13 August 2006

A community event

This week is the hard rubbish collection week in my street. The council gives residents the opportunity to discard unwanted items which are too large to be taken in its regular collections. The items are supposed to be put on the kerb between noon on the Saturday and 7 am of the Monday of the relevant week. What also happened today is that people, both residents and outsiders I'd guess, toured the area looking for items for which they might have some use. I put out a settee and a lounge chair , and they were snapped up by a person further down the street, who in turn put out a floral lounge chair. I've not checked to see if it is still there.

This scavenging, and that word with its negative connoations doesn't seem quite right has become a local custom, and one to which little if any stigma is attached. It gives neighbours something to talk about, and more of them do stop to talk about it and some, such as my next door neighbour, act informally to assist potential collectors. I believe that it provides a modest form of community strengthening: by doing our bit to tidy up our own homes we sometimes even help our neighbours in unexpected small ways.

1 comment:

zoe turner said...

Have you seen the documentary "The Gleaners & I" by Agnes Varda? I like that the French have a word to describe a certain type of thrifty-living.