This morning witnessed my inaugural visit to the bottle bank since UK’s COVID lockdown commenced in March. During the intervening months numerous empty wine bottles have stacking up in my mum’s garage. Their ever burgeoning number, over time, making visits to that section of the residence feel like a walk of shame.

With every meander into the cars domain (well, it would be if there were room), be that for garden maintenance tools, or retrieving an item residing in the second fridge, each visit feeling like a walk of shame.

Although inanimate, emotionless and non-judgmental, over the past month or so, on every occasion yours truly passed in close proximity, these bottles appeared to exhibit a look if disdain.

This ludicrous notion fuelling a paranoia within me not experienced for decades. The last occasion playing out in my twenties. A troubling month, or so, when I was convinced ventriloquist Keith Harris and his duck dummy Orville were sending subliminal messages, via their TV show, hinting they were gonna kill me.

To be fair, as Orville’s words were really being delivered by Keith Harris, accusing the fluffy green duck in a diaper of any part in this mental torment is, on reflection, a tad harsh.

Like Lee Harvey Oswald’s accused involvement in the JFK assassination, I suspect Harris was setting up Orville as the patsy in the event anything untoward befell yours truly. The puppet waterfowl being set up to take the fall for his human sidekicks misdemeanour.

Thankfully, after stopping my new hobby of sleeping with marker pens up my nose, mitigating against habitual snoring, my reasoning returned and paranoia abated. That being said, even after the return of my senses, I never fully discounted the theory curly haired Harris meant me harm….. Bizarrely, even after his death 2015.

Anyhow, I digress. Back to the topic of my bottle bank tarry……

As alluded to above, walking past these garage in situ empty bottles, as their number grew, I became more and more paranoid the liquid containers were judging my alcohol intake.

At one point, these unfounded delusions leading me to enter the garage without the light on to avoid see them ‘stare’ back at me as I headed to the fridge. A strategy which backfired badly when, unable to see where I was heading, I fell over a pile of them. Mercifully, none broke to add injury to insult.

This mass clattering of bottles, though, attracting mater’s attention. Leading to her dashing into the car port to check what’d caused this godforsaken cacophony. On seeing me laying on the floor next to the toppled pile of lidded carafes, she enquired if I was ok. Although shaken, yours truly assuring her I was fine.

“It’s about time you took all these bleeding bottle to the tip, Gary!” Maggie’s responded on hearing her eldest son was uninjured in the episode

Lucky not to have been injured, especially if the glass had’ve broken, I conceded it would indeed be a prudent move to dispose of this army of phials. Consequently, I undertook the recycling this morning.

At around 10am, after bagging up the glass food/drink containers, which I then carefully placed into my car boot, GJ Strachan enquired of mater “Have you seen my face mask, mum?”

 “You won’t need a face mask to protect you from COVID, you’re only visiting a bottle bank!” I was assured by my forebear.

Leading to the retort “I don’t want it to protect me from coronavirus, mum!…. I plan to use it as a disguise to hide my shame at how many bottles I’m chucking in the recycle bin!”

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