How far is Saint Helena?

BritishBins remains the only company to ship bins to Saint Helena; an island so
remote even Napoleon couldn’t escape it.

 Napoleon_sainthelene

“How far is Saint Helena?” asked Rudyard Kipling repeatedly and rhetorically in his famous lullaby; the point being, no matter where you are in the world, the answer is always ‘a long way away.’  To get an idea quite how isolated this infamous volcanic outpost is, search ‘Saint Helena’ on google maps and zoom out. Keep going…and going. The island is now just a tiny pinprick, yet remarkably it remains the only thing you can see, other than the yawning expanse of the South Atlantic Ocean. To paraphrase Jim Morrison, that’s pretty far out, man.

And yet, despite being one of the planet’s remotest hunks of rock, St. Helena has played an intriguingly important role within European history. The island was discovered uninhabited by the Portuguese in 1502, who were taken by its abundance of trees and fresh water. Lonesome yet lush, both beautiful and barbarous, Saint Helena soon became the glamorous destination of choice for audacious explorers such as Sir Francis Drake and Captain James Cook.

The island was predictably squabbled over by the English and the Dutch for the next few hundred years, before playing a central role in the demise of one of history’s most formidable military commanders: Napoleon Bonaparte.

Napoleon had already boldly demonstrated that he wasn’t the kind of person to let a little thing like exile stop him. The Russians and Prussians had already shipped him off to Elba, a reasonably remote Mediterranean island. In the first few months on Elba he had created a small navy and army; within a year he was escaping the island on a brig with 700 men by his side.

The British realised that a rethink was in order. They decided that Elba wasn’t quite remote enough. Having granted Napoleon ‘asylum’ from the Prussians-who now wanted him dead or alive- they placed him in Longwood house, a damp, dilapidated residence near the coast of Saint Helena.

Rumours of hatched plots and daring escape plans were plentiful, but ultimately the British had weaponised the island. Napoleon spent the rest of his days dictating his memoirs and grumbling about his damp, windswept living conditions. Napoleon’s time on Saint Helena has captured the imagination of artists and poets for centuries, enraptured by the image of the persecuted genius-so central to European affairs for so long- slowly perishing, watched only by the vast and indifferent sea. Napoleon died on Saint Helena, enfeebled and defeated, in May 1821.

Today Saint Helena is still remarkably difficult to get to. The British Overseas Territory has been accessible only by the Royal Mail Ship St Helena, which offers journeys of between five days and nearly two months on its voyages. It took until September 2015 for a plane to land there for the very first time, though a fully-fledged airport is on the horizon. We don’t let that stop us though. We frequently ship to the island, making sure that living conditions for its 5000 residents are a bit better than those suffered by Napoleon.

How far is Saint Helena? Not too far for us!

How far is Saint Helena?

Introducing the Ballot Bin Ashtray

 

A modern art sculpture commenting upon the throwaway nature of our vote in an increasingly homogenised parliamentary system? Not quite; the new ‘Ballot Bin ashtray’ just aims to keep our streets clean.

The voting system encourages use of the innovative new ashtray, allowing the user to choose one of two slots in which to dispose their cigarette butt, the results of which are shown in two transparent windows. The questions can be changed to reflect topical events and issues relevant to the area in which the ashtray is placed.

The concept went viral after an image of its trial run on Villiers street -Who’s the best footballer in the world? (Messi or Ronaldo) – was shared on reddit. The trial was a resounding success, though presumably the avalanche of butts on the floor at the entrance of Embankment station suggest that the majority of Londoners actually think that Neymar is the best footballer in the world.

Still though, this is a smart initiative from Hubbub, a new charity that utilises ‘hub’ of activity to spark peoples interest in sustainability issues. Other ‘hubs’ include talking rubbish bins, chewing gum artwork and chalking around littered items.

 

 
ballot-bin-from-hubbub-2-472x375

Introducing the Ballot Bin Ashtray

The wheelie bin liberation front.

 

Adolescence: a volatile time. A time in which the blissful ignorance of childhood suddenly becomes a bizarre cacophony of confusion and rage, which can often manifest itself in nihilistic acts of violence and vandalism that serve to protest against nothing else other than the bloody injustice of it all. We empathise, we really do.  We just wish that these demonstrations of frustration weren’t targeted at the poor, innocent wheelie bin. As a cursory scroll through this news archive shows, these underappreciated stalwarts of our society have a hard old time, often victimised due to the fact they just happen to be there.

This week comes the news that the dastardly youths of Orchard park are stealing residents’ wheelie bins and setting them alight for no particular reason. We think it’s a shame that these youths don’t focus these passionate, pyromanic energies towards more productive pursuits, such as playing cricket or writing sonnets. Perhaps an intensive rehabilitative course is in order, replete with our very version of ‘It’s a wonderful life,’ in which our hero sets a wheelie bin alight and spends the rest of the film waist deep in rubbish while his guardian angel begs the lord to grant him his wings, if only so he doesn’t have to walk through everyone else’s crap.

On the other side of the spectrum, it’s good to see a wheelie bin afforded the respect it deserves, taking on the role of a ‘V.I.P passenger,’ on a train from Basingstoke to Waterloo. One angry, paying passenger stated ‘“I thought why would you put something like that on a rush hour train rather than in the day when it is less busy.” Fortunately, with this being a British train, no one kicked up a fuss, therefore avoiding sparking the Rosa Parks snapshot that could have gone on to define the Wheelie bin liberation movement, which would cunningly draw upon on the fears of bins that don’t want to be lynched in parks.

 

The wheelie bin liberation front.