Tag Archives: Freecycle


14 Oct

Image result for funny head

Image from http://www.dailyhaha.com/_pics/top-of-the-head.jpg

An email came to my inbox via my Kindle:

Wowchers for Linda: 3D Virtual Reality Heads

I’m not gonna lie, the thought of floating heads, real or not, freaked me out more than a little; but I had to check the email because I just couldn’t imagine how that would work.  And really, what would be the point of a virtual reality head?  Would you take it to work and say to your colleagues, ‘Look at the size of my pimple’? You’d have to pass it off as a pimple because who wants to work with a person with two heads?  Though it would come in handy during boring meetings, when the head could pay attention and you could doze off for an hour.  You’d have to ensure the head knew not to eat the biscuits, though…talk about messy.

I rather enjoyed meandering on the possibilities of my must-have future floating head.  It was a bit of a letdown, then, when I opened the email, to see that my Kindle had merely cut the title short.  What was really on offer were 3D Virtual Reality Headsets.


Reminds me of the Freecycle offer that once landed in my inbox.  I’ve mentioned this one before but it’s worth repeating:

Offered: One child.

Seems they’d pressed ‘enter’ too quickly because what they meant to offer was one child’s bicycle. 

I swear it’s a true story.

Talking of Freecycle, I can’t remember where  I read it but this story’s a little more apocryphal:

Saw advert on Freecycle this morning: “Wanted: hair dryer for my wife.”

Wonder how many emails he’ll get with, “Sounds like a fair exchange.”


Saving The Planet = Saving Cash

17 Apr
A car boot sale gets its name from the way goo...

A car boot sale gets its name from the way goods are sold out of the back of a car. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I haven’t posted tips for a long time.  I think these bear repeating.  Just because I’m not here, doesn’t mean I can’t make myself useful.

Partly due to personal circumstances; partly due to witnessing people scrabble around in my bins for food when I lived in South Africa; partly due to a desire to save the planet; and partly due to natural parsimony, I am a keen recycler and money-grubber.  Why not join me?


  • Wash everything except very dirty things on a cold wash; modern powders and liquids are strong enough.  You don’t need to be at 30 degrees
  • Never wash a half-load, only a full one
  • Only fill the kettle with enough water for the number of cups you require
  • Use carrier bags for indoor bins instead of buying bin liners
  • Cut up old sheets, towels, clothes, etc. for dish cloths and dusters
  • Pour unused water  into your plant pots  – better still, buy a rain barrel
  • FREECYCLE/FREEGLE!  You can give away your old junk and receive somebody else’s.  It’s a worldwide thing so there’s probably a group near you.  It’s free.
  • If you are a UK book reader there’s also readitswapit, which is great for swapping books.  All it costs is second class postage.  It’s easy to list your old books (it must be, because I did it).  My one piece of advice would be: don’t list heavy or hardback books unless you don’t mind mortgaging the children to cover the postage.
  • Use rechargeable batteries
  • Buy refills whenever possible
  • Put stale bread out for the birds
  • Save soap scraps and make your own block of soap (having said that, I’ve only managed three blocks of soap in five years, but every little helps)
  • Cannibalise furniture, appliances, etc: when we redecorated our living room, the Hub took apart our old wall unit and used the wood to make shelves in a cupboard; he also took out all of the screws to re-use
  • Defrost food in the fridge overnight, rather than in the microwave
  • Ensure leftover food has cooled down before putting it in the fridge
  • A fridge will work more efficiently if it is well stocked, but not over full or practically empty

And one more: recycle clothes.

  • Swap with friends – my friend and I estimated that on average six children (including our own) shared any one garment.   The more people you share with, the more clothes there are to choose from, and therefore the less worn out each garment becomes.
  • Donate unwanted clothes to charity shops – they will collect if you can’t carry them
  • Sell them by the bag load on a car boot sale or through the free ads
  • If you can’t sell it or give it away because it’s too old, cannibalise it: cut off all buttons, take out cords and shoelaces, then use what’s left as rags
  • Buy from charity shops, car boot sales and jumble sales – the more we do that, the less consumables will eventually be produced


Many of these tips might seem obvious but you’d be amazed at how few people are aware of them – do your children and the planet a favour, and pass on the message!

