Before financial penury beckoned and I could afford to benevolent, Freecycle was primarily a service I used to off-load the tired old shit I had hanging around the house which was gathering dust. Or, rather, the tired old shit I had hanging round the house that even I could not longer justify the existence of. It saved me a trip to the charity shop or the tip and simultaneously made me feel like a kindly lady of the manor when I handed over a bin bag full of books, an unwanted miniature sewing machine or a dismantled high-rise bed (I didn’t mention the teeth marks on the rails – they were made by my daughter when she was very young, but if they chose to think that I was some kind of reckless sexual adventurer in a single bed, so be it).
Befitting my status as an all-round benefactor to the poor, I found it helped if I created elaborate back stories for the people coming to collect my rubbish, many of which involved them having Tiny Tim type characters gently fading away on a dank mattress back at the slum, drink problems, gambling addictions and a long-term benefit fraud habit.
In reality, most people I met through Freecycle were posher than me, and probably lived in solid gold castles with Champagne moats having raised a fortune at car boot sales selling other people’s tired old shit.
These days, thanks to the credit crunchm it’s time to start accepting that people will soon start making up back stories about me when I finally pull my finger out of my arse and start applying for things which could really come in handy and which I can no longer afford. It would probably help if I actually read the message postings more than once a month instead of half-heartedly logging into Yahoo! infrequently in the hope that someone has an excess stash of Crème de la Mer they need to offload in a hurry. Today, I logged in to find 1,592 messages in my inbox. The crème de la crème (not Mer, although plenty of Merde) of that list I publish below, so you know what the good denizens of Norwich have to offer the wider world. Well, the wider world in terms of a five mile radius of the city centre, at least.
WANTED: Crinoline petticoat hoops.
OFFERED: Two freestanding ex-bakery shop display cabinets. One chilled, one ambient [presumably these would be suitable for a Hard House or a Garage]
TAKEN: Five cabbages
WANTED: Items for role play [I have seen this Freecycler. The mind boggles]
RE-OFFERED: Windchime Waterfall CD [bearing in mind that I managed to get rid of an ugly, broken lamp on Freecycle, this stands as proof that no-one, even the desperate and down-at-heel wants to listen to bloody windchimes or waterfalls on CD]
WANTED: Star Wars biscuit cutters [I didn’t know they existed. But now I want some too]
OFFERED: Lightbulbs (used)
OFFERED: The Struggle for Existence by Weber [a cheery tome I remember from my degree studies, a real page turner for the suicidal]
WANTED: My Family Christmas specials on DVD [surely a wind-up? In comparison, watching the Test Card would be positively stimulating. And funnier]
TAKEN: Drum kit [one set of neighbours rejoicing, another set about to be given an unwelcome New Year present that may well lead to bloodshed)
On the plus side, at least someone has taken those cursed crinoline petticoat hoops away giving me room for five cabbages and some used lightbulbs. And however bad things are, at least I’m not miserable AND listening to windchimes and fucking waterfalls.