On the verge of a nervous breakdown

Hopefully that’s an exaggeration.  But definitely the verge has got a lot to do with it.

Alternative title: “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

“Don’t tell people we pick up things from the street!” D said to me the other day.  “Other people won’t understand.”

Fortunately this blog is pseudonymous, if not really anonymous for determined doxxers.

We have plenty of things found on the street in our house.  Twenty years ago, when we moved to Perth and found a house in an area in the throes of an annual hard-rubbish collection, we practically furnished it from the street, and we didn’t even have a car to pick things up.  D managed to hitch a (found) trolley to the back of his bike to take bulkier items.

Recently, D has latched onto a facebook group devoted to tip-offs about items abandoned on the street. 

As D is not very confident about his navigational skills, I am a necessary participant.  It’s all a bit like being stationed at Biggin Hill in the blitz.  The call to scramble can come at any time.  You can imagine the recriminations if we get somewhere only to find the desired object has already been taken.

We’ve driven to Enmore for a worm farm and Tempe for a double-barrelled compost tumbler.

On our back lawn four found chairs now surround a wonky table which we were given to go with the worm farm.  One more thing (well, five more actually) to move before mowing.

Then something went wrong with the HDMI inputs to our TV.  D is a great TV fan and the TV also serves as a big screen for his laptop on which he watches all sorts of online material.

A whole flat had been emptied at Hurlstone Park and we recovered a 55 inch TV.  D had to take the back off that in order to attach a replacement power cord as the ubiquitous electric cord scavengers (who ruthlessly and selfishly in my opinion cut the flex off otherwise likely as-not functioning appliances) had already struck. 

Unfortunately, you need a remote to unleash the full range of functions of this TV.  D has ordered one online.  Meanwhile D found another TV about the same size .

Together with the one-metre square coffee table we collected from Annandale (handsome but too large for the space available) and our original TV or a similar size, our living room is now jampacked.

Not everything comes from facebook.  A few weeks ago we brought home one of those enormous folding clothes racks which are particularly usefull if you need to dry things flat.  It was a bit broken in one joint, but D was able to effect a satisfactory jury rig.  Then he found two more, so now we have three.

I keep hoping we will reach peak scavenging.  On Friday I drove D to an appointment in nearby Campsie.  He was running late, but not too late to command that I stop when he spotted one of those rather attractive folding ladders sitting on a street corner.  I backed up.  D looked around for an owner but, finding none, had it in the car quickly enough.

In the remaining minute or so before I dropped D at his destination, I was instructed to return and leave a note giving D’s mobile number and inviting the true owner to call him. (Call it a retrospective scruple.)

It was but a short drive back, where I immediately clocked a tallish bloke in blue overalls on his mobile phone.  “Are you looking for anything?” I asked.  “A ladder.”  As I could now see from the insignia on his overalls, he was a council inspector of some sort – there was some building rubbish on the verge and this may have been what he was investigating.  I doubt if a private tradesman would have been quite so relaxed about leaving his ladder unattended.   Obviously he was happy to see it again and took my explanation in good sport.

Today D enlisted me on an expedition to Redfern and then Summer Hill in search of other items.  We were there too late.

D is sure that “professionals” are swooping before he can get there.  We know such people exist because you can see them out in force in more prosperous areas which still run periodic general hard rubbish clearups.  Why should they not also be scanning the facebook page?

Of course D also blamed me for not scrambling quickly enough.  He has declared that in future he will just go on his own.  I hope he keeps to his word.


At which point I was interrupted. We have just been to Hurlstone Park for a “reproduction antique” desk. The discarding couple came out to speak to us – they are getting ready for a move but in fact the desk came from a storage facility that the man had been cleaning out this morning. The woman told us it was her first move-out-of-home desk. It didn’t quite fit fit in our car though if we’d had ropes I wouldn’t have put it past D to work something out. The man kindly brought it back to our place on his roof rack..

3 Responses to “On the verge of a nervous breakdown”

  1. rgineurope2011 Says:

    Welcome back to blogging! Your posts are always keenly awaited and much appreciated and enjoyed. Rod.

  2. Andrew Says:

    As you may recall my sister is school teacher and her wife a doctor, so they are not poor and nor are we, but I think half their house is furnished by what they have picked up from roadside throw out collections, and including my mother’s walker. Upon the wall over our drinks trolley is tin and mirror wall hanging sculpture we found on a street. We love it. No shame D. Even the comfortable in life do it. It sounds like D’s collections are both amusing and quite social too.

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