You’ll all be relieved to know that the number of sofas in this house has been reduced to one, thanks to those lovely guys from SOFA. I highly recommend these people if you have furniture to donate: much cheerier than the British Heart Foundation and far less sniffy than LOROS who won’t even take something if it has a bit of dust on it, these guys set to with a will, undeterred by ink spots and merely concerned with how sturdy the structure was. Now that’s my kind of recycling.
In the process though, I have found a couple of useful bits of info, to whit Leicestershire and Rutland re-use network (though the website is temporarily offline) which actually carry out repairs and upcycling, and www.freeuseit.org (though they merely give suggestions rather than taking stuff). It was also suggested I might try the Red Cross who help refugees to set up home (legally, lest any Daily Mail readers should start frothing at the mouth) and any of these would have been my next port of call. Failing all of them I’d have freecycled the bits as foam cushions and pieces of wood. I was determined to save it from the tip.
Give that woman a gold star!
I mean it. I want my gold star.
Now, a propos of all this recycling and retoastering (did I tell you about the toaster? Possibly not; I’ll get to that in a minute) I’ve started another blog in conjunction with Loughborough Quakers. It’s all about our efforts to live more sustainably and you can find it here.
I’ve gone all Latinate this morning because I am not a happy bunny. What I don’t like is people who say they’re going to come around and pick up your laptop and then don’t show up. And when said person arranges to come at the slightly inconvenient hour of 8.30 (presumably on their way to work) and you finish your yoga early so as to be ready and then they don’t show up which means you keep looking out of the window and can’t settle to work because you’re thinking, when would be a reasonable time to give up on them and go to the next person? – that’s what I call a waste of my time.
There’s no excuse for this. So you get held up? Message me. Traffic jam, unexpected caller, plumbing disaster, car breakdown? Just let me know. Fair enough, if you or a close relative has been taken to hospital, I’ll let you off. But otherwise…
Anyway I give this guy till 10 am, which I think is quite generous, then I go to the next person on the list. The next person was also the previous person who didn’t get back to me in time but then messaged after I’d offered it on. I said I’d get back to her if this guy was a no-show. She said fine, I got back to her. Voicemail. I texted instead saying get back to me asap; and now we wait. I’ll give them both till midday and then it will go to yet another person.
To be fair I rarely have this problem in Loughborough as mostly people turn up when they say they will; but it can drive you crazy. In any case I really hate waiting for people, not because I’m impatient (though I may be) but because – and I hesitate to sound like a headmistress here – lateness is a discourtesy to others. I once got into a rage with some people who failed to meet me in Madrid after I’d told them how important it was to me: turned out I’d got the wrong day. Red face. So now I try to be reasonable – because otherwise I’ll end up doing what other people on Freecycle do and post a rather testy message saying NO TIME-WASTERS or SERIOUS OFFERS ONLY.
Of course the definition of lateness varies with the situation. If I’m sitting in a pub or a restaurant I don’t mind fifteen minutes or so, though it would be nice to know you’re on your way. If there’s a group of us I probably won’t mind if you’re half an hour late. But if we’re going to see a film and we miss the beginning then I’d probably get a bit annoyed. Lateness is a variable, not a constant.
But flexibility in terms of time is something OH will never understand. In typical all-or-nothing fashion he maintains that if you’re not on time – and that means bang on time – you’re late. Two minutes is a miss, and a miss is as good as a mile: I’ve had to persuade him to enter a restaurant rather than turning round and going home, because we’re five minutes late – so in the frankly terrifying world of OH you might as well not bother because the people we’re meeting will have gone home.
I’ve just had a message from the no-show saying they meant 8.30 this evening. So now I feel frustrated AND sheepish. Bah!
I am not a happy sheep.
You wouldn’t think it would be so hard to get rid of a sofa. Like any responsible citizen when we acquired our new sofa (from British Heart Foundation) our first thought was to donate the old one back to them. Did they want it? Yes, so long as the fire label was there. It was. Well, the men came, they saw and they spotted a couple of ink stains we had completely forgotten about, and they said no thanks.
The next port of call was freecycle. I took a lovely photo:
which unaccountably posted upside-down and refused to be righted, I described it lovingly and sent it out into Charnwood to seek its fortune. I eagerly checked my inbox for the next few days – nothing. * Sigh * The world – or at least Loughborough and its environs – does not want our sofa. What next? A search of the council website threw up Sue Ryder: I emailed them to arrange collection and this morning got a message asking me to call. I called. You wouldn’t think calling a charity about a sofa would be like phoning the Universal Credit helpline, but I was put on hold while a succession of annoying and repetitive messages played. I was number two in the queue. Five minutes later I was still number two in the queue. Bollocks to it: I hung up and called back a while later, at which point I was number five in the queue. I gave up and emailed them.
If Sue Ryder also turn their noses up at the ink stains we will go to Sofa. They will almost certainly take it but we’ll have to wait a couple of weeks. *Sigh* Why is it so hard to do the right thing? I could have just taken it to the tip and had done with it. Ah, but then could I live with myself?
The new sofa’s good though. Here it is proudly displayed in the shop:
I hope you are reading this at the right time. I am writing it in GMT which is of course the Proper Time of Day from now until whenever it is that the clocks spring forward again. Yes, BST is at an end; and we have all acted accordingly – but the weather doesn’t seem to have realised. There’s no sign of winter yet, and autumn seems like a duller, damper and less leafier version of summer. The more days we have without frost, the more anxious I feel about global warming. I have nightmares, as I walk the streets in t-shirt and cagoul, about ice-caps melting, polar-bears dying, flood-plains flooding, and all the horrid plagues of disease and overcrowding and rats that will precede our eventual demise.
And yet… and yet – there is still hope. Thirty years ago I was having similar nightmares about nuclear winter and the extinction of vast swathes of the planet – and that didn’t happen. Does this mean we can just assume that worst-case scenarios in general are paranoid fantasies? Can we carry on and laugh at the gloom-mongers?
Absolutely not. There were various reasons why all-out nuclear war didn’t happen, and the main one, I contend, was the realisation that whatever the differences between communism and capitalism, it didn’t – and doesn’t – make sense to address them in this way. Yes, there was the breakdown of communism and all that as well, I know. But the fact that we drew back from the brink gives me hope. Perhaps before long people will realise that everyone having a car is not sustainable; not only because it’s bad for the environment but because if everyone has a car and every car is on the road, no-one actually gets to go anywhere. Perhaps before long people will realise that having the central heating and a gazillion kitchen gadgets is not a Good Idea. Perhaps before long people will start to see reusing and recycling as positive options, not just necessary ones.
Things are starting to happen. They’ve been starting to happen for a long time; we just need to carry on with them. That way we can – at the risk of sounding like a hippy – live in harmony with the planet rather than being at war with it. Because the warm war, like the cold war, has no winners at all.
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