I can't go past a pile of abandoned household detritus without, at the very least, having a poke through. Having had my poke through, rare is the occasion when I don't decide that something - half a tent, a ceramic otter - deserves rescuing. My friend says people throw the things they throw out for a reason; usually that reason is that the things they throw out are crawling with Vibrio cholerae. This may be true, but I suffer from congenital archivitis, exacerbated, so my analyst tells me, by the trauma of failing to earn the Thrift Badge at Brownies. Besides, it's only a matter of time before an enterprising young pharmaceutical company patents cholera as the all-natural weight-loss drug (right up there with intestinal worms).
On my way home yesterday, amongst a pile of typhiferous mattresses and tuberculific wooden slats suppurating on the footpath, I met with what I privately call, in moments of profound passion, an escritoire. Others, less given to bestowing fancy French names on ordinary items of furniture, might describe this same entity as a "desk", but these people are missing out on one of the principle joys of foraging through piles of abandoned household detritus, where desks are escritoires and white elephants are les éléphants blancs (or something). As I was saying, I met an escritoire. I looked at it; it looked at me. It was love at first sight.
I galloped home, dumped my bag and my latest pot plant (a hybrid tea rose, for those who take an interest in such things, with blooms of cream and crimson). I galloped back again. I dared the passing cars to abduct my escritoire. None of 'em did. It may be that I looked scary enough. It may be that the cholera rumour has spread.
All well and good, only then came the feat of lugging her home. I managed. She's here.
Thanks be to my poor benighted bodkin, which growns retrospectively from every joint. My biceps were barely up to tooth-brushing this morning. Bruises sprout on both knees. I suspect I dislocated a hip, or a spine, or an elbow. Hard to say.
Apropos of yesterday's letter from Olchik, and to all those seeking conversations with strangers, I highly recommend conspicuously hoiking something twice your body weight up a busy street. Blessings be unto the seventh generation to the dog-walking couple who helped with the last two hundred metres of desk-lugging. Blessings in moderation to the old man who stopped with me on the pavement, squeezed my upper arm, pronounced "You're strong", and slapped me genially on the back. Also blessings to the kind young man who offered to drive me and my escritoire home. Had you not been behind the wheel of a two-seater Mini, I'd be forwarding your details to Olchik today.