Friday, June 18, 2021

In Praise of Tubbies

by Mary

When I mentioned my intent was to talk about "tubbies" this time round, Mr Maywrite asked me if the word was a Britishism or a Maryism. I cannot say either way, but will confirm right off the bat that the following is not about the colourful Teletubbies inhabiting the world of the popular British TV show for young children.

No, this essay is devoted to coffee containers and came about because only a couple of types of plastic bottles and jars are accepted locally for recycling. This means items without the appropriate magic numbers on their bases branding them as unwanted types of plastic must perforce be disposed of in the weekly bag of rubbish. However, not all of our numerical undesirables disappear that way, because we have amassed a collection of various sizes of coffee tubbies. Not surprising really, since being devotees of Satan's brew we generally get through even the largest sized container in about six weeks.

A quick survey of Casa Maywrite reveals several tubbies currently in use. A medium sized example in this very room holds spare light bulbs, an excellent way to store fragile items of that kind. Why light bulbs are sold in flimsy cardboard packaging when it takes a hacksaw to get into certain plastic-wrapped items is a mystery for the ages.

More of these lagniappe storage units lurk in three rooms and a porch. The tubby in the latter location houses sundry small garden tools as well as drop cloths and paintbrushes. Another office example holds small odds and ends of the type that tend to be found lurking in desk drawers. Unfortunately neither of our desks include that most useful feature, so items such as envelopes, stamps, spare pens, and scissors are kept in their own tubby. There is the disadvantage that tubbies do not seem to spontaneously generate rubber bands and paper clips as desk drawers do.

There's another tubby in the bathroom housing the loo brush, and assorted hoover attachments lurk in the pantry tubby. Last summer one of the bigger containers proved really handy when carrying out a controlled pouring forth of wood stain, rather than attempting to wrassle with large tins reminiscent of British petroleum containment units, as Mr Maywrite put it. Which, he observed, in this country are still known as gas cans despite being made of plastic.

One of a procession of plumbers whose retirement accounts we have enlarged significantly the last couple of years asked if he could have one of our smaller tubbies, and we were glad to oblige. My guess is it will serve as a mini bucket in tighter plumbing spots. We have used one as a temporary bucket when the kitchen sink sprang a leak and of course they are also useful when dealing with other tasks involving water.

Leading subscribers further around a grand tour of the premises, observe the fine example of the largest type of tubby residing on the kitchen counter. We pressed it into service some time since to store wet rubbish such as coffee grounds, fruit peelings, and eggshells. Its capacity is large and keeping it tightly lidded until it the time came to dispose of its contents has proved particularly useful during east coast heat waves.

Another attraction of these handy items: stores expect you to pay for specialised containers for various sorts of clutter, but tubbies are free. Which reminds me there's one containing loose change in the kitchen but their use extends further: they serve as the subject for an essay when the idea fairy goes missing.

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