Local Hero

Shopping locally can often mean fewer pennies in your pocket in exchange for a somewhat soothed conscience and half-bruised tomatoes. Add to that the seemingly futile mantra of reduce, re-use and re-cyle and you’ve got yourself in an eco-whirl that either makes you self-righteous or tatty. I try to find some middle-ground by shopping for seasonal produce even in supermarkets, making things from scratch as much as possible instead of relying on ready-meals and upcycle things in a crafty way whenever I can.

This is the vegetable bounty I picked up for under €10 at the local market on Saturday in a bag that I made from a €3 vinyl tablecloth I got the  previous weekend, featuring some cheery cherries against a bright blue sky . I hope to use the rest to make a waterproof picnic blanket because unless you live in the Savannah, grass-stains are inevitable.

I cut two rectangles of the vinyl, two of some remnant navy canvas and two large squares of cotton lining to make the body of the bag. I changed the grey zip for a red one after I took this picture to make an inside pocket for my phone, cash and keys. To smooth the edges of the handles, I used some binding bias tape and finished everything off with a co-ordinating red thread.

I’ve found it’s perfect for schlepping giant books across town as well, keeping them safe from the rain that seems to strike without notice after a particularly hot day or from a massive flood in your apartment block if you should be so unfortunate. Last Saturday, just after our grocery shopping excursion, we found our neighbour standing in the hallway, barefoot with dripping towels in her hands, looking very worried and apologising for the lack of water in our building because she turned off the mains supply.

It turned out that she had to break into another neighbour’s flat because they were on holiday and found a lake a few inches deep full of hot water. Enter Local Hero aka my husband. Armed with a toolbox and manly know-how, he leapt into action, turning off this tap and the other and soon stopped the leak. A burst valve in summer. Who would’ve thought!

I’m tempted to waterproof everything in sight but I suspect cherry tablecloth may not be my husband’s solution of choice. Do you have any water-disasters to share? Maybe it’s time to bring in the vinyl.

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