When you see someone searching through rubbish bins you probably have one of two reactions: pity or disgust. Save your reactions. It could be me.
I am a student of Neology, the science of going through what people have thrown out on the street. As a pioneer neologist, I have turned “field walking,” which is an archaeological term for walking over paddocks in search of ancient rubbish dumps full of potshards, into the new art of “city-scrounging” which is searching for hopefully whole pots.
In the old days I would spend hours rummaging around on building sites for a few bricks or bits of copper pipe – and in those days there were no safety fences to keep me out.
Scrap was good business. “Where there’s muck, there’s money“.
Collecting old copper tube, bits of lead (not always from a church roof) and even the odd discarded aluminium road sign brought in a few extra coppers. Many a time I had to whack a few jostlers who tried to beat me to a good bit of brass over the shins.
Now, with the local government organising ‘hard waste collection days’ I have to sprint to beat the antique dealers and hold them off with my walking stick just to pick up a discarded china dog with a chipped ear.
How times have changed