Have you got any tips to share?  Despite what the Hub keeps saying, I don’t know it all.

Jobs I Would Like

29 Jun
Manners circa 1900

Image via Wikipedia

From the Arts Council website:

Volunteer Swishing Coordinator.

Apparently it’s a thing.  Clothes swapping.  Huh.

Stilt Walkers.  No previous experience needed. 

I swear I’m not making this up.


Tory Boy forwarded this Lancaster Freecycle post:

OFFER: Basic course in manners 

From: ******** 

Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2011 20:10:44 -0000


A basic course in manners and internet etiquette available to anyone
who has forgotten how to say please or thank you when asking for
items on freecycle




Green Around The Landfills

5 Jun
Steel crushed and baled for recycling in a rec...

Image via Wikipedia

Whose responsibility is it to change the world?


And what will be your contribution?

Eat less.
Fart less.
Kill all the cows.


To be fair, I am doing my bit:

  • I reduce, repair, re-use and recycle whenever possible.
  • I swap my books instead of buying new.
  • I Freegle, Realcycle and Freecycle at every opportunity.
  • I don’t just throw cans into the brown recycling bin: I take off their labels for the blue recycling bin.
  • I turn old wardrobes into cupboard shelves and socks into dusters.
  • I buy my clothes in charity shops or accept them gratefully from friends.
  • I only boil enough water for my cup of tea.  The rest of them do without because they can’t be bothered making their own.
  • I let Stockport Homes re-wire my house, install a condensing boiler, double glazing, insulation and energy-efficient shower.  (How good am I?)
  • I use the same old jokes whenever I think I can get away with it.

I don’t think there’s much more I can do; do you?


While proofreading this post, I realised I had read ‘save’ instead of ‘change’. 

Let’s try again:

Whose responsibility is it to change the world?


And what will be your contribution?

Get my kids to do it.

They’ll have to take over; I’m exhausted.  I’m so busy saving the planet, I don’t have time to fix it.



How To Tickle My Fancy

14 Apr

Image via Wikipedia

Before I begin, I make no apology for the contents of today’s post; I can’t – I’m too busy laughing.

This one is just to warm you up:

To our email inbox from Realcycle.  Realcycle, like Freegle, is a Freecycle splinter group – what’s going on out there in freebie land?  Some sort of civil war with the right to own whole barns of tat at stake?

From: **********
Date: 08/04/2011 16:37:16
To: Realcycle-Manchester@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [Realcycle-Manchester]
WANTED: unwanted pounds, M6

I will collect any unwanted pounds Sterling.


Won’t we all?  Wish I’d thought of it first.


This next one was in yesterday’s Star (and it’s not a tabloid).  I’m going to share extracts for your delectation, but you can read the whole article here, if you can stomach it.  This should bring an influx of weird to my search list.

Headline: Penis museum gets human specimen.

You can see why that might catch my eye, can’t you?  And before you say ‘no’, remember you are still reading this. 

If you are wondering about the donor,

“He liked to be in the limelight, you know? He was a funny guy,” he said. “He was a boaster, a braggart… He liked to be provocative.”

The 95-year-old Icelander’s pickled penis will be the main attraction in one of his country’s most bizarre museums.

I bet it will. 

But wait!  There’s more:

Several people had pledged their penises over the years

Note the use of ‘people’, not ‘men’.  Did I miss something in Biology class?

We are informed that

Highlights of the museum’s collection include a 170cm sperm whale penis preserved in formaldehyde, lampshades made from bull testicles and what the museum described as an “unusually big” penis bone from a Canadian walrus.

Gotta love that phrase ‘unusually big’.  I have to visit this place.

