Once upon a time I lived in a large city with the full range of chaotic, attractive glorious shops and if I wanted to, on the way home from work, I could go and buy a new pair of shoes, check out the sales or treat my daughter to a “plastic fantastic” toy.
Now things are very different. Everything I buy on the island has come on the ferry, and this adds a financial cost, increases its carbon footprint and means there is sometimes less choice or even no choice. When we moved to Islay we had to set some priorities about what we needed to take with us, so furniture was eBayed, clothes, toys and stuff went to charity shops and bags and bags went to council recycling. We moved all out possessions in two smallish vans owned by the wonderful Donald Gillies at Gti transport and a packed car.
Having moved here with one bed, one sofa, one coffee table and some other essentials we had to go straight out and buy the necessities of life as we in the developed world see them. We could have ordered furniture and had it delivered new from the mainland but we chose instead to buy second hand furniture from Re-jig.
This sideboard was one of my purchases, bought after several months here, it cost $10, some paint and a days work to turn into a practical, useful and as far as I am concerned, a good looking piece of furniture. Re-jig is one of those organisations that work tirelessly to promote a more sustainable lifestyle on the island. They collect goods for recycling, organise and pay for beach cleans, sort and sell second hand goods, and yet they are under threat as Argyll and Bute Council, that provides them with essential funding has withdrawn funding in an attempt to save money. The amount concerned is peanuts when compared to the total the council needs to save, and their solution to recycling will be to collect it by truck from the Islay and Jura and transport it to the mainland for sorting and recycling — surely not a sustainable solution.
The title of this blog post refers to a guilty addiction: books. Books, comprised by weight, are the biggest thing that we moved here. I am still buying books, a few in the local shop, a few from re-jig, but the majority from a well known online retailer. I know that each book that I buy is undergoing a significant journey before it reaches me, that as a habit it is not one that is sustainable and that I need to start to think about alternatives. I would like to buy an e-reader but even second hand ones are currently out of my budget. As a solution I have installed an e-reader on my iPhone and that works well, in the last two weeks I have read four books on my e-reader, however I have also ordered two books online — I have a way to go, I think.