We are at the main junction watching the largest lorry ever trying to get up the hill. It grunts up the incline around a blind corner, blocking the entire junction, it is so wide that it blocks out oxygen. Andrew is gesticulating because the engine is so loud, it's like some bizarre silent version of the Scarecrow song from the Wizard of Oz as neighbours poke their heads out of windows, see us, see the lorry and just shake their heads. You can see what they're thinking: 'Those crazy buggers are at it again'. Andrew's hands flap, legs seem to shiver and we all vanish up the hill at a dead crawl. We're trying to keep ahead of the lorry, for health and safety reasons we aren't allowed in the cab but we can half run, half lurch in front of something that with one slip of the accelerator would leave very little room for us not to become part of the road. Neighbours still watching can see the fear in our backsides. In half caught breaths, faces red, we yell over the engine: 'It won't get down the back lane, surely?' We remain positive, Andrew once worked for the band Saw Doctors, and tells me that they once got a sound desk that was fifteen foot long into what he swears was a space only eight foot long. This is were his positive nature stems from, and his complete lack of spacial awareness.
The lorry pulls up around fifty yards from the back lane gate, other cars and trucks take the opportunity to get past and to glare at us. Half twisted faces and half formed swear words fly past us as we smile, wave and nod in embarrassment. The lorry driver, Craig, doesn't even bother to look down the back lane, he waves at us which is a nice contrast with the two finger salutes from a white transit that flies past. Craig yells at us to open the gate and he'll meet us by our back garden wall. The thoughts at this point are: 'you're mad', 'you're shitting us' and, 'is he really going to attempt to fold space to get that lorry down the back lane?' In times like this, the best thing to do is shrug and do as you're told. We arrive at our back garden, flustered, worried and waiting. We wait. We wait some more. We wait until the point we think that Craig and our compost may have simply given up or vanished down an undiscovered mine shaft or quarry hole. Then we hear it, a chunnering, chunting noise, ch-ch--ch---chunner---chunt and though the trees comes rolling the smallest JCB ever and cradled in its fork arms a tonne bag of compost swinging like a sporran. You'd think then it would be over. No. Craig has to somehow swing the JCB around to get the bag over a five foot wall and to miss a dog walker who thinks he can get through. Craig performs a fifty point turn, squeezes past a bollard set into the lane to stop wagons and cars coming down but nothing will stop a small JCB and then hoists the tonne bag in the air. It barely makes it over the wall, it barely misses the top stones and then only doesn't hit the wall because we kick the bag to make it swing out. Then the bag is off the forks and the JCB is stuck in the mud. Mud flies. Still stuck. Craig backs up and lets rip with the JCB cat-tracks and it flies past. Paperwork is thrown at us. We sign. Craig slides back and grabs the paperwork and under sheer momentum escapes. Getting compost delivered like this is supposed to be less stressful, so they say.