The museum’s founder relates how 

colleagues brought him whale penises as gifts.

That must have been a surprise on Christmas morning. 


Photos posted to the museum’s website show small army of ghostly, whitish penises stuffed into jars

and there are

other penis-related craft items.

Bet you won’t find any at Hobbycraft.

Time For Some Housekeeping

10 Feb
Action painting - own work. Somewhat similar t...

Image via Wikipedia

Well, not housekeeping so much as disparate items under an irrelevant title.  I won’t be housekeeping for a while because the dust bunnies are using the Hub’s million printers as ramparts. 

You see: there’s always a silver lining. 


Like Phoebe’s Central Perk moment in Friends – ‘I just got that!’ – I just got what tent suppliers in marriage was after: someone was looking for a marquee for their wedding.  Or maybe a marquis?  A duke would be nice but a baron’s no good: you could never fit a couple of hundred guests in a baron. 

I accidentally typed ‘barn’, which is ridiculous: of course you can fit a couple of hundred guests in a barn.  But you have to ask the farmer first.


On Freecycle/Freegle/RealCycle: I love it, not least because it gives me the chance to get rid of the Hub’s junk and save the planet at the same time.  But not when you get greedy people like the person yesterday who asked for a widescreen tv because the last one they got off Freecycle just broke – MUST be working with remote and in good, clean condition.  Oh, and by the way: can you deliver? 

That last one gives me the chance to re-hash for my newer readers this genuine Freecycle post that came to my inbox a couple of years ago:

Offered: One child.  

Seems they’d pressed ‘enter’ too quickly because what they meant to offer was one child’s bicycle.  I swear that’s true (are you listening, earlybird?).


Buy The Book (2): I didn’t forget to post it yesterday; my friend asked me to hold off for a couple of days while she sorts something out. It’s in my draft box, ready to explode on to your screens like an alien in John Hurt.


I always confuse John Hurt and John Heard.  One played Caligula and Olivander and the other a dirty cop in The Sopranos and the founder of the KKK.  One is English and one American.  One got fat, one didn’t.  One played a homosexual and the other didn’t stay home alone.  Then there’s that actor in the film about the thing, who has a similar sounding name as well.  You know who I mean…hang on, let me Google him…

John Savage. He was in The Amateur. Okay, only his first name is a little similar but I heard that a savage can hurt one; I heard that one savage can hurt a herd; and I heard that one herd can hurt a savage, so you understand my understandable confusion. 


As this blog post is turning into one big jumbled mess, I thought you’d enjoy a Jackson Pollock as illustration (see above).

If you want to know more about Jackson Pollock, don’t read this blog post.  If you want to know more about gravy browning, do.

That’s just my way of taking your mind off the terrible mess I’m making today. Governments do the same thing, only they call them ‘wars’.


I can’t end on a political note so here’s a joke:

A policeman parked his police van in front of the station; while gathering his equipment, his K-9 partner Tops was barking, and he saw a little boy staring in at him.  “Is that a dog you got back there?” the boy asked. “It sure is,” the policeman replied. Puzzled, the boy looked at him and towards the back of the van.

Finally he asked, “What did he do?”

Stop groaning.  I never said it was a good joke.

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

A Bargain Is Only A Bargain If Your Wife Is Still Speaking To You

8 Feb

Image by paulproteus via Flickr

Marriage is a relationship in which one person is always right, and the other is a husband.  Anonymous.

The Hub came nearer to extinction yesterday than he has ever done.  Last week he cuddled me so hard I couldn’t move my arms as he said in a gentle tone, ‘Don’t be mad at me, darling.’  He didn’t say ‘darling’ out loud but I could tell he was thinking it.  ‘I have bought some printers.’

We need a new printer.  We won our present one in a competition about four years ago.  It’s smashing, but all printed out.  We don’t have the funds right now for a new one so we are propping it up with love and threats: ‘Work, dammit!  I’ll clean you, I promise.’

