The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Skip Watch

“Maggie! There’s a guy out there rummaging through the skip, picking up log-burner sized pieces of wood and sticking them in the pushchair with his kid.”

“Maggie! A cyclist just pulled up by the side of the skip, grabbed a bit of plastic piping and rode off!”

“Maggie! There’s an interesting metal pole sticking out the skip. Do you think we could use it for anything?”

“Maggie! You know those 2 broken wheelbarrows the lads up the road threw in the skip? Both of them vanished within 20 minutes!”

“Maggie! That guy with the pushchair is back. He’s got a saw with him this time!”

This Morning:
“Maggie! One of those two suitcases I threw in the skip last night has gone already...”

Since giving up my study so Rogan could have his own room, I've more or less taken up permanent residence in one corner of Maggie's studio, near the window. Being at street level, this gives me a first class view of the skip that's been sitting outside next door's house for a week or 2 now (See There are some things you cannot ignore).

And one of the major things I’ve noticed, is despite the fact people keep dumping things in it, it never overflows.

In these ecologically sensitive times, when recycling is much higher on the agenda, all they need to do is put empty skips at strategically placed points on various streets in every town. Within minutes people would start filling them up while others would be busy emptying them.

UPDATE - Tuesday morning
"Maggie! The broken plastic garden chair with only 3 legs has gone!"

FURTHER UPDATE - Tuesday afternoon
"Maggie! Someone's taken the skips..."


Conan Drumm said...

Very true, and then folks could set up a coffee stall beside the skips, and sell cakes...

Jimmy Bastard said...

“Maggie! There’s an interesting metal pole sticking out the skip"

Merciful God.. here we go again with the teeth!

Carole said...

One man's trash is another man's treasure.

Dumpster diving is very popular here too. I've yet to get the hang of it. I am notorious for throwing away just the thing I'll need three months hence.

Sandy said...

Oh Kim, your observance of the skip may be inadvertantly helping to encourage the surveillance society you complained about two blogs ago - before you know it you'll be a goverment department. Any mandolins in there??


karatemom said...

here they call it dumpster diving.

but one mans trash is another mans treasure.

There are actually groups all over the world that take this idea to a new level.

It's called freecycle and you can find it online and in a neighbourhood near you.

the idea is you have say ..your suitcases you mentioned..rather that toss them in the garbage, you offer them online and anyone that wants them will email you back. No money ever changes hands and the recipient picks up.

you may get many emails interested in your offer and you can choose the recipient. also should you need something, before you go to store and buy you can post a wanted..if anyone has the item they will email you and you of course would pick up..

cool eh?
I once needed a new bike seat for my sons bike and was going to run to store for it then occured to me to post. within 3 days I had not only a bike seat it coincidentally was the same brand as the bike he had.


Charlie said...

We put unwanted or formally-useful-but-now-broken items in the alley behind our house. The stuff disappears without fail, sometimes at an astonishing rate.

Kim, the skip supervisor. I like it.

debra said...

Dumpster diving or trash picking in my area.
ur trash has become others' treasures and vice versa. I have acquired quite a few things that way---once, many years ago, a historical society's trash was a wonderful place to get stuff. I had a friend who got a chair with a silk cushion that had a tear in it. He turned the cushion over and voila!
We have acquired doors, windows and fencing that others were disposing.

Kim Ayres said...

Conan - now there's an idea - I need to get my son baking again...

Jimmy - if you rummage deep enough, you might find a set of false teeth in there

Carole - It's a bit like the old adage, experience is something you gain just after you needed it most...

Sandy - suddenly I have an insight into the whole phenomena of curtain twitching! No musical instruments yet, although if you know how to blow a diggerydoo, there are some long pieces of plastic pipe

Karatemom - Freecycle is a great idea, and I can understand it well. The odd thing about skips is it's usually broken stuff that's in them

Charlie - I think there's potential for an entire TV series here called "Skip Watch"

Debra - I've known people who have pretty much kitted out their entire house from raiding skips over the years :)

PI said...

Oh I long for a skip outside the house. I've been longing for one for 25 years but I'm not allowed.

Che said...

Curtain twitcher, are you, now?
Oh, dear. That's not very good.
At your age, tsk.

Do what Sandy says, couple of cheap cams, an internet domain, a local governement grant - profit !

And if you know where the fourth leg of that garden chair went - i'm innerested.

Brave Astronaut said...

When I moved back in with my parents for a brief period, I set to cleaning the house from top to bottom. I would fill the curb with trash. There were mornings when I would have to sweeten the deal with a six pack of beer to make sure they took it all.

But they would sit in front of the house for a while with the trash compactor working for a while before moving on.

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - is it the council, or MTL stopping you?

Che - I might have that 4th leg somewhere... I'll get back to you

Brave Astronaut - you mean no one ever just wandered off with the 6 pack?

Sarah said...

does Maggie ever reply "that's nice dear.."?

it is so very true about one man's trash being another man's treasure.

who knew a skip could provide days of entertainment!

Sarah said...


Kim Ayres said...

Sarah - never let the facts get in the way of a good story :)

And glad you like the new banner - thank you :)

LegalMist said...

It was only a matter of time, 'til someone took the whole skip, eh? After all, they probably figured if the thing were in front of their own house, they could collect all that great stuff.... haha :)

LegalMist said...

P.S. My word verification was "sorteres" ("Sorters?")

Anonymous said...

Hauling items out of a skip is also referred to as dumpster diving. No doubt as the economy continues to erode, we’ll see more recycling of previously owned and gently used items. Shopping at second hand and consignment stores has become popular, along with using coupons and seeking out the least expensive and best bargains available.

Conspicuous Consumption may become a thing of the past, as consumers tighten their belts and realize that more is not always better. Our grandparents weren’t quite as daft as we once thought they were with their Depression Era Mentality.

Sarah said...

Anon: one could hope that our government would follow our frugal example..

Kim Ayres said...

LegalMist - I can't imagine they'd have fitted it on the back of a pushchair though...

Anon - welcome to my ramblings and thank you for taking the time to comment. If you comment again, would you mind leaving a name of some kind so I can separate you from any of the other anonymous commenters? Many thanks :)

Sarah - the governments won't follow that example, because the drive of all the Western economies at the moment is to spend their way out of Depression.

Not an uncommon reaction, now I come to think of it... retail therapy...

Charlie said...

Holy cow! The Skipper without a skip! It must have happened while you were at the clinic having that wart removed from your nose.

I like the new banner too.

sarah said...

kim - haha, great analogy and spot on as well.

Kim Ayres said...

Charlie - wartless and skipless - a tragic combination...

Sarah :)

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