Sunday, 16 January 2011

Skip-related self-loathing

I've just had my back windows replaced. Not a metaphor.

These tiles had been on my old window ledge for two-and-a-half years, ever since I brought them back from a trip to Norfolk.

I found them in a skip in Burnham Market.

Why did you keep them, Miss Jones?

Wait a minute and I will tell you.

They're not even that nice.

Yes, ALRIGHT. I kept them because I wanted to be the kind of person who finds things in skips and turns them into quirky objets d'art for the home. There are people like that, and I want to be one of them. I think we can conclude, from this evidence, that I am not. HAPPY NOW?

I've learnt now that you can't fake it. Some people have the Sophisticated Skip-Rooter gene, and I am unfortunate enough to know a few of them.

'Oh, that's nice,' I say about some new feature, on visiting their home.

'Oh that?' they say casually. 'I just pulled it out of a skip and cleaned it up and now it is a quirky talking point that demonstrates my mercurial and unique approach to home decorating, and simultaneously what a laid-back, creative kind of a character I am.' I am paraphrasing. They are magpies who think sparkly is kind of common. And I am just jealous.

'From a French fleamarket' and 'on the street, left out with the rubbish' are other places these people find their trash/treasure. Places that I never do. 'Gave it a lick of paint' and 'changed the handles' are things People Like This do to refine their finds.

I am not Like That. I don't find those things in skips. Or on my street. I find KFC boxes and crumpled Red Bull cans and broken pallets and old toilets. I don't find those things in fleamarkets. I find push-button telephones and ugly china. I attempted to scavenge those tiles as an action of desperation. What was I trying to prove? And what exactly did I think I was going to do with three tiles covered in a pattern that was not as nice as I was trying to pretend?


That was my only option. The fact that I could think of no other use for them demonstrates how ill cut out I am for these acts of artistic rehoming. I couldn't even be bothered to scrape off the bumpy crust of dried tile adhesive on the other side which would mean my cup of tea would be resting on something of an incline.

I went off the tiles when I realised they'd probably lined the walls of the gents' toilets in a pub, which was now having a refit.

I am not that person. I am accepting it. I am putting the tiles in the bin. I am moving on.


jaljen said...

There is a respectable alternative. This is to portray yourself as a minimalist and disdain such objets as mere bourgeois clutter.

However I would wager that the item nestling cheek by jowl with the despised tiles is Portmeirion and that would certainly have to be jettisoned if you were to be taken seriously as any kind of style-guru or sophisticate....

I too have shabby chic friends whose style I wish I could emulate. I shall never be numbered amongst their ranks. I like to think that not giving a damn about interior decor makes me something of a Michael Foot/Tony Benn character - my mind set on higher things.

violet ~ creme said...

I actually love those tiles, and how come I never find things like that in skips in Burnham Market!

Miss Jones said...

Jaljen, I should warn you, if you insult Portmeirion, you insult many of the Jones family who are big fans. But I like your Foot/Benn thinking. I'm Tony Benn in a teadress!

Violet, if you really do love them, send me an email with your address and I will send them to you!

Simmo said...

I have an old Victorian tile that I use as a pot stand for tea pots or hot dishes on the table. How big are yours - would they work for that?

I never find anything good in skips (nor do I have the inclination to rummage). I wait for vintage shops to do the leg-work for me and then pay over-inflated prices for things that I could have easily liberated myself. Marvellous.

The only thing I have salvaged is a Dualit toaster that was sitting on the road with a 'please take me' sign attached. But as it was my friend who pointed it out, I can't even take credit for the find.

Or I have loads of things around my house, just waiting to be spruced up. Like a chest of drawers that I got on Freecyle three years ago that is still waiting on a new paint job.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you could do something with them and then sell them on You might end up on here though:

Betty M said...

I can't shop in sales. That is another equally annoying thing - the friend who unfailingly finds the perfect designer coat at 75%off.

legend in his own lunchtime said...

You'll give them to someone and they'll take them to the Antiques Road show and they'll be valued at half a million pounds.

trashsparkle said...

Tiles are something I'm always looking out for - got one solitary tile out of all the broken bathroom ones in a front garden once. Turquoise late 60's, moroccan-pattern vibe. Damn those clumsy builders!
My head does auto-reflex swivelling whenever I pass a skip - got a vintage bathroom cabinet recently. Best ever find -wardrobes and a 60s black leatherette sofa.

Miss Jones said...

Oh, Trashsparkle, you are one of them! With your vintage bathroom cabinets and 60s sofa, how you tease me! x

trashsparkle said...