Picture, if you will, a container with a capacity of one cubic metre. Need help? OK, it's a large box. The base is one metre wide and one metre long and the sides are one metre high.
(If you are metrically challenged and prefer imperial measurements, this little bit of doggerel might help:
A metre measures three foot three;If it's any help, you could always picture a container one yard by one yard by one yard. That would be a little smaller than a cubic metre but I don't suppose it would matter all that much.)
It's longer than a yard, you see.
So, we now have a container with a capacity of one cubic metre (or one cubic yard) and a full, black, plastic rubbish sack. How many of those sacks do you think would fit into the container? No need to pummel and push and squeeze, just place the sacks in. How many? Four, quite easily, possibly five, maybe even six. For the sake of this exercise, let's accept four even though there will be room to spare.
So we have a container of one cubic metre capacity filled with four rubbish sacks. Now picture, if you will, a whole row of those containers, a row of 39 of them, each containing four rubbish sacks. That makes 39 cubic metres of rubbish.
In you mind's eye you now have 39 x 4 rubbish sacks. That's 156 sacks. Now it just so happens that 156 can be divided by 52, the answer being three. So if you filled three sacks of rubbish every week for a complete year, you would end up with 39 cubic metres of rubbish.
Do you know, I can hear the cogs in your mind going round and producing the tought, "What has happened? Has he finally fallen off his trolley?" But bear with me and all will become as dense as the old London pea-soupers.
I have recently received a bill in connection with the house in France. I think it is a bill for rubbish collection. It is printed on pretty pink paper and it tells me to return the slip with my cheque. Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be a tear-off slip - but that's just a minor inconvenience. I shall take a copy of the whole invoice and return that with my cheque. I say that I think this is a charge for rubbish collection, but what i can't work out is how it has been calculated. No, that's not quite accurate. I can work out how it is calculated - it says the charge is 39 cubic metres times 63 cents - but what puzzles me is the 39 cubic metres. Are 'they' suggesting that they have collected hree sacks of rubbish from our house every week for the past year? Never! I don't suppose there is a house in the village that ever puts out three sacks of rubbish in any one week let alone every week for a whole year. So it can't be that.
Last year's bill was for 37 cubic metres. In 2010 it was for 36 and in 2009, 30, while way back in 2008 it was 32.
You will appreciate that these bills are not exactly enormous and the Old Bat and I are quite happy that we should pay our way in the village. I'll do the same this year as every other year: just pay up.