You know when something lovely happens that's completely unexpected? Well, Monday was that day for me. And if you don't already keep an eye on your local Freecycle group, may I encourage you to sign up right now?
Freecycle - and I guess there are still some people who don't know this - lets you offer something you don't want to other members of the community, and to ask for something that someone else is getting rid of.
You have to be relaxed about the whole thing, because there's something of a lottery about it. I've come to the conclusion that most offerers like requesters to give a reason why they'd like the item, which means you can end up sending quite a supplicatory email. Some offerers like to leave a couple of days after posting so that as many people as possible can see what's on offer. Some just give it to the first reply. Quite often something I'm interested in has already gone.
Here - hurrah! - the stars conjoined. The post had just gone up; I explained that I blog and write articles, and that oak labels would look so much better in photographs than my cracked white plastic ones which seem to diminish in number with astonishing rapidity (where do they go?).
An hour later I was collecting the labels from a charming woman who was helping to clear clutter from her mother's house. And I am now the proud owner of an extraordinary number of unused, pristine oak plant labels.
To be an honourable member of a Freecycle group you have to offer things too and not just grab at what's there, but I've noticed that anything to do with gardening, surplus fruit, jam-making and bottling goes very quickly. (I've even been cheerfully relieved of a pile of old breezeblocks and roof tiles by someone who wanted to layout his allotment.)
So, while I rub my hands in a disgusting display of glee at this delightful hoard, can I encourage you to sign up to your local group?
And if you belong to anything similar to Freecycle, I'd love to hear what it is.