Shifting things for the auction . . .

Every year, the annual charity auction re-appears at Allendale Village Hall. There’s junk galore, it’s true, but there are treasures amongst the dross that the cognoscenti are actually very keen on, though they always profess nonchalant disinterest. More on the actual auction later.

It’s still a few weeks until the auction proper (Saturday 5th October), but in these last few weeks of the year some of the more fit Lions, myself included, are hithering and thithering about collecting stuff, clearing the odd house (some very odd, some just regular) and in general getting the stock ready for the big move to the hall on Thursday the 3rd.

Today is a regular house clearance day, and I’ve got my work gloves on, my over-alls dusted off, my John Deere hat canted against the sun, and my cheerful smile in place. It’s time to lift and shift!

Always an intriguing bit of work, you just never know what you might be asked to move out: it could be ancient demi-johns with mysterious liquid inside (paint remover anyone?); rusting lawnmowers are a popular carry-away; decrepit bicycles; very ancient commodes; pots and pans; men’s stuff from dilapidated old sheds (how many different sized screws do you really need, Hubert?); over-stuffed and stained lounge furniture; derelict wardrobes a bird’s been nesting in; collection of wall pictures; assorted mirrors; discarded children’s toys; puzzles with ?how many pieces missing, miss?; piano, ummm, mind your back eh; light fittings from a darker day; television cabinets and coffee tables — why our house is virtually furnished with the items we’ve bid on over the years!

Joking aside, the service, freely given and cheerfully undertaken by the local Lions is significant both for re-distribution of still-useful items (remember when our society was not based on throw-away consumerism?) and for clearing out things that might otherwise be in the way of folks downsizing (you simply can’t move around a cluttered house when you’re older and infirm).

I must confess, I’m probably rather too near to that 1 in 20 of us who becomes an habitual hoarder . . . maybe 16 moving towards 17 on the potential hoarder scale. ‘Keep a thing, its use will come’ is a mantra learned in poverty, and it has proved salutary, sometimes. Rather too rarely to be hard-and-fast though. But sometimes, it’s been brilliant! We paid 50p (the minimum bid) for a big cooker hood still in its box that nobody else wanted, one auction, and thinking I could use the chimney piece at some point, I stored it through many winters in our tardis-like shed. One day we finally moved our commercial gas cooker on and found a lovely semi-professional Rangemaster on eBay over in Cumbria. Well, it was not as good as advertised, but after a few repairs it’s as good as new. But the old cooker hood and chimney was as shabby as sh . . . as shabby as a shibboleth, so I thought I’d open the stored cooker hood box so as to re-fashion a new chimney piece at last. Behold! The glossy black cooker hood, complete with chimney, was an exact match for the new-to-us Rangemaster, a piece of contemporary design worth a couple hundred quid anyway. What an incredible result! We thank the Lions auction, and the donator of the hood, every day.

But I’m getting ahead of myself; before the auction itself, the cheerful shifters must do their work, and some of the heavy stuff is going on today. Whew! I think a beer or two at the end of the day might be in order!

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