Give and take

The local municipality bin near our house is an expert multi-tasker.

When it’s not performing the mundane work of a smelly, over-sized, not emptied enough rubbish skip, its housing and feeding swathes of feral cats in our area, and providing the neighbourhood with the ultimate swap-shop.

Yes, one of the great things about living in a country where the vast majority of your neighbours are über rich, is the ‘rubbish’ they routinely chuck away. DH and I often wonder at the conversations that must go on behind the rows of vast, electronic gates.

Wife: [near hysterical] ‘It’s been at least three months since we redecorated darling Princess Tippy-Toes’ bedroom!’

Husband: [horrified gasp] ‘Good God! What on earth will the neighbours think? Clear out the place today and I’ll get my gay interior designer onto it by lunchtime!’

And so on…

Indeed, so far from our local bin, we’ve commandeered an entire set of garden furniture, some rather good trellis for climbing plants, a wicker sofa and an elephant-sized ‘Forever Friends’ teddy bear. Admittedly, the teddy bear did smell rather suspiciously of cat wee, so we almost didn’t take it. But DH gamely drove the thing down to the local laundry, (strapped to the car roof rack) and got it back sanitized and as good as new for just Dhs45.

Equally, friends of ours have struck gold just as often, by scoring Playskool kitchens (utensils included), musical Barbie dressing tables, Little Tikes climbing frames (the Dhs20,000 kind) and bikes and trikes galore.

Fact is, the yield from our particular ‘bin’ is so good, one feels a bit hard done by if you walk past it of an evening and don’t find anything worth salvaging.

However, please don’t think we are a bunch of mean-spirited scroungers on the take. Far from it in fact. We try to be as generous to our bin, as it is to us. Just recently, I had a clear-out of all my well-thumbed novels. Instead of taking them to the second hand book shop in Jumierah, I graciously donated them to our community bin. Less than two hours later, when I realized I’d accidently thrown out the latest Penny Vincenzi that I hadn’t finished reading, I raced back to the bin to see if it was still there.

Of course it had gone, along with all the other books, no doubt taken by someone who’d realised they could make themselves a couple of hundred dirhams by taking the lot to the second hand bookshop in Jumierah.

Then there was all DH’s diving gear which he’d bought on a whim in his ‘pre-us’ days. They’d been left to molder in the garage for nigh on a decade, but that didn’t matter to the beneficiary, who’d happily commandeered the lot by the next day.

A couple of weekends ago, we also replaced the water tank on our roof (DH has been terrified of Legionnaires disease ever since MOM [Morally Outraged Mum] – found three different strains in her AC ducts this summer). He dragged said tank up the street early on a Friday morning, having tied it to the back of the car with rope. It made a God-awful racket, and probably ruined everyone’s lie-ins, though that didn’t stop the bargain hunters, who’d spirited it away before 10am.

But of course, there are incidences in the land of ‘rubbish bin trading’ when you realize that some people really will just take just about anything – and that ‘crap’ is a relative word.

For example, last summer, the drains in our crumbling villa kept backing up – and eventually, DH realized there was nothing else for it but for him to get his hands dirty. Being a manly sort of chap, he dug out the huge pile of sewage filled rubbish – and then decided that the best place for it was a sealed container. He duly bought a large plastic bin with a lid from Carrefour, scooped all the crap into it, and took it to the bin for disposal.

A couple of days later, I walked past the skip, and my nostrils were assaulted by the most revolting, eggy smell. And then I saw it. A huge pile of steaming effluent rubbish had been dumped (excuse the pun) on the floor by the bin. Some poor devil had actually spotted the new plastic container, and thought; ‘I’ll have that’…

Similarly, we often wonder what on earth happened to the person who took our Tommee Tippee nappy bin.  When oldest son was a screamy, colicky, never-let-my-parents-rest baby, some child-free friends gave us a nappy wrapper bin. It was a great idea at the time, but then we ran out of replacement nappy sacs. Of course, the next Mothercare shipment wasn’t due for another six months (this was 2005), so we put the contraption to one side.

Only, in a fit of new parent exhaustion, DH forgot to empty it. So there it stood, filled to the brim with dirty pampers, in a sun-trap corner outside our garage, for – well – quite some considerable time. Eventually, we passed the point of no return and just couldn’t bring ourselves to open the damn thing. So, DH took it down to the bin.

And yes, you’ve guessed it. Someone took it…

Then there are those really annoying episodes when something precious gets chucked out (in a hasty garage clear-out say) and a valuable item is gone in the blink of an eye, never to be seen again. To the stupid person who took my brand new ‘left Adidas trainer’ last week (I still have the right one). You know who you are and I want it back!

But even then, one has to see the silver lining. You see, DH feels so bad about the ‘lost’ trainer incident, that he’s taking me to the Dubai Outlet Mall tomorrow for a shopping trip.

After all, shit happens…


5 thoughts on “Give and take

  1. Very amusing. It happens in UK, too. I scored a set of kitchen chairs from the local dump twenty years back. Just flogged them as antiques. Where there’s muck there’s money!

  2. God, you make me laugh! Loving every blog – teehee! Once we scored a kid’s bike and a bedside dresser from my cousins’ jebel ali garden’s bin!

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  4. Thanks for all your comments guys – tutuba – I’m sure I’ve done something similar – only it involved something gold and highly sentimental…. The bin has actually been rather barren of bargains of late, and my left trainer never came back – perhaps one of our more ‘generous’ donors has left the neighbourhood?

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