Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Freecycle heaven

By midday I have got rid of the teletubbies, a bag of toys, the sofa, and a car seat smeared with dried baby sick. The sick must be five years old now, and I'm impressed by its staying power. I've changed my mind about the schlumpher, and am keeping it. A man called Brian is upstairs destroying Uncle Eff's wardrobe with an axe and Brian's wife, Linda, is spinning round on the Swivel King chair shouting 'Push me again!' to the children. I'm offering Linda a dash of Aunty Dee's whisky in her coffee, so she'll take the Swivel King along with the other three armchairs she's having.

And Uncle Eff, of course, has legged it. I'm so angry about that, all I can do is snort. He returns about lunchtime and pokes his nose into a saucepan. He'll be lucky. Brian and Linda decided that although they didn't want the Swivel King they had so much fun they'd dismantle the oven for us and drop it off at the tip. The only thing in the saucepan is a foam mouse that squeaks, which the children want to take back. I'm hiding it so they don't find it. And I'm not about to offer food to Uncle Eff in any shape or form, although a microwaved foam mouse that squeaks comes pretty close to what he'd get. Dig becomes very explicit about how many bags Uncle Eff could take to the tip now. Uncle Eff sidles out the door. We break into his bedroom. We dismantle his bed and take it to the tip. Basically, he asked for it.

The rest of us work hard all afternoon: Aunty Dee is on child duty and pile sorting. She's up in the attic with a roll of rubble sacks to sort out Uncle Eff's piles and the kids have instructions that if someone needs a hospital they call Aunty in the attic. They're busy trashing their room. Shark tells me that she's enjoying it. Tiger is mostly weeping, and Squirrel is pushing anything she can lay her hands on into sacks to take home. I'm slipping them down to the bins.

By evening we are shattered and filthy and already sick of eating from the chippy. No-one has spotted Uncle Eff, and word has it that he's hiding out in Prudhoe. I think it's a jolly good thing because I might just become brutally honest again. Aunty Dee is sorting out the bath routine. At 10pm I find her lying on the bathroom floor with a glass of red wine explaining why baths exist. The children, all in the bath together, are enthralled.

And now we can look forward to tomorrow. Freecycle Elly is coming back on her third visit for 25 bags of books, the travel cots, and the bookcase. She's enjoying this hugely. I've been on and off the freecycle list for hours, and presently am in centimeter debate with Doubtful George who's not sure if he can take the single bed. I'm trying to lure him over here and offer to throw in a chest of drawers and help with the loading and a screwdriver.

The last remaining problems then are the garage full of stuff scheduled for half-hourly runs for the tip and the clothes I'm wearing. I regret that this morning I tipped into the 'Clothes? Yes Please!' recycling bin all spare clothes including the ones I might have worn tomorrow. There's also the fridge problem. The fridge dates from 1960, is still plugged in, and is probably responsible for the destruction of a couple of glaciers. I've been hunting for a fridge historian on freecycle, and regret not trying ebay.

When Aunty Dee discovers we've stocked the overnight tip pile in the garage, her jaw drops. She says that Uncle Eff's Big Plan to clear his part of the house in time for exchange of contracts this week is to put his stuff in the garage, and collect it next month. She says she thought she'd talked him out of that plan, but she'd better check in the morning where some of the treasures actually are. What an opportunity. I set the alarm for 6 am.

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