Category Archives: Doings

How to turn $ thousands into $ hundreds

Stuff, so valuable and desirable  when it belongs to us, becomes massively undesirable when it’s lumped together and sold in a garage (boot) sale.  I had the opportunity to follow someone’s stuff along its’ path from treasure to trash.

The story starts with the untimely death of a young woman.   (Well she was younger than me, so that makes her a young woman.)  She went into hospital, was doing fine and recovering, when she took a turn for the worse and died.   With no descendants or siblings and only a distant elderly mother, our group (actually one kind soul who does not take no for an answer) offered to help clear the house  and that is where it got interesting.   The deceased was a hoarder and her house was packed with giant piles of stuff.  Two stories of things with little pathways through to the important parts, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and laundry (although there was not much evidence that the laundry room was used).  She had never allowed any of her friends to enter, so no one knew what was inside.

I am a lover of mystery fiction, so here was my chance to play detective, to look for hidden secrets.  I got to indulge my general nosiness and score some interesting finds.   When I look at some else’s belongings I wonder why they kept this, why was it important?

I spent 10 hours in her bedroom sorting and cleaning.   I examined everything I touched and it made me rather sad.  There was masses of unworn and unused items, now they would never serve their intended purpose.   It was obvious that she was enthralled with ‘retail therapy’, buying things to make herself happy.  Did she forget that she already had a dozen tweezers, or could she just not be bothered to look for them in the confusion?

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After all, who has not one, but two of these things?  Not to mention 130 brassieres, 100 pairs of shoes and boots, 85 handbags, cupboards full of pots and pans, $400 dollars in loose change and at least one uncashed dividend check.  When she ran out of space in the house, she stored things in bins outdoors, in the garage and at a neighbors.  It took our group of ladies (none of us young) endless hours to sort, clean and haul away (this is where husbands and sons come in handy)  the hoard.

Then came the sale.  Over two days we flogged part of the detritus of her life.  Beautiful things, ordinary things, unusual things (but not the fur-lined handcuffs, I threw those away), all at about 10 cents or less on the dollar.  Lots of stuff sold, but lots was left over.

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It made me sad to know that this too is the probable fate of my beloved stuff: my Godzillas, toys and fabric.  My nephew will have to come here and do this, or perhaps if my group still exists they  will do it for him.

The best part of this exercise is that all the money we raised from this sale goes to charity, so a bit of good will come out of all of this.  The 130 brassieres were sold to the art department at a local college and they will be part of an uplifting (did I really say this?) art exhibit.

Tribes

I sometimes wonder how so many  people can live together in cities.   I got an answer of sorts this weekend at the different festivals that were going on:  people split up into tribes.  The first tribe I visited were the lovers of motorbikes.  There were lots of them, split into the various sub-tribes:  Leather wearers, old guys on expensive bikes, young guys on cafe racers, etc.

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Next up there was Juneteenth,  an African-American holiday.   When the Civil War started, many slave-owners took people to the Republic of Texas, to avoid having to free them.   News of the Emancipation Proclamation took 2 1/2 years to reach there, and this event commemorates that day.  This is a festival with food:  bbq ribs, chicken, hot links and sides and it was delicious.  It had rained right before I took the picture, so there weren’t very many people around.

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There was a Celtic festival in a nearby park and it was fine excuse for men to break out their kilts and bagpipes.   There was plenty of beer and whiskey to be had, and Miss P and I had a delicious sausage roll.

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There was also a group playing football (soccer),  and they looked to be immigrants.  (I guessed this because they were not speaking English, and they were playing football.)

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There was yet another tribe at the park, skateboarders.  They are there with the most frequency because they have a permanent structure.

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This is just a small sampling of the many tribes from around here.  You don’t need a sorting hat to figure out which one you belong to, just show up.  And of course you don’t have to belong to just one tribe.  You can find me on the outskirts, looking in.