It’s not theft if it doesn’t belong to anyone…right?
Okay, so here’s the thing. I work half the week embalming and arranging the funerals of the good folks of the north of Scotland, and the other half for my local authority, in sheltered housing complexes, independent living for older and vulnerable people. It’s essentially an office job with added chatting to people and making sure they are all fine. I blogged recently about finding a book in a bin, which happens sometimes, especially if someone dies, and their relatives just throw everything out. I Have been known to ladder tights and lose all dignity climbing into a skip to get books, lamps, and once a large brass Buddha, out. These are kittens in dumpsters, it is not only allowable for me, but nay, my duty, to take those books and re-home them.
The other thing that happens is unwanted books, ornaments, etc, are piled up on shelves in corridors, common rooms, and various cupboards, in case another person can find a use for them. Once upon a time the unwanted books were like a library, and were read and returned, but then the actual library service started visiting and leaving a huge cache of books every three months, and the old unwanted books of deceased people became redundant, unable to compete with the newest large-print editions of celebrity autobiographies, and the works of Jackie Collins and Barbara Taylor Bradford.
Today I passed by a shelf of untouched books, and heard a little cry. Like the milk carton in the Blur Video for ‘Coffee and TV’, Dodie Smith’s ‘I Capture The Castle’ sprouted arms and begged to come home with me, even if it’s just for a little while, as it was printed in 1950 and assures me no one has read it since.
And then Iris Murdoch’s ‘An Accidental Man’ piped up saying ‘Look at me! My cover is a man remarkably like James Joyce, waving a brick, being attacked by an owl, how can you not take me home?!’.
And then finally I saw ‘Mapp and Lucia’, which was recently adapted for television by the BBC, but according to this edition, it was adapted before by ITV in 1984, with Prunella Scales and Geraldine McEwan, and that I really should read the book before watching any of these.
If anyone from my job reads this, I will absolutely return these books to be thrown out or sit unread for another 30 years or so, once I’m done with them. Absolutely. Possibly. Or maybe they should call the books, and I’ll call the books, and we’ll see who they go to?