Last Saturday Monica passed by a skip beside a really interesting little house that was for sale. The house has broken tea cups and saucers embedded in the walls and a little archway leading into the garden (which apparently has a little cat cemetery in it but I can't say I have ever actually noticed that). The people clearing out the house were working away bringing chairs out onto the front grass but Monica didn't have enough time to stop and chat. When we drove past it later that evening we stopped for a peek. At first we were disappointed as the skip seemed to be full of black sacks and a very old, very dusty mattress. However upon further inspection (ie we ripped open a black bag and had a nose around) we found treasure. Lots and lots of treasure. China, plates, saucers, a beautiful old crate, a glass decanter and little bowl, some more plates, lots of unused & unopened sheets and pillow cases (that we will send to the charity shop), a never-been-worn cardigan, tea towels (never used!), a box of ephemera from the 40s, 50s and 60s: old papers, receipts and newspaper clippings, photographs of the couple, a telegram(!) and subscriptions to Charles Atlas.
Going through all this skip on the side of the road was kind of embarrassing at first but once we started to find the treasures mentioned above we got excited and then as we realised just how much was being thrown out we felt sad. Talk about an arc of emotions! Perfectly good dishes, linens still in their packaging and unused utensils were thrown in black bags to be sent to a landfill. What a waste. How bad for the environment. I can imagine that the local charity shops would have loved to have got their hands on loads of that stuff.
The following day I passed by and the skip had been emptied and refilled...this time with furniture which was entirely broken up! All of it destroyed; legs snapped off chairs, desks and beds and side tables flattened. I could barely look. Maybe they wanted to fit more in.or maybe they didn't think anyone would want it but really there are plenty of better places for used furniture than landfills. It makes me so sad and kind of angry...it's just so wasteful. I'm glad we were able to rescue some things before they ended up not-rotting in the dump for years and years to come.