I fell into a chair, red-faced from my labours and slightly out of breath and was joined by Mrs Pickwick.
"How was it for you, Darling."
"Wonderful" she replied. "I feel so much better"
"Do you want to do it again - there is the garage to clear".