Friday, 12 February 2010

Beautiful things: trash of the titans

Spread around the periphery of my city there are several unexpected areas of rough scrubland amid the urban sprawl. Lost between waterways and housing estates next to dual carriageways and car parks, their wilderness excused by council signs proclaiming them to be nature reserves, they are ignored by all but the occasional runner, dog walker or homeless person. It might seem unexpected at the close of a property boom that there should still be unused land in a crowded city like mine, however once you know their past the reason for their status becomes clear. These are the municipal waste tips of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, vast open middens of trash that time has merely clothed with a layer of dirt and an unruly tangle of undergrowth.

Step through the gate, leave the path and step under the screen of branches and you're alone in the shade. The ground here has little vegetation and as you walk over it you can feel a crunching under your feet. You are standing on that which remains of a city's rubbish after a hundred years of weather and rot. All around you in the leaf litter are broken bottles, china, animal bones, old shoes and miscellaneous other unidentifiable objects. Picking items up and taking them away is against the law and bottle diggers are strictly forbidden but there's nothing against taking a camera and the law can do nothing about the local wildlife, the spoil from whose whose burrows provides a rich vein of new objects to photograph every year.

Trash of the titans? I'm certainly not referring to the Simpsons episode of that name. This city has at times played host to nearly all of this country's famous or powerful people. That mug might have been dropped by C.S. Lewis, that toothpaste tube could have been J.R.R. Tolkien's and that sheep's femur might have provided a meal for Oscar Wilde.  Or they might all just be the trash from the Morris Cars social club. That's part of the fun of rooting through this particular piece of undergrowth.

This post is off-topic from the rest of this blog. Every now and then if I see something I like I'll post it here, filed under beautiful things. Because some things, even trash, are worth sharing.


  1. Nice to see beauty in the form of rubbish.

    Nice post, Jenny.

    Calie xxx

  2. Henceforth never let it be said that my writing isn't at least partly trash.

  3. What a great post! Thanks for the link! I always enjoy it when people are curious about the places in which they live, and take the time to share their finds with the rest of us!