Saturday, July 01, 2006

and so this is christmas

The bard said, 'it's July but it's cold as Christmas in the middle of the year'.

However, in a magnificent cakey-eaty arrangement, for me it's July, it's hot and it's Christmas.

Living in the Leeds inner city area of Hyde Park, 1st July is one of the most important dates in the calendar. It's the time of many tenancy agreements ending, especially those of our large student population.

(That's a large population of students, not a population of large students).

Having lived in a house for a year before going back to the smaller accommodation at their parents', they leave a lot of stuff behind that gets stuck in a skip by their newly ex-landlord. The effect is exaggerated for the many overseas students who have to take all their belongings back in a suitcase.

This makes rich pickings for those of us who live here permanently. It's not just pizza boxes and burst armchairs. It's perfectly working electrical appliances, furniture, clothes, books, CDs, posters, all kinds of useful household stuff that would otherwise go to landfill sites. It's known amongst friends as Hyde Park Christmas.

There's a positive flipside too. If I've any tat I need rid of, it can be disposed of for free by dropping it into one of the skips paid for by the overwealthy landlords.

It is perhaps the only system of exchange that might genuinely merit the term 'free market'. Even dumping stuff in the skips doesn't cost the landlords anything as I'm removing as much as I add.

Not that it would bother me too much anyway. I'm in wholehearted agreement with George Orwell's opinion of landlords.


These people are just about as useful as so many tapeworms. It is desirable that people should own their own dwelling houses, and it is probably desirable that a farmer should own as much land as he can actually farm. But the ground-landlord in a town area has no function and no excuse for existence. He is merely a person who has found out a way of milking the public while giving nothing in return. He causes rents to be higher, he makes town planning more difficult, and he excludes children from green spaces: that is literally all that he does, except to draw his income.

2 comments:

captain davros said...

Do you have a freecycle group in Leeds?

http://www.freecycle.org/

It's a good way of letting someone have something that you don't want any more.

merrick said...

Davros, we do indeed have an active freecycle. Works a treat.

This time of year I always daydream of getting a fleet of vans and a warehouse and gathering all the high quality student throw-outs and making some massive free jumble sale.