In fact, we need to replace a lot of our appliances: the toaster toasts only one side of the bread; the kettle is moody; the steamer is cracked and battered and leaking vegetables; my beloved George Forman died and was buried with full honours in the non-recyclable bin, those picky pick-up men refusing to take him when he was nestled with the tin cans and plastic bottles.  His offspring is George-lite and doesn’t have George’s capacity; he does for two people but three or more and he panics: he will strain and groan and set off the smoke alarm.  He has never lived up to his father and I doubt that he ever will.

We won’t be replacing them any time soon, but the Hub got ‘some’ printers off an auction site for £acertainamountbutwellwithinourpricerange.  A bargain.  He thought it was worth it if just one works; and maybe he can sell the others for spare parts.  My house is littered with things the Hub was going to sell for spare parts but never had the energy to do.  Once he has collected the items, his energy is all spent and, to quote Hawkeye through the same gritted teeth, ‘They stay where they lay.’  However, if I can’t print out my poems, I can’t print out my poems.  Paris is worth a mass and printers are worth their weight in A4.

So I thought.  Yesterday he brought them home.  As our old one sits atop a crowded cupboard, I had lost all perspective: printers are big!  Especially six or ten or seventy-three or however many there are forging the crazy paving from the kitchen to the lounge. 

He did it once before, with microwaves.  They sat in the shed for nine years until we discovered Freecycle.  This time, it’s the Hub I’m giving away.  Anybody need one?  I’ll deliver.

Talk About Leaving It To The Last Minute

29 Dec
Saddest Christmas dog ever

Image by quinn.anya via Flickr

This Freegle ‘wanted’ ad came to my inbox on Christmas Eve at three minutes past eleven P.M.:

Hi everyone I know I’ve left this really late but we were expecting a delivery today of Xmas presents for our 9 yr old girl but they didn’t turn up , so if anyone has anything suitable we would appreciate it , thanks in advance can collect tonight.

No ‘received’ emails have come through so that poor child must have had a miserable Christmas morning.


An Utter Declutter

31 Aug
Garden shed

Image via Wikipedia


We have a lot of stuff; we’ve always had a lot of stuff.  It didn’t matter in South Africa when the Hub had a warehouse attached to his office: we stored everything there and our home looked lovely; it’s not so great now that we live in a three-bed council house.  Part of the problem is that we hang on to things we might need later on, like every plug from every defunct appliance we’ve ever owned – bearing in mind that it is a legal requirement that every appliance sold in this country must come with an integrated plug, it’s like letting your older children leave home but keeping their feet in case the next one you give birth to needs spare tootsies.  Okay, that’s ridiculous; but so is hanging on to twenty-five years’ worth of electric waste.

Having built and filled our garden shed twelve years ago, the stars finally conjoined yesterday to give us sunshine, everybody home with nothing to do, and me in a we can do this if we only gird our loins and get on with it mood.  I needed to empty the shed (not the one pictured, but a good facsimile) so that I have somewhere to store the clutter from the kitchen (it must be emptied before they give me a new one).  The clutter in the kitchen came from the hall when I painted it.  The clutter in the hall came from the lounge when I painted it.  The clutter in the lounge came from my inability to tie the Hub to his chair and never let him shop.  I didn’t have the heart to put the clutter back in the lounge because I was able to see every wall for the first time since Spud was born.  I have been shuffling utter crap from room to room for months, and yesterday I decided it must STOP.





Tilly couldn't understand where the mess was coming from...



