That's my garden, that is. I'm not lazy, I've not long moved in and have not had time to really get at it yet. The place had been empty for several months prior to me taking it over and I don't think the previous occupant was too bothered about anything judging by the state of the interior decoration. What happened? I asked of my neighbours. She died, they replied. Besides, the only gardening implements I have to hand are a pair of Sharon's shears and an old pair of small secateurs bought from a boot market last week for 50p. This could be a challenge.
I like boot markets. I went to the boot market this morning, two of them in fact. I went with the intention of maybe purchasing some tools and I really needed a trivet to save the new worktop in the kitchen and some other essential stuff but heavens, someone there had a load of old fishing kit and damn, I'm in like Flynn. Last year I bought an old split cane rod in fantastic condition for a tenner down in Ashford and I've been looking for a decent centre pin reel to go with it. £2? Done! I did actually find a trivet, about which I was quite chuffed. I really had to force myself not to pick up the handset to the second-hand Amstrad E-mailer and yell "For suggesting I put this useless pile of crap out in my name, Jeremy, you're fired" down it.
Boot markets are excellent. There is nothing quite like rummaging through someone else's old tat but every now and again you chance upon something quite trivial and it's like a real blast from the past. This morning I spotted a set of plastic ice-lolly molds. Nothing unusual except they were identical to the ones we used to make lollies with when we were kids 40 years ago. I mentioned this to the stallholder and she said she too could remember using them decades ago and that she'd been clearing out her mother's house and I suppose, when I looked at her we were probably around the same age. Our parents were war children and knew the value of thrift. Nothing gets thrown away unless it's completely outlived its original use, or in my Dad's case, any other supplementary use he can devise for it (which may not be for another
I'm probably of the last generation who were exhorted to eat it all up and think of the starving children in India/Africa wherever or if you don't eat it now, you'll get it later for tea. The Sunday roast in my parents' house still extends through until at least Wednesday once a cold collation has been done on Monday, a curry on Tuesday and finally some sort of stew forced out of what's left. I am glad I've inherited some of these traits although I do draw the line at scraping the microscopic bits of butter or spread out of one container and into the next one. When I look around my new house I see very little is new. The furniture is courtesy of what we call locally "The 3 Cs" and a two piece suite, pine bedstead and double mattress all in very good condition cost me all of £15. My table and chairs and most of my kitchen utensils are via Freecycle, a brilliant initiative and to my mind, the Internet at its absolute best. Recycling is so much more than taking cans to the tip once a week. My only regret is that I've been unable to source a decent fridge and cooker and I've had to go new for those. Rest assured, they will not be replaced until they break down irreparably. To go back to my parents, they've been using the same fridge for close on 50 years. It may not be the most efficient anymore but their mindset won't allow them to replace it until it's completely buggered. This is good as the longer an appliance is kept alive it's not using energy being recycled or a new one isn't being manufactured.
Along the same lines, I am not a gadget freak. I will not be coerced into replacing something that is perfectly serviceable on the premise that the newer version has better technology. I can't understand why manufacturers can't get their collective heads around the fact that new technology is baffling to probably 80% of the population at any one time and as such, quite worthless. My mobile phone is used to make calls and text and er...take photos. I don't want to use it to buy bus tickets, surf the interweb, ask my fridge if I've run out of taramasalata or turn my heating on. Technology is not the universal panacea it's made out to be, it's by and large just a marketing device. It doesn't make life better, it makes life more complicated and you still have to plug it in. Now, everyone go and send your Sky boxes back to Rupert and maybe we can all watch the cricket on the BBC where it's meant to be, like good civilised people, through the aerial that's already attached to the roof that can get loads of stuff in that I already have no intention of ever watching because I have a life but is free anyway and doesn't require some idiot nailing a frying pan to your front wall.
Ah...cricket. Go to boot markets and keep our national game alive and our children away from Grand Theft Auto 19! Both of the markets I went to today are held on local cricket pitches ensuring the clubs receive valuable funds to provide proper recreational facilities without having to flog bits of land to developers. Recycling. Good, eh?