I think Americans call it Dumpster Diving, this habit we've developed lately of helping ourselves to unwanted items left outside houses.
The block of flats where we live stands on the corner of two roads of expensive houses leading up to Blackheath. They're always changing hands, so subject to constant renovation or restoration, and the skips are a good source of furniture.
One road was laid out as Victorian villas built at the same time as the station, and although two of them were once halls of residence for Goldsmiths College students, like the rest they're now divided into flats. For a while we helped update the electoral register, so we're familiar with all the weird fire-escapes and death-trap entry systems. Thank goodness we decided one cold and dark October, when we were both racked with coughs, to hand on the baton.
All the roads around here are reflect the terrain: Hyde Vale; Princes Rise; Blackheath Hill. It's pleasant enough set off for the park encumbered at most with a backpack or a lightweight folding chair , the better to enjoy the shade of mighty oaks on sunny days or sit within earshot of the bandstand when all the benches are occupied; to turn back carrying a swivel chair (see above) or a new glass-pannelled interior door is a different matter. Especially when we live on the third floor and there's no lift.
However, the stuff is often in very good condition - the door was still in its wrapping - so we can't complain. Maybe the credit crunch will bring a halt to all the moving about, but in the meantime the skips are very useful.
I'm not saying it's entirely down to improved seating, but progress on the writing front has been good.
I joined two writing groups, one a U3A one which has been very inspirational as far as writing execises and motivation has been good - the tutor is keen to get an anthology together. The other is a dedicated group of supportive local writers whose feedback is valuable.
I've written and submitted some short stories as well as some website reviews, althugh I've cut back on the latter. Here's my reviews of a play called The Pilgrimage of the Heart and a collection of Chinese short stories called Loud Sparrows:
I've also written a review of short stories by Anne Enright called Talking Pictures:
Mainly, though, I've been finding and submitting to print outlets, of which more later, I hope.