My family hate when that happens because it means work for them, and they weren’t wrong.  We sat the Hub in a comfy chair on the back step so that he could supervise the chucking-out and tell us what he really needed to keep: spare parts for his never-used scooter (we’re building our own ark here in Stockport) could stay because they will come in handy in 2027 when it is forecast we will finally have a dry summer and the scooter will need de-rusting; but three huge electric typewriters and seventeen pieces of mouldy mdf were defintely out.  A box full of baby toys might have stayed if the boys were ready to make me a grandmother, but I didn’t want to encourage them so they went on the skip pile.  An old tent we got from Freecycle last year was finally opened up to see if it was of any use.  It was: I now have waterproof bicycle and braai covers, albeit bright purple, and three groundsheets.  I couldn’t prise a Linguaphone box of 78s from the Hub’s crying arms, but I did manage to sneak out a couple of motorbike forks and carpet offcuts from a carpet we no longer have, when he was stroking the vinyl and saying Ciao, bella to himself.

We finished up with several piles:

  • for the council skip (coming next week)
  • recycling (how many fly-blown cardboard boxes do we really need?)
  • Freegling (the beauty of decluttering on a public holiday is that people are free to collect straightaway)
  • charity (the van happened to be coming this morning)
  • to sell (to pay for my broken nails)
  • might come in handy at some point if the Hub can hide them from me

We moved the stuff in the house that we really wanted to keep into the shed, where it will no doubt stay for another twelve years until we get our next sunny day.  The kitchen isn’t quite cleared but it’s getting there.  The hall isn’t quite cleared but it’s getting there.  The lounge – well, you get the idea.  I’m doing my best and if it sometimes feels as if I’m holding back an avalanche with sheer will and a roll of bin bags, at least it gives me something to blog about.

I Googled ‘declutter’ and I came across some excellent tips; I will give you the best ones and the sites they came from:


  • Declutter for 15 minutes every day. It’s amazing how much you can get through if you just do it in small increments like this.
  • Whenever you’re boiling the kettle for tea, tidy up the kitchen. If the kitchen is tidy, tidy up the next room – it’s only 3 minutes but it keeps you on top of everything (helps if you have an Englishman’s obsession with Tea as well!)
  • The One-Year Box. Take all your items that you unsure about getting rid of (e.g. “I might need this someday…”), put them in a box, seal it and date it for 1 year in the future. When the date comes, and you still didn’t need to open it to get anything, donate the box WITHOUT OPENING IT. You probably won’t even remember what there was in the box.


  • Create a “maybe” box. Sometimes when you’re going through a pile of stuff, you know exactly what to keep (the stuff you love and use) and what to trash or donate. But then there’s the stuff you don’t use, but think you might want it or need it someday. You can’t bear to get rid of that stuff! So create a “maybe” box, and put this stuff there. Then store the box somewhere hidden, out of the way. Put a note on your calendar six months from now to look in the box. Then pull it out, six months later, and see if it’s anything you really needed. Usually, you can just dump the whole box, because you never needed that stuff.
  • Pull everything out of a drawer. Just take the drawer out and empty it on a table. Then sort the drawer into three piles: 1) stuff that really should go in the drawer; 2) stuff that belongs elsewhere; 3) stuff to get rid of. Clean the drawer out nice, then put the stuff in the first pile back neatly and orderly. Deal with the other piles immediately!


  • BE BRAVE  Most people find it hard to throw away stuff, but you can’t attach sentimental value to everything you own.  When your house is cluttered, nothing looks good. So, as you go through your possessions, ask yourself which of them you actually love or use. If not, why not?  Maybe it’s a wedding present you secretly hate, a dress that doesn’t suit you. Let it go.
  • MAKE A MESS  To clear up your home, you have to turn it into a proverbial bombsite first.  The best de-cluttering method is to pull every single item from your shelves, drawers and cupboards and lay it all out so you can see exactly what everything is.  This tactic works well for clearing out your wardrobe; as well as gathering rags to chuck, you’ll ‘re-find’ clothes you’d forgotten about.


  • This is my favourite: Start today  Procrastination is the major obstacle to decluttering.  So start now.





14 Aug

I follow a blog called Freakcycle which highlights the weird and wonderful from the world of Freecycle, and I thought I would just share this one with you because it tickled my fancy:

Saw advert on Freecycle this morning: “Wanted: hair dryer for my wife”. Wonder how many emails he’ll get with “sounds like a fair exchange”- by dianthusmed

I wonder if the Hub posted it?


