Thursday, 28 February 2008

skipping the light fantastic


Bristol is getting pretty good at recycling. We put out:

Tins
Glass
Paper
Cardboard
Kitchen waste

..and it gets whisked away every Tuesday. I miss the compost bin I once had in the garden. The landlady, a gardener of the "scorched earth" school, was strongly opposed to it, saying that it would attract rats. In fact, it attracted wood mice, a family of which had made themselves cosy in there, though they occasionally forayed into our kitchen in the winter. Wood mice are nice. High up on the cute animals list.

It also attracted hippies. We had an infestation of them in the attic at the time, and they used to throw plastic and horrid stinking things into there. O well, despite all that the compost bin produced lots of nice rich humus in its time.

Long gone now; the landlady finally had her way. And the hippies disappeared. Perhaps the council pest control people had a hand in it.

So I'm glad that at least the green waste is not going to landfill....

With spring comes the high season for skip hunting. There are two sorts of people; those who put things into skips, either because they've hired them or because they're nefariously getting rid of something at someone else's expense; and those who take things out of them. Obviously, I fall into the latter category.

Skips can be wonderful; you never know what you may find. Let's see: past highlights include

a czech motorbike
a Seagull outboard motor
an Atco lawnmower
a Kenwood Major food mixer, with which I have been making my bread for about fifteen years now
loooooads of bicycles and bike bits and tools
...countless books, paintings, pictures, pots and pans...

...sometimes I am circumspect, as when it is evidently the possessions of someone who has died; it's rather pathetic, seeing the material legacy of a life consigned to a skip, and I feel rather intrusive; but it seems even worse to let the things go off to be strewn on a tip.

And then there are builders' skips, which can be a rich source of timber. I've been rescuing piles of stuff from down the road, where an old people's home is being done up. And last week I found this one here, outside Redland's eco-home.

...Well, it was hailed in a quiet way as an eco-home when it was built a few years ago. I think it's got insulation and stuff like that.

The eco-skip has provided me with some very nice plywood and MDF, and some blocks of tropical hardwood. Don't know if it's teak or mahogany or that other supposedly more sustainable one, ikebana or ikea or whatever.

Iroko, that's it.

Anyway, v heavy. I tried cutting it with my chainsaw and it started sparking. Whoo. Wood with attitude.

Still, I'm sure it'll be useful for something. And it did come all the way from a rainforest. Shame to throw it away.