Right now the sunshine is causing everyone in Stamford to have huge clear outs, thus many hideous skips are popping up on driveways all over town. No one can deny having a sneaky peek into those big, yellow voids but owners are always extremely protective over them, even though they are full of supposed junk. It is considered rude to go rooting through other people’s trash and most people frown upon those who do. It is also illegal to dump your junk in someone else’s skip (otherwise known as fly-tipping). So why are people so fussy about their rubbish? What’s in these skips? Is there secret treasure? Or is there naff all?
I must have passed about twenty skips today. Summer in Stamford has brought with it an abundance of used-to-be-yellow, shamelessly rusty metal vessels. Being able to launch copious amounts of unwanted trash into them seems deeply satisfying and convenient for those with DIY jobs where bin bags just won’t do. Rather than faffing around with the black plastic, skips seem to be quite a good investment. They don’t, however, warrant a certain degree of snobbery which automatically comes with them. They are massive, dirty bins full of rubbish! Unwanted, unloved and discarded crap that you’ve chucked out in bulk without a second thought. So what’s the harm in me having a nose? Why must you judge me? In fact, what is the harm in me having a full on bath in your skip? Personally, I advise you fill up that oversized tank pretty quickly because it’s not a good look on your driveway. Skips are, well, ugly. However, it’s what lurks inside these hideous pools of rejection that has got me all excited.
There is a secret voyeur inside us all. Of course, some people’s inner spy is more apparent than others. Mine is shameless and I am using this excuse to get a good old look at what’s inside skip number twenty-one. Most of the skips so far have been full of old bricks – very disappointing. This one looks half full, filling me with hope. Alas, just an old radiator, gross carpet and of course, more bricks. Whatever happened to the skips of wonder, filled with magical goodies such as old rocking horses, broken televisions, scattered with a sprinkling of a thousand jigsaw pieces? Where are those skips, where you can literally dive into and get lost in happiness, rolling in dirty treasures?! The only dirty treasures I seem to find in Stamford’s skips so far come from a fox’s backside. Speaking of which, I now approach my next skip (for which I have lost count) due to the overwhelming stench of cat wee. You’ve guessed it, it’s a skip outside the local vet’s!
This skip had me at the top layer; I can see, poking out amongst some standard vet junk, (including ridiculous amounts of out of date dog food tins and a very colourful ’80s style pair of scrubs) a tree literally growing amongst the crap. Who knew dog food was the perfect plant fertiliser? I grab a stick and poke away to reveal more layers of skip (told you I was shameless, believe me I judge myself). Ah! I knew it. There it is, in all its glory, buried inside this nasty smelling skip, dazzling in the sunlight; a very old fashioned magnolia operating room light. How exciting! I scour it for blood – nothing, shame. My first bit of dirty treasure! What will I do with it, I hear you ask? Nothing! Just look at it, and write about it later. All I aim to do when peering into strangers’ skips is have a nose – I daren’t touch anything because you never know what may have crawled in overnight and died/shat. You see, my voyeur is truly harmless. Nosey, but harmless. What I enjoy is the stories behind each item; who owned this junk and why are they throwing it away? I also like to silently judge those who have clearly thrown away items which are recyclable (you know who you are and you’re just lazy). Also, why weren’t these hideous scrubs thrown away sooner? Who has been allowed to shamelessly wear them all this time?
I often enjoy a private moment to root through one man’s trash. I don’t want to take anything home with me, I just want to look! Surely my child-like curiosity cannot cause offence. No, I don’t want to take your scrap metal and sell it on. No, I don’t want to makeover your old chair and display it in my office. I really just want to know what’s in Stamford’s skips. The answer: a mixture of rubble, disappointment and self-importance. Oh, and an overwhelming smell of dust, urine and the ’80s.
Words by Loo Loo Rose