I’m A Gleek

25 Jun

and I hope to get the t-shirt to prove it. I already have the music and I’d better get the dvd for Christmas or come December 26th I’m offering my whole family on Freecycle. Don’t stop believing it boys, because I mean it: what a girl wants, she better get.

I absolutely LOVE Glee (it won’t surprise you to learn that I also adored Fame in the Eighties). I thought Lea Michele singing Don’t Rain On My Parade was the best moment of the series – though Chris Colfer and the football team singing Single Ladies comes a close second – and I have hurt my eardrums by playing it over and over at full blast on my MP3 player.

I never saw the point of an MP3 player before the Glee albums, despite having one of the first to come out (though in those days it was known as a ‘Walkman’), but now I don’t go anywhere without it. Unfortunately, I can’t concentrate on anything with all that music blaring so I have to find something dull to do. This has led to me frightening the Hub, who is not used to me doing housework voluntarily, but I just take a bow and carry on.

I also spend a lot of time dancing with myself; I might look stupid, but it should even out the chocolate intake. And the Hub is so sweet: when I am ready to drop after all that dancing and cleaning – think Mr Myagi and ‘Wax on; wax off’ on dirty cupboard doors – he tells me, ‘I’ll stand by you; lean on me.’ And I tell him, ‘My life would suck without you.’

Who knew that a cheesy but incredibly fun tv series would reveal our endless love? It’s not a bad romance, really; even after twenty-eight years. Maybe it’s a man’s, man’s man’s world, but I’m a funny girl and he’s the one.

If you are wondering by this stage what I’m rambling on about, here’s something to help you; it might cast a little ray of light:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_songs_in_Glee

Save The Planet, Pocket The Dosh

17 May

One of the tasks during my month-long sabbatical from housework was to talk knowledgeably for up to a minute on any subject we fancied.  Having bored the group rigid for weeks on why they should vote – democratic right, decisions are made by blahblahblah – I realised that it’s time to stop talking when people stop listening, so I surprised them with some household tips instead.  As I last shared tips with you in July 2009, I thought you could hear them as well.  Most of them are common sense but it amazes me how many people say, ‘Ooooh, I never thought of that before.’

  • Use lamps with lower wattage bulbs – but don’t use two lamps with 60 watt bulbs if your overhead light is using a 100 watt bulb; you’ll be using more energy
  • Take a shower instead of a bath
  • Turn down the boiler thermostat by 10 degrees – it will be hot enough for your needs, but saves a lot of energy over the years
  • If you have an old boiler, rather than heat up the water to wash a sinkful of dishes, put in cold water to lather, and boil the kettle (using just enough for your needs) to warm it up for washing
  • Use a bowl in the sink to wash dishes
  • Always replace damaged seals on fridges and freezers
  • Use the right size pan on stove rings.
  • Leave the lids on while you cook; it’s much more energy efficient
  • Turn off the ring a few minutes before the food is cooked – it will remain hot enough to finish cooking
  •  Turn off at the wall all appliances not in use – you will save £7 a year.  It may not sound like much but it’s better off in your pocket than theirs
  • Old birthday and Christmas cards make great gift tags and postcards for competitions
  • Keep jars and plastic tubs for storing food in the fridge; you can also pour used oil into them instead of pouring it down the sink or toilet
  • Used computer paper and some junk mail make excellent drawing paper for the children (then put in the recycle bin)
  • Use the end of wallpaper rolls to line cupboards and drawers (or throw it in the recycle bag); the kids love to draw on it as well
  • If you don’t want or need household goods that are still in good repair, donate them to charity, give them to a friend or offer them on Freegle or Freecycle
  • Shut your doors to keep heat in
  • Open your doors and windows for free air freshener

I put in that last one so that I could tell you about the time I watched a reporter struggle not to laugh in my face.  I was once interviewed for a magazine article on recycling.  I’m a bit daft, as you know, so when she asked me what I thought about aerosols such as air fresheners I didn’t think, as a normal person would, ‘Oh, she’s talking about the damage to the ozone layer.’  No, I responded in a confidential whisper, ‘Well this is strictly off the record but, if I’m alone in the house and I go to the toilet, if you know what I mean, I don’t spray afterwards.’

