Skip A Dee Doo Dah

I'm out of them. The doldrums. They are a thing of the past. A recent memory but one consigned to yet another autumn start up. My bulbs are in. The leaves are a-fluttering, a-dancing and annoyingly settling on the lawn. But, most importantly, my skip is in place.

Who doesn't like a skip and all it brings? Oh, the pleasure of anticipation. Having a garage that you can walk into, and maybe, just maybe, park a car. I am a dreamer. The delight of accessing bikes without the need for an hour’s warning of use; the climb and orienteering over defunct mower; seventeen old paint cans and a small stuffed dog on wheels. The pleasures are all mine.

Of course, I'd like to be able to use all the cardboard in the garage in my compost bins. I'd make a small fortune if anyone actually wants to buy rusted lamps and ripped shades. I even uncovered a box of old shower gel containers. Some half full. And a sliver of soap, a shaving mirror and an opened box of bathroom tiles. Any offers? All bids welcome. Remnants of home DIY never quite making it to the bin or recycling centre.

But the vegetation from the garden does use up a lot of space in my current favourite cavernous depository. I just haven't got enough room to compost it all. I could load up bag after bag and take to the recycle centre to allow the council to do their bit for my taxes and make compost for all. Highly admirable but if I actually want this clearing to ever be done and dusted, it's a skip. The skip company assures me it all gets recycled anyway. I'm offsetting the cost of the skip with the cash needed for a car valet to remove all the spiders, slugs and what smells like the decaying body of a mouse rotting in a bin of grass cuttings from weeks ago. I was going to empty the plastic dustbin of clippings but whiffed the rodent and spotted the disco rice wriggling near the surface. Sometimes only a skip will do.

So, a few top tips on skipping what remains of the garden:

1. Never overload – it says so on the side. I once saw a skip lorry scrape the overfill off onto the road and disappear with the skip.  
2. Fill your skip quickly before others help you out. At night. When you're not looking.    
3. Save your carpet remnants to add to the top. It prevents wind from lifting anything out. It also looks good. Take pride in your skip at all times.        
4. Take care when trampling down the contents of the skip as this can cause nasty injuries. A friend did this and a rogue nail ripped precariously close to a major artery in his leg.

And what to put in it? Leave stiff flower heads on plants in the garden for the birds. Any soft, mushy flower heads on your herbaceous can be removed and skipped. Dead gladioli leaves can go in but if any of your plants suffered from virus then the whole lot goes in. Large branches should be cut into smaller pieces and stuffed into the skip. Or, in the absence of carpet remnants, used as a woody finale to your clearance. And we all know that a loggy topping beats a soggy bottom every time. Beautiful imagery.

However, I could change my ways and save a small fortune on hiring a skip. I could, after all, line my whole garden with compost bins and have them all on the go throughout the year, as opposed to my paltry three bins groaning under the pressure of homemade compost. I could throw away paint cans as they are finished and never utter the words ' just in case' or ‘that’ll come in handy one day.’ The children’s toys from years ago – who really needs them? Honestly. I could change. But where's the fun in that?

But the toy dog stays in the garage whatever happens. ‘Come on boy, off the skip. There’s a good lad.’