The therapeutics of a good dump

"'...all those skips for different types of rubbish, the psychic heave-ho as you chuck that knackered chair or collapsed bed frame into their appropriate containers.' Trevor Barre celebrates London dumps, past and present."

Hee, hee. Titter, titter. My apologies for the lame double entendre in the title, but the inner anal-retentive in me has prompted a small celebration on London RIP of that most Sunday morning of occupations, now that car washing has been taken over by Eastern European entrepreneurs, i.e. that of a trip to the local civic amenities site, otherwise known as the refuse dump.

I have always found these trips to be therapeutic – all those skips for different types of rubbish, the psychic heave-ho as you chuck that knackered chair or collapsed bed frame into their appropriate containers. The letting-go. The sense of release at the thought that some space has been created at home, probably only for more of the same, only more up-to-date or fashionable (you hope).

St Bazalgette

I come today to celebrate two dumps that have been shut, and one that remains open for the business of taking the unwanted debris of your life off your hands. Take a trip down to the banks of the mighty Thames, and catch a glimpse of the boats taking all this discarded matter off for ultimate disposal, if you want to follow the disposal cycle through to its’ penultimate stage. There is no field of human endeavour more important than the safe and hygienic disposal of the crap that we generate, individually and as a body politic, which is why Joseph Bazalgette should be worshipped as a secular saint.

Behind the Emirates Stadium

I used to use the Islington disposal facility, which was situated exactly on the site of the current Emirates stadium, if anyone can remember that far back in time. It would be very interesting to see what’s there in a hundred years. Some Tottenham fans would no doubt see a correlation between the site’s former and its current usage. (Shelley’s Ozymandias springs to mind.) Another fave was the Hornsey site, shut last year, a small, but intimate place to dump, which has had to make way for a new uber-Sainsbury’s. I’m trying to find a correlate for this particular palimpsest, but nothing springs to mind as yet.

A truly great dump

The site that has replaced these two in my routine is that situated in Friern Barnet, off Summers Lane (more properly North Finchley perhaps?) and behind Compton School. A truly great dump, with a plethora of choices as to where to accompany your soon-to-be-former possessions to their final resting place. Plenty of helpful staff as well. You really get the sense here that your rubbish will ultimately find an appropriate destination.

I sound mad, I know, but these trips have been a part of my life since I owned my first property, well back in time now, and started to accumulate ‘stuff’, which can begin to take over your life if you don’t watch it, as I’m sure many of you know. By nature a hoarder, my missions of mercy have more resonance for me than just sticking my rubbish outside the house for collection, or just dropping it into a black wheelie bin. Resonant for me, at least. Am I alone in this? What other rituals have people developed on a Sunday morning to replace washing the car or mowing (the now paved-over) front garden?

We were at the soon-to-close B &Q in Totteridge today. Is the 1970/80s craze for DIY slowly dying out, as people realise how difficult it all can be? For me, this is another Sunday activity (trying to find a staff member who can help is one of the challenges of this particular pastime) that might be at an end-stage? Purchasing stuff and the disposal of said purchases at a future date – the serpent eating its’ own tail?