Save the planet: lock up the dozies!

The Sound Of Music

18 Jan

Apologies if I owe you a reply to an email; I have been incredibly busy all week and I have not had time to write, but I have not forgotten you.  I have been busy because my house is to be re-wired tomorrow; I may have mentioned it.  We will be without electricity all day so, as Captain von Trapp might say, ‘My fellow bloggers, I shall not see you again for a very long time.’  Forty-eight hours is a long time in the blogosphere – if I don’t post every day you will forget me and move on to a more reliable housewife.

It has been a long road getting here: a man called at my house before Christmas to survey it.  Despite the fact that he couldn’t move for decorations, huge trees, and the thirty-seven gifts I was wrapping when he called, he seemed to think a little shuffle around was all that was needed for the electricians to get on with their work.   I trusted him (it was Christmas and he was Scouse, after all), thinking the only problem might be the room my backside takes up: how do I solve a problem like my rear?  I did a little clearing and then forgot about it until the engineer called the Friday before our due date.

Not a nice man.  He walked around my house with a disapproving nose, peering into cupboards to see if we had storage space, and tut-tutting the whole time.  He even went up the loft ladders, which must have sixteen, going on seventeen steps, then pulled up short: ‘There’s no way we can do this on Monday.’   Granted, you could climb every mountain in Britain and not be qualified to find your way around the detritus of fourteen years that chokes my under-roof area, but it’s not that bad.  Though I did once get trapped in one gap for an hour before the Hub came to look for me, wanting his dinner; but that was a long time ago and he has blown up many balloons since then in an effort to keep me sweet.

I begged the engineer not to write us off until I had tried to get rid of some my favourite things, and he graciously gave me a few days.  I spent the whole of last weekend Freecycling, or Freegling, as it is now: the subsidiary Brit arm fell out with the Yank parent arm about its lack of understanding about how things work here, and declared its independence.  No recycling with that over-the-pond heckling! was the cry.  Whatever.  All I know is, people quickly collected three old vacuum cleaners, PC World’s entire back-catalogue of broken computers, and even a lonely stoat fur I found in the corner over the bath where the birds nest.  I was happy to say so long, farewell to it all. 

The engineer did not return, but the surveyor and the head electrician appeared on Tuesday.  They both seemed to think the job could be done tomorrow, but the loft was still a cause for concern because every card, drawing, sentimental tat  and hand-made gift ever given to us by the boys lay in boxes right over the area needed for access.  So it was back up in the loft for me and broken toys, broken appliances, old clothes, bedding and an idle vice went the way of their former housemates.  Why would anyone want such crap?  I really don’t understand it, I thought, as I lamented each departure.

Now the loft is as clear as it is ever going to be; the house is as uncluttered as the moment before the van with our furniture arrived fourteen years ago; and I have confidence that it will be a go tomorrow. 

Amazing!  I had just typed that last full stop when the electrician called, inspected and told me it is a go – what a nice man.  It was music to my ears.  I must have done something good.

Tomorrow will be as easy as do-re-mi: all I have to do is get up; make, eat and clean up after breakfast; shower & dress; put everything, including drawers full of clothes and tvs which are blocking access, on the beds, tables and chairs; prepare a flask of tea and sandwiches for lunch; and take out tomorrow’s already prepared dinner from the freezer…all by eight a.m., when ten burly men will arrive to rip my house apart and put it back together again in time for tea.

Here’s to a happy, dustsheet-covered day.  See you on Wednesday!


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