And so may I present what is probably going to be the third in a three part series about some of the strange people in Leamington Spa that you may meet if, like me, you actually lived here.
For those of you that have missed the first two (what were you doing? Leading a life?) Number 1, Bob The Shopkeeper is here and no.2, Pooper-Scoop Pete is here.
Today though we are going to speculate on the strange existence of Tin Can Andy.
Like most towns across the UK our household waste collection service is divided over a 2 week period. One week it will be the pre-sorted, pre-flattened, pre-washed recyclable stuff. The next week it will be the uneaten food stuffs, body parts, landfill fodder and stuff the charity shops wouldn’t touch with a barge pole.
On the recycling waste weeks, so early in the morning that the birds are still brushing their teeth and gargling with Listerine, you can hear the squee-squee-squee of Tin Can Andy’s shopping trolley. Well. When I say Andy’s shopping trolley I really mean Asda’s shopping trolley.
As I’m so paranoid about having my bin nicked I don’t put my recycling boxes out until the very morning of the collection. I’m usually up pretty early anyway as I have kids and anyone who has kids knows that 6.0am is a lie-in.
It is during this early morning chore that, if I am lucky, like spying a red deer emerging from the mist, I sometimes spot Tin Can Andy moving surreptitiously amongst the red boxes and bags that his community has placed outside their doorsteps ready for the waste disposal team to empty.
Tin Can Andy you see likes to rummage around other people’s recycling waste and re-appropriate... you’ve guessed it... all the tin cans. By the time I see him he must be about half way through his “round” as his trolley is usually piled up already with his ill-gotten aluminium gains.
Now I confess I don’t know what to make of Tin Can Andy. Part of me feels an undeniable sense of indignation. Technically these cans are not his property. They belong to the people who have left them out in good faith for the council bin men. Technically what he is doing is theft. Isn’t it?
But then the other half of me thinks, what the hell. It’s only junk. Who cares?
Presumably – though this is yet to be confirmed – there is money to be made selling old tin cans to scrap metal merchants? Certainly given the number of drain covers that have been stolen from the Warwickshire area over the summer people are crying out for metal, whether it is “scrap” or not. But would the money you’d get from a tin can really make the sheer effort involved in acquiring it worthwhile?
So my other theory is that Tin Can Andy is building something out of the tin cans. He is, in fact an alien. One of those multi-morphing alien creatures from John Carpenter’s The Thing. And out in his backgarden, in a clumsily dug cavity under his B&Q shed, there is an underground tunnel leading to a half built spaceship. Once Andy has acquired enough cans of baked beans he’s buggering off home again to Alpha Centauri or Clacton, one of the two.
To be honest I couldn’t care less.
As long as I don’t have to see his upside down head scampering across my lawn on giant spider’s legs I’ll be more than happy. Though to be fair, he does keep the occurrences of cat poo invasion down to a minimum...