A version of this article was originally published in the Isle of Man Examiner.
The other day I was reading the health column of a glossy magazine. It was something to do while waiting for my takeaway order to be ready. The theme of the article was ‘purification’ and it was packed with charmingly unscientific and alarmingly expensive processes to cleanse your system and (if you’ll excuse the highly aggravating non-word) detox.
My Singapore noodles arrived before I reached the end of the piece, so I may have missed a point or two about why these pricey procedures are more effective than a bowl of All-Bran and a bit of a wash. It did occur to me that there’s another way to feel purified. It’s virtually free and gets you out of the house, into the fresh air. Well, fairly fresh air.
Take a trip to The Tip.
Such places will always be ‘The Tip’ too. They could erect fifty-foot signs made of solid gold with the forever-unspoken words ‘Civic Amenity Site’ picked out in diamonds. Real people in actual conversations would still talk about ‘The Tip’.
There is something tremendously purifying about a trip to the Tip. Lobbing a broken squeegee into a skip releases the sort of endorphins you can’t possibly get from somebody shoving a lit candle into into your ear, or any other orifice. Visiting The Tip’s freecycling area, knowing that the volume you leave there may help some stranger complete their collection of Beryl The Peril annuals elevates the heart rate and leaves you with a charitable glow. When you get home you can enjoy a series of stretching exercises in all the space you’ve freed up through your vigorous decluttering.
As getting rid of items is very much my thing at the moment, I can’t share the pleasures other get from salvaging things from The Tip. For me, the pleasure of the process is very much to do with subtraction, not addition. However if you are a collector, then I’m assured that finding a bit of Archibald Knox pewter in a box of Lego gives an energising boost to the system that leaves kale smoothies standing.
I feel the health benefits of a Tip trip are sorely underrated. Health fads seem to come and go. If the shiny magazines start advising you to fill bin bags full of junk and head for your nearest municipal waste facility, please remember where you read it first.