I recently came across the fabtastic blog by Lulastic and the hippy shake and have been humbled and inspired in equal measure. She seems to hit the nail on the head with every post and I pretty much decided that there wasn’t much point me resurrecting this blog since I was happy for her to say everything I ever wanted to but more humorously and with style. Except as all great writers and artists do she also inspired me. I love knowing that somewhere not so far away in South London in a woman about my age also trying to make a beautiful life while not trashing the world with some hilariously grumpy feminism mixed in. So I now feel even more inspired to add my voice to the mix pushing back against the tide of consumerism swamping our lovely world in plastic crap.
I’ve been pondering one of her comments today as Chris and I headed out to our favourite Saturday lazy day activity of choice – Douglas Way Market or as Chris and I like to call it “The Deptford Shit Market” (Sorry for the bad language Dad!)
A lot of our friends and family comment that we are dead lucky because we have a house full of beautiful second hand furniture which we bought for peanuts on ebay or simply picked up on the street. I had always agreed with them especially when resting my bum on our posh period throne
or eyeing up our funky floral pub chairs both found in bins only footsteps away from our flat.
But then I read Lucy’s take on luck and realised that luck is only part of the story. There’s a whole world of hard work that we tend to forget about. When Chris found “The Throne” it was a pile of uninspiring bits of wood and upholstery sat by a bin and when we got it home we realised that there was quite a lot of bits missing. It took a fair few attempts to put together the jigsaw of bits to make a serviceable chair, not to mention some hard core handiwork from Chris involving the loan of some serious metal drill bits.
My sister in law Shirley complains that she only see’s broken skanky rubbish in the bins round her house and I struggled to make her believe that my lovely directors chairs were found down the road from her house and that her husband had almost died of embarrassment when I made him help me pull them – broken and mouldy- from the skip they were sitting atop.
I’m useless at taking the all important before pics so no-one ever realises that the chairs they are cooing over and desperately wishing that they had found by a bin were seriously manky and hideous before I spent a frantic week with a tin of pink paint and an industrial staple gun.
I’m basically selling people a lie that fabulous furniture is lying awaiting them on the street and they are just too unlucky to find it. It’s not true. Fabulous furniture is awaiting them on the street but it just looks too scuz for them to notice it. I realised last week that this is equally true with our beloved Douglas Way market.
We routinely sing the praises of our local salvage market with it’s wealth of rubbish that no-one could sell and tell mates of filing cabinets bought for a fiver or hilariously lovely royal mugs for 50p.
Last week our mates Dorrie and Jeff decided to check out this mystical market in fact we worked out that they had probably been there at exactly the same time as us. They woefully told us how they had missed the real market because it looked as if it was only the people left selling a load of shit left clearing up their rubbish. I was a little shaken by a similar reaction from Chris’ bezzie mate Robin when we took him along for a treat a few weeks earlier. Yep a rubbish market counts as a treat in our trashy house That’s the way we roll
I fear we have been overselling this place. But guys come on! We were calling it the shit market (I really am sorry Dad but the language seems appropriate in this instance. Rubbish just doesn’t cover it).
I couldn’t make Dorrie believe that she had pretty much seen the market albeit the gradual tail end. In vain I tried to suggest that wind down is the time to grab a bargain. At roughly the same time I had been literally jumping up and down with glee at finding a hanging basket in which to plant my remaining two tomato plants plus a pretty yet functional wicker picnic basket for my sewing stuff all a grand total of £1.50. Admittedly I also had a load of fake flowers that I didn’t really want courtesy of the hanging basket. Even so, I’ll probably pimp my bike with them so all in all everyone’s a winner…
Except Dorrie and Jeff. I feel bad. Why did I luck out when they didn’t?
Now I’ve read Lucy’s take on luck I understand. Yes it’s great and lucky when you find just what you want on the street or in a pile of junk for 50p but equally if you want a bargain you’re probably going to have to work on it. Rather than showing off my fabulous finds after all our hard work primping, sanding and sewing I need to get honest with folk and inspire them to look at crap on the street/market with new eyes. So in a spirit of inspiration (and smug glee) I shall show the glory of my finds down the “Deptford Shit Market” today.
First up our mop bucket. Dear reader I almost wept with joy when I saw this hulk of steel next to a pile of mouldy lace and ripped velvet (which I almost bought btw)
We bought a mop the week we moved in almost 6 months ago but I just couldn’t bring myself to buy a shiny new plastic bucket to go with the mop. I kept thinking of all the old buckets probably been chucked into landfill every day and I figured any plastic bucket we bought would break within a year end up in landfill and we would have to buy another new one. I could’ve bought a steel one but I just couldn’t justify buying new something that is so ubiquitous . Surely I would find someone, anyone chucking one out. It’s been driving Chris a bit mental if I’m honest. For 6 desperate months we have had a mop but no bucket leading to generally skanky floors apart from the rare day when I can be bothered to get down on my hand and knees and scrub the floor by hand. Not a regular occurrence I’m telling you. Today finally our mop has found it’s sturdy and I think kinda beautiful partner.
Next up a spirit level. The lack of a spirit level in our house has been causing some minor friction between Chris and I. You may have gathered that Chris is slightly less bothered about landfill than me. He does care but only up to a point. The point at which he needs a spirit level in fact. He has been on the look out for a secondhand one for months but today he finally cracked and decided that he was going to buy one with his birthday BandQ vouchers. I pleaded and found suitable ebay options but really he wanted one today and ebay wasn’t looking hopeful. I sensed rocky times ahead for us at BandQ. Pretty much as I clamped my grubby hands on aforementioned mop bucket Chris appeared at my shoulder with a massive grin and a 50p spirit level. Another relationship crises averted by the Deptford shit market.
So then we get to Kilner Jars. I love them. I also have too many as Chris likes to gently point out. But for 50p and full of staples you can’t go wrong. Boom!
Especially not when it comes together with a 50p Great British Bake Off book. Boom!
Last of all my slightly dodgy purchase. The one I fear may come back to haunt me. I’m a bit of a lefty feminist tub thumping socialist who finds the daily mailesque adoration of everything royal fairly pukeworthy. But I do love a good bit of chinzy royal china. The sillier the better. I love my Queen’s coronation mug found at the one and only shit market and I will never forget Dorrie’s kindness in rescuing this beauty from her Mum’s jumble sale.
but is Chazzer and Di just a bit to Chav? Perhaps. But hopefully my workmates will see the funny side…