As you can see, I think the slogan so apposite, I have added a mug to the collection too.
I use it regularly.
When I bought the bin, there were several slogans to choose from. I would have preferred 'Keep calm and eat cake', or even better 'Keep calm and have a glass of wine', but sadly neither of those were on offer.
So, as you know, I got this one.
|How thrilling is that?|
I could have had 'Waste not, want not'. In fact that was the one I picked up first, but when it came to it, I just couldn't do it.
If you are my age, then your parents were either war-youngsters, or actually took an active role in WWII.
If you are a bit younger, then maybe your grandparents lived through the war.
If you are younger still, then you won't have a clue what I'm on about.
But the rest of us know that anyone who lived through the war can't throw away so much as a length of string or a candle stump.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking thrift - even thrift that to the uninitiated smacks of parsimony..
But where thrift is concerned, initiation does help.
Unless you've lived through the war - any war, probably - I don't suppose you can ever understand what chronic shortage really means. I certainly don't.
It's hard to imagine, after the surfeits of our own times, that in Britain, people were allowed just 1 egg, 2oz (not quite 60g) butter and 2oz cheese per person per week - less if it wasn't available. And meat, sugar, flour, jam etc etc etc were all rationed too.
And it wasn't just for the six years of the war - rationing didn't end until 1954!
War Time Farm was a real eye-opener on how people actually managed to 'carry on' - and it was interesting to see how much hard work went into ensuring that bread was never rationed in Britain, although for many countries in Europe, bread was hard - sometimes impossible - to come by.
Watching what did - or, more likely, didn't go into meals make me wonder why I spend a good deal of time scratching my head wondering what to make for dinner.
I just can't imagine trying to feed a family in those days.
And it wasn't only food. Clothes were rationed too. Try telling the average girl today that her clothes are going to be rationed from now on. Seriously rationed. No more Saturday afternoons in the mall.
It was during the war that shorter skirts for women and short trousers for boys were introduced. Boys had to wear shorts until the age of 12. It saved a lot of material.
Not everything was rationed. Some things were simply unobtainable.
So you can't exactly blame the older generation for hanging on to stuff - understandably, waste not, want not was their credo.
I was lucky enough to grow up in an era and environment of plenty, but old habits don't die, so I was brought up with the concept of 'reduce, recycle and reuse' long before the ad men turned it into a slogan to save the world.
It's a great concept. It's even a great slogan and I wholeheartedly support it.
But I don't hang on to every bit of string and candle stump.
Instead I live with a virtual wagging finger, with a shadow of disapproval falling over me every time I chuck a plastic bag, dump a perfectly good paper carrier, scrunch tin foil, scrumple up gift wrap or ditch the fag-end of a bar of soap.
But the greatest sin of all is to throw food away.
I may not be squeaky clean on the tin foil and plastic bag front, but I really baulk at binning food.
Apparently (in the British Isles anyway), - if everyone threw one in three of their carrier bags away as they left the supermarket each week, that is how much of their purchase - on average - they are going to waste.
What happened to 'left-overs'?
What happened to 'Ort Pie' - something delicious constructed from whatever happened to be left in the fridge?
(Well, OK, an attempt at something delicious!)
In the name of culinary inventiveness or, failing that, pure unadulterated impecuniosity, it's got to be worth a try.
Nothing - well, practically nothing - well, very little is ever thrown away in our house.
(How's that for self-righteousness?)
Before I fall off my own pedestal, I'd better come clean. I am based at home, so if something is left over from supper, it can be made into lunch the next day.
For another, I have a battery of back-up options. There is a strict protocol governing anything rejected by humans. First refusal = dogs. Second refusal = cats. Third refusal = hens, and if all else fails, final refusal = the bird table. I have to say, not much makes it that far down the line. Occasionally I by-pass the line and make an outright donation to the hens or the bird-table. Bread, for example, that has turned silently to the texture of old plasterboard. Ends of cheese that have transformed into translucent plastic. (How does cheese do that?)
|Second refusal = cats|
And then - while I'm still in the confessional - there's the fungus-y stuff. The container in the back of the fridge that you pull out and look at and think - that needs eating. Um - maybe not tonight though...
So you put it back. And back. Until eventually it feels so unloved it grows its own comfort blanket.
There are some things that have to be thrown away.
Speaking of comfort blankets and disposal, I had an interesting experience a while ago. I was away for a week, helping my brother move house. Lovingly - rather virtuously, I thought - I made a large casserole to keep the troops going for a few days in my absence. I left it on top of the oven.. About a week after I got home, I rooted in the cupboard for the casserole dish and fished it out. Gosh, I thought to myself, this iron pot is even heavier than I thought it was.
When I opened it, there was the stew. Or rather, there were the mountains of the moon, comprising several species of fungus hitherto unknown to science.
Don't even ask...(But yes, by some miracle, we are still co-habiting. Acceptance is just one of the many marvels of the human psyche.)
But for all our sins and oversights, there is very little that gets thrown away (or buried in a deep hole, far from the prying noses of rats and foxes).
Something of the make-do and mend of my childhood has lingered in there somewhere.
Probably just as well, with all of us the world over, teetering on the edge of serious shortages of money and food and resources. I can't see anyone in the first world taking very well to rationing though.
Hopefully it won't come to that. But maybe the shadow of it still hangs over us. Like some sort of genetic imprint.
I guess that's why 'Waste not, want not' was just a step too far. A truth too close to the bone.
I'd rather stay calm and eat cake. And look what I found on my trip to Enniskillen last weekend!
But if there isn't any cake, I'll opt for staying calm and carrying on.