Saturday, 19 May 2012

Junk and serendipity

Serendipity. One of my favourite things. It makes me sad that in today's get-it-now culture of consumerism, there's very little room for serendipity. If you want something, you can just click a button and buy it, download it, have it delivered the next day, and so on. This is one of the reasons I like second-hand stuff - junk if you will! My house is full to bursting with all sorts of random bits and pieces - things I've bought or cannot bear to part with because I know that one day it will fulfil its purpose. Most of the time it just gets in the way (and it has driven more than a few co-habitators to distraction in the past!), but sometimes I will be fixing something, or making something, or need some makeshift curtains, and a little light goes on in my brain. I'll rifle madly through my piles of treasure until I find the perfect thing I know I stashed away 5 years ago - and the sense of satisfaction is so much better than just going out and buying some soulless, new, plasticky alternative!

Recently I gave up on an ancient grey colourwork cardigan I'd been trying to unravel as it was too complicated, but before I filed it away with the other to-be-felted/sewn sweaters, I removed the cute little grey buttons. In fact, I posted them on Instagram: 

I wondered for a while whether to keep or sell, but then my thoughts turned slowly to the Garter Yoke Cardigan that I've been knitting for about 3 million years and is nearly finished. The question of appropriate buttons had already crossed my mind anxiously, and here - could it be? - was an apparent solution. Surely there would not be enough or the buttonholes would be too big, but it turns out I have the perfect number of buttons, and they are the perfect size - and the grey colour goes beautifully with the light sage green yarn. Wouldyabelieveit. Serendipity.

Last year my sister gave me her old car, which was my mum's old car, and when mum bought it she had been absolutely adamant that she wouldn't have a CD player in it! At the time, aged 17, I was annoyed, but now I am having a great time picking up old cassette tapes in charity shops for 30p a go and taking trips down memory lane every time I go for a drive. Just last week I was humming Alanis Morrisette to myself and wishing I hadn't got rid of my copy (on tape!) of Jagged Little Pill. Two days ago I found it in a massive pile of tapes in a charity warehouse in Mossley. I must have spent 45 minutes meticulously searching through them all, but I was richly rewarded with this and quite a few other gems. Serendipity. I'm actually considering getting a record deck for the house on this basis. Music hasn't really been a great passion of mine since I was a teenager, even though there's about 30gb music on my computer that I never listen to. Perhaps I just needed to rediscover the sense of excitement that finding a new - or old! - album used to give.

So, next time you need a new set of bookshelves, a Garden Party outfit, some yarn or buttons for a project - try doing it the slow way! You never know what you might find.

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