Friday, 16 May 2008

On another planet?


I don't often wander round the shops (unless they're bookshops), but occasionally I notice things and think 'what on earth'? I had one of those moments this morning when I popped into Tes*o for a bag of sugar, and as I passed one aisle there were remaindered items. As I walked by, I noticed a "padded tie holder". Oh come on. Is there really a design chap sat in an office thinking, what do men really need? Oh I know, a padded tie holder . . . . .

It's a similar experience when I get a certain kitchen gadgets catalogue from the Lake District. Yes, there is some very good quality and necessary kitchenware, but also a lot of stuff which I wouldn't give house room to and which nobody really NEEDS - they just think they ought to have. A banana bag for instance, to keep your bananas from getting over-ripe too quickly. Personally if I do have over-ripe bananas, it's an excuse to bung them in a Banana-Applesauce cake or make Banana Bread. Then there's something which is a sort of jet-propelled peeler. . . . ????? Perhaps if you were 110 and having trouble doing the spuds, there might be a call for it, but . . . Then there's an individual portion specially shaped former for Pineapple Upside-down Cake. Only £25. I'm afraid I must be a sad disappointment to them as I just use an ordinary cake tin, just as I always have . . .

Consumerism - having to have things - I am afraid I come under the banner of "old fashioned". For heaven's sake, I still boil my hankies as my dear old mum used to do! I think anyone visiting would have a shock if they looked to see what I had cooking on the stove when I was doing those . . . Better than using up lots of paper tissues (though when I do, I burn them on the wood-burner). I'm not madly Green. More practical. I don't like waste. I don't buy "stuff" for the sake of it. I wear jeans and t-shirts to death - when they are falling apart from being gardened in or worn to muck out in, they get turned into rags. My husband's the same (but reduces his t-shirts to rags whilst still on his back!) I have smart clothes when I need to scrub up and put my party frock on, but most of the time I am in a polo shirt and cords.

I wash out plastic bags and use them again and again. Why throw them away - they still work don't they? We use bars of soap down to the last scrap and then stick that to the bottom of the new bar. The last bit of shampoo gets hot water added to it so it's used up. Same for washing up liquid. All the veggie and fruit scraps go on the compost heap. Any newspapers get recycled or used to make the fire up, as does any correspondence with our details on. When we go out for a walk, we will bring back sticks and logs for firewood, and if a neighbour has chopped a tree down and doesn't want the wood, we ask if we can have it.

We grow lots of soft fruit, and I've increased my veg plot in size and scope this year. By the sounds of things, vegetable gardening (like keeping backyard poultry) is getting popular again, and there are long queues for allotments. All to the good.

4 comments:

MammyT said...

Oh, Jennie. You are a wonder! We have always heard that the Scots were the thrifty ones. I do want a garden of my own and would love to keep ducks again. I love duck eggs.
Nancy

Moonroot said...

Oh hear, hear! A woman after my own heart. Most people think I'm crazy to use up every last little bit of things, but like you I just can't bear waste. Nice to know I'm not the only one!

arlene said...

I agree with you about gadgets...where in the world are we supposed to store things that we use just occassionally? I have been weeding out my kitchen of those kinds of items. When Charles went to China, the thing he requested was zip lock bags...he washes them out and uses them over and over again.

A Sea Change said...

*laughs* My mum gets the Lakes catalogue and I saw that jet propelled peeler and thought much as you did! She still has special knives for cutting tomatoes and lettuce which remain in the drawer unused because, strangely, both can be cut with a kitchen knife!

You've hit the nail on the head in your post jennie, and I've found myself nodding away in agreement as I've read, especially at what you say about not being green per se, just hating waste. I am the same but find it difficult to make people understand that it is wrong to be wasteful when everyone understands (even if they don't agree or care) about being green.

I just try and live the way my beloved grandparents did; they lived on minimum pension which my granddad supplemented by going up to the local tip and salvaging scrap metal. You can't do that anymore, but little as they had, they always had ENOUGH. I'm not entirely successful because I have been brought up mostly in an age where consumerism is the norm, so there is a lot about myself I challenge, but I'm trying. Whereas when my grandmother was my age it was the late 1930s and they truly were in poverty.