NIGEL THORNTON: More rubbish from the council

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton -
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton -
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The city council has been practicising the dark arts again with its latest attempt to get residents to conform to its waste policy.

I was a big supporter of the council’s rubbish policy and enthusiastically used all three bins for general waste, recyclable waste and garden waste. I even used that horrible Hungry Harry bin for a while.

But I fell out with the council when it started charging twice for the privilege of having a brown bin.

The decision to charge extra for a service I was already paying for via my council tax convinced me it was not genuine with its much trumpeted “green capital’’ aspirations.

And I didn’t like the sneaky way it said that garden waste was not allowed in black bins (even though it was). The council was forced into an embarrassing climb down over that.

You will recall back in May 2014 a bin hanger was put on bins of about 80,000 households stating that if residents did not wish to use the “new’’ £39 a year service they “must” either take their garden waste to the Household Recycing Centre at Dogsthorpe or compost it themselves.

It spectacularly failed to mention a third alternative, which was to place the waste in the black bin.

A council spokeswoman said at the time: “The use of the word “must” on the leaflet was unfortunate and it was never intended to mislead.’’

Now they are at it again with a sticker plastered on my black bin saying “No food waste please’’ with a big cross . The implication is clear (if wrong) that food waste is not allowed in a black bin. It is.

Why can’t the council play a straighter bat with residents rather than trying to fool/frighten them into submission?

I suppose we should be grateful that at least this time they said please.

So in that spirit I’ll end by asking (not for the first time) that the binmen don’t leave my bin in the middle of my driveway PLEASE.

Dogged determination

My favourite gymnast Louis Smith has a new job. He is playing the lead in the “first ever (can’t think why no-one has thought of it before) celebrity fitness video for man and dog’’.

When the press release landed at Telegraph Towers the office wags went into overdrive. I’ll spare you their efforts!

Floody hell

I have family and friends in both Leeds and York so I looked on in anguish as I saw the pictures of the flooding that devastated those great Northern cities.

Thankfully those I love were safe – and suffered nothing more than inconvenience.

We had planned to visit family in York after Christmas and the car was packed when we got a call telling us “don’t bother, we’re not flooded, but we are cut off.’’

As, in a way, was the highly paid head of the Environment Agency. He was enjoying a sun-soaked holiday in the Caribbean!

Dangerous game

Peterborough City Council is playing a dangerous game in its flirtation with neighbouring councils over the creation of a super-council.

Even in the old Cambridgeshire County Council days the city was a second class citizen hence the desire for the city to go it alone which duly happened in 1998.

Does anybody believe the developments in the city would have happened if we had still been part of the county council?

A council comprising a huge geographical area of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk would be a disaster for Peterborough. The city would be the problem child, unloved, unfunded and stuck in the corner.

Hull of a place

There was much sniggering when the Rough Guide announced Hull as one of its top 10 cities in the world to visit in 2016.

I lived and worked in Hull for a decade and I loved it despite being a Wessie, which is how the locals refer to people like me from the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Any city that has a street called The Land Of Green Ginger is all right by me.

The Rough Guide mentioned its “atmospheric old-timey pubs’’ as a big plus.

And indeed they are but a word of warning – from my experience some of those pubs have so much “atmosphere’’ they might leave the faint-hearted gasping for air.

Same old story

To say I don’t like our honours system would be something of an understatement but the news that Peterbough foster couple Philip and Kate Gilbert, who have cared for hundreds of children were made MBEs in the New Year Honours List, almost restored my faith in them. But then I saw the list of cronies, civil servants and celebrities...

Diary Of A Bad Dad

I never realised quite what a splendid chap Father Christmas was. I had him down as a reindeer riding, sherry supping, gift giving Coca Cola advert kind of chap.

But I was wrong he’s a saint – and I’m not referring to his historical guise as St Nicholas. He should be the patron saint of parents, or more particularly, bad dads.

I admit that in the run-up to Christmas I invoked the spirit of Santa to get Toddler T to toe the line. She must have got sick of hearing me say if you don’t eat your peas/put your toys away/be nice to your baby brother Father Christmas won’t come. It worked more or less although she insisted we made a phone call to Santa every evening to check she wasn’t on the naughty list.

So flushed with the success of this tactic there was no way I was abandoning it just because Christmas was over.But I think Toddler T is close to rumbling my ruse. The last time I used Santa as a threat she looked at me suspiciously and asked: “Christmas isn’t for a long time, is it daddy?’’

Then she asked how many Father Christmases there were. “There’s only one, darling,’’ I replied.

“But I’ve seen him lots of places and he always looks different.’’

I’ll just have to resort to bribing her.