A brief moment of hope.

The clear out is coming to an end. We have taken possession of the new rented apartment in Hong Kong. Lulu is happily ensconced in her new kingdom.

As part of the clear out I have been putting some of the older furniture on a site called Gumtree. It has been reasonably successful. Last week I put on 2 rather worn and bruised bedside cabinets. One even had a small split from the humidity in Hong Kong. I advertised them under ‘Freebies’. Collect for free.

The first person messaged me several times and we agreed a time to collect. The time came and went and eventually I chased them. Oh, give it to someone else. I can’t come, they said. I felt rather annoyed but this is about par for the course I thought. So I put them back on the site and half an hour later I had a taker. Very polite enquiry. I agreed a time again and wondered.

Spot on 11am the taker arrived. A young man with his partner. I showed them the bedside cabinets and apologized for the condition. Absolutely no problem they said. She, bubbling with gratitude, he efficiently lifting them into the back of the car. They were getting their first flat together next week. They can’t afford to buy new so essentially they will take what they can get with gratitude. They don’t want to start with a load of debt.

After they had left I reflected on how refreshing their attitude was. Incredibly polite. Eminently sensible. And how unusual at a time when consumer debt is escalating again to levels that are starting to concern the great and the good. I was brought up to avoid debt as much as possible. My parents saved then bought. They bought little and bought quality that would last. Several pieces of their furniture grace our home today. Far removed from the instant gratification that seems to prevail today. I am sure I won’t see the young couple again but I wish them every happiness and thank them for cheering up my day.

27 thoughts on “A brief moment of hope.

  1. Haven’t used Gumtree, but regularly use our local Freecycle group (mentioned earlier) and had the same experience as you, good and bad. I also donate and buy from charity shops, my most recent acquisition being a lovely 3-piece suite for £49.99!

    Very best wishes for your move back to HK.

  2. Hi from Baltimore, Maryland.My i’net provider is less than good, so Betsy and I did not know you were moving back from the UK to Hong Kong. Glad Lulu is doing well with the 10,000 mile move!Hope her owners are doing well, too!

    Have fun and best wishes.And three cheers for the Vavilov!

    Kind regards,

    Art Smith and Betsy McCaul

    Sent from XFINITY Connect Mobile App

    • Thank you Art & Betsy. Yes we tried life here but it was not to be. Shirley and Lulu are already in HK and I follow in less than 2 weeks. We went on the Vavilov for an Arctic cruise. Very disappointed. The food was not nearly as good and the crew not as good as under Boris. But we will always have our memories of the wonderful trip to Antarctica. Best to you both. Andrew

  3. Good news about Lulu being happy again in HK, Andrew. You do live an adventurous life.

    The frugality gene was well established back in Holland, and not only do we buy and sell through Father Riley’s charity shops but during the early phase of our relationship I made our bits of furniture, sat on empty paint drums for a while.

    You might be happy to know I even made our own bed while living back in Holland. (1973)
    This dowelled wooden bed was carried twice around the world but finally was left behind in the shed when we sold the farm in 2010.

    I don’t know if the new owners used the bed. It would please me no end if it ended its life as fire wood and gave warmth till the very end.

    • One of the better aspects to life in Britain is the increase in recycling through charity shops Gerard. It has become a huge industry. I find it vaguely unsettling when the shops tell me they get designer clothes handed in, never worn, labels still attached – it seems such a waste of money. We consume thoughtlessly but at least now it ultimately goes to a good cause. Frugality in moderation is my motto.

  4. I’ve just revamped a pair of bedside tables which were on their way to the tip. So pleased I made the effort. Now I have a painting bug. Suppose it could be worse. Hope your settling in goes well.

      • Yes I will…I’m having such fun I bought an old table from a junk shop to, as you so rightly say, upcycle. I hope you’ll be blogging from HK…and posting some pics.

  5. We have only ever bought what we could pay for, and we’ve encouraged our daughters to be the same. Happily, they are both debt free. Of course, buying a home doesn’t apply but if there’s no other debt home repayments aren’t a burden. Best wishes for your new home.

  6. Good to read a happy story. The internet does have some very happy and useful sites. My daughter (an artist) does many of her transactions through gumtree, the rest of her furniture has been in use by one or other set of grandparents. My father’s homemade desk is in her studio.

    • I discovered Gumtree a while back. I think there is one called Free Cycle too. There are lots of very local FaceBook sites too. Unfortunately Mrs. Ha believes old / antique furniture can host the ghosts of previous owners and she is genuinely fearful of their spirits. Good furniture never ages and one of my best buys was a very solid rosewood dining room table with 6 ordinary chairs and 2 carvers. One day it will go as it is huge and as we eventually will shrink back to our small apartment we know there will be some tears as we part company with old friends. But that is for another day. I hope all is well with you and your family Hilary.

  7. Hope all is well Andrew
    I’ve I missed something
    What about the house
    Oh well
    I’ve been slow on the draw
    Things are not the way
    They use to be
    Not me,politics, or life
    The Sheldon Perspective

  8. Before turning to my inbox I was reading headlines just to be sure the Foolish Orange One in Chief here hadn’t started WWIII while I slept, and was feeling depressed at the goings on. Greed, Cruelty, Selfishness, all prevail. So am grateful for your post, Andrew. How refreshing to find a young couple with good values, and even polite!

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