Wednesday, August 23, 2006

23 August: Consumer debt.

As I piled the laundry into the blue plastic washing "basket", I discovered that the small break in one bit of the mesh had suddenly become a great big tear right across the rim.

This item just fits snugly into the gap above the hot water tank in the airing cupboard, so my first thought was that a replacement probably wouldn't fit that space, so where else could it be stored? Modern houses are notoriously lacking in space to keep large and/or awkwardly shaped items.

Then it occurred to me that this unobtrusive and useful bit of equipment had accompanied me from house to house for more than 40 years; it was bought in the days when plastic goods came in a narrow range of colours, of which light blue seemed the least offensive. In fact newlyweds with little money in the mid 1960s had a fairly restricted choice of household goods, and I seem to remember the same light blue for nasty nylon bedding. And for a bathroom suite.

Mind you, the light blue plastic and nylon stuff was very much up to date at the time, and at least bought new. There was nothing unusual at that time in buying second-hand things, or happily accepting family hand-me-downs. In fact I am at this very moment sitting on a chair which I bought in a junk shop for 30 bob (yes, that's £1-10-0, in old money); it needed repairing, which I did as a temporary measure in 1965 or 1966. I repaired it again last year. The old Victorian style chests of drawers in the bedrooms were also bought around then, and still have larger and more useful drawers than any modern chests, though one has a loose foot and the other has lost the knobs from the bottom drawer and has to be opened with fingers in the holes where the knobs used to be.

This burst of *where have all those years gone?* has been amplified by DH transferring old tapes and LPs onto CDs; finding some recordings of melodeon tunes, he was trying to remember when he last danced the Morris, so we got out some old photo albums to try and work it out. Ah, those old photo albums!

Anyway, as I was saying, I now need to find a replacement laundry basket. But the other light blue 1960s items in the broom cupboard, the soft broom and the cornice brush, are still in use and still going strong. As my mother used to say, they don't owe us anything.


Gentle Giant said...

Hand me down isn't dead, it just lives on ebay!

stitchwort said...

Of course - family junk is just junk, but other people's rubbish is ANTIQUES!

BTW the new laundry "basket" doesn't quite fit into the airing cupboard.

Judith said...

I have lived by hand-me-downs for most of my adult life, and where household items are concerned (but not clothes!) I believe I get more pleasure from making something serve again, than from buying new. I don't think I've bought more than 3 or 4 pairs of curtains new in all that time. And if you are attached to the colour of your plastic range, but do want to replace, isn't it annoying when the fashion colour of the year has changed?