Things I never expected to buy

In between my draft posts that I have been putting up lately, this thought occurred to me, and generated a post that is not about films, for a change.

When I was younger, and living in the biggest city in Britain, there were certain things that were never really thought about. Things that I never expected to own, let alone have to buy at some stage. Moving to the countryside, and of course getting older at the same time, changed the everyday requirements of living, especially where clothing and footwear was concerned. Living in a place that is always much colder than London also brought about changes, and I recently had cause to consider some of the things I now own, that I had never imagined I would.

For most of my life, I had never possessed a ladder. When I had a house, I would pay someone else to clean the windows, make repairs to the roof, or paint where necessary. If I needed to get into a loft, I would stand on a stool or chair, and haul myself up through the hatch. For routine jobs, I had some small steps, allowing me to get up high enough to change a light bulb, or paint a ceiling. Once I moved to flats instead, routine maintenance was always done by someone else, provided by landlords. When I came to Norfolk to live in a bungalow, I didn’t need a ladder to clean windows, which are all at ground level. But I discovered that I also had to clear leaves from gutters, and that I could no longer physically drag myself up into the loft. So the ladder was purchased, and is now used all the time.

Houses and flats in cities are rarely that cold. The close proximity of other buildings and efficient central heating ensures that bedtime is rarely a chilly experience. But out here, our house is detached, touching no other buildings. All four walls are exposed to the elements, and the outside temperature is normally some five degrees less than it would be in London anyway. So we had to buy a much thicker duvet. For the first time, I now own a fifteen-tog heavyweight duvet, which is the minimum winter weight required, to feel cosy in bed.

I had never needed rubber boots, called Wellingtons here. The small city gardens of my past were easily managed without them, and even walking dogs I used to own was done on paved areas, or in manicured parks. We would rarely venture into the countryside on wet days, or in winter, so I was sixty years old before I realised that I would have to buy such boots, and have to wear them almost every day for six months of the year too. Not only that, I learned that I would have to have more than one pair. Lightweight ones for the spring rains, and heavy-duty lined ones for all of the winter. Then I had to get something called a boot-bag, for taking them out with me in the car.

The first bad winter here also made me worry about being stranded in the car. So I bought a tiny shovel, which I was sure would be needed at some stage. It never was though, so it was removed from the car and now hangs in the shed, looking as good as new. That set a trend for buying items that have yet to be used. With no gas in Beetley, we bought a portable gas-canister cooker, in case the electricity failed. Then added a hand lantern, for the same reason. All this new stuff had to be stored somewhere, so the useful shed outside became chock-full of ‘essential items’ that do little more than occupy space on shelves. A leaf-blower that just blew leaves around, but I still had to bend down to pick them up. A rough saw for trimming trees, that I then discovered I wasn’t allowed to cut.

I won’t bore you further with the list of white elephants that I had never thought I would need, and in most cases didn’t. But if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, think carefully about what you need, and what you buy.

77 thoughts on “Things I never expected to buy

  1. I have several ladders, including a heavy articulated one that can be made into a scaffold. Last week, I finally got around to buying a hand truck. The most useless space hogs I have are winter coats. This winter, especially, it’s been very warm…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Our son who is always Mr. Prepared asked if he could take our snow shovel back to Virginia. There are no snow shovels sold in any stores in Virginia. Good thing he did, because Virginia has had unseasonable snow. So, there is hope that those items of yours may get use.

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  2. Until I moved to New England I had a jacket and a dress coat. Now I think I have at least five different jackets for the great variation in temperature in one season. My favorite is warm to 30 below(F) and makes me look like the Michelin tire man. At least I am warm.

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    1. I have five different outdoor coats now. One for dry but cold, one for wet but warm, and two for wet and cold at the same time! The fifth one is a ‘respectable’ coat, that I never wear for dog-walking, but keep for ‘best’. I also have a lovely wool and cashmere overcoat. I got that when I began to have to attend so many funerals! πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  3. Great Post, Pete! I love hearing your thoughts and learning more about you!😍 Even at my age I have noticed that there are things that are necessities that I never thought I would own! When I was younger I never even thought about having jumper cables in my car or the proper tools for an unexpected breakdown. My daughter and I would travel everywhere and pretty much I eventually learned my lesson from some tough experiences that I needed all the proper necessities before going on the road. I also had no idea what I was doing when I was pregnant with my first child but when she was born I didn’t realize how much stuff you have to carry and extra everything! All of these things I thought were just for people who had enough money suddenly became survival tools. Thanks for sharing, as always!😍

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    1. Gad you liked it, Dani. It gets worse as you get older, when you start buying so-called labour-saving devices, then having to pay someone to assemble them! πŸ™‚ x
      Best wishes, Pete. x

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  4. Living in a flat and not having a garage/shed/loft meant decluttering was essential. I now have a shed and some gardening tools, a toolbox full of stuff neither of us uses, and a loft that neither of us can get into! And I am seriously considering buying those wellies after this month’s rain πŸ™‚

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      1. Dina has some nice ones with expanding sides. A tad expensive though. I shall go and have a look at your recommendation. (I do actually have some pink ones with flowers on them – a birthday present from my daughter years ago – but they are not lined and not all that comfortable to walk in)

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  5. I can totally relate to unnecessary purchases. The decluttering process always goes something like this: 1 – Move item to back of cupboard; 2 – move item from cupboard to garage or shed; 3 – clean out shed and garage 4 – take item to Goodwill or similar charity; 5 – About a week later, look to use item, now where is it? 6 – Purchase same item again. Repeat! πŸ˜‰

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  6. Excellent advice there at the end, Pete! I might add: Know the difference of what you really need and what you want. Being aware of this difference will prevent from getting your garden shed overcrowded like mine. Haha!

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  7. I feel like most people get to this point… I’m already there. My man and I have so much “stuff” we don’t even know where some of it came from or remember why we got it to begin with… But, then when we think about getting rid of it we think “what if we NEED it one day??” sigh.. The perils of hoarding… And you have a portable gas stove and hand lantern? .. Sounds like someone should go so some camping! πŸ˜‰

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  8. I am in the midst of a “spring cleaning” that will attempt to reduce my clutter by 25% – and it will be all of those things bought over the last decade that seemed like a great idea t the time – “salad spinner” anyone? that now are mis-shaped and in the way – or stuffed to the back of a shelf taking up valuable space!

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  9. Dear Pete: — Here where I live we have a little shed out in the back yard which is always stuffed with stuff and nonsense that we have picked up over the years. My friend, Jim is the kind of person who believes that nothing should ever be tossed because it might become useful someday. We have a ladder for gutter cleaning too but neither of us is very good at climbing it anymore so we took the more sensible course of having the offending trees cut down. Then there is the expensive bicycle that I will probably never be able to ride again ,..,. and well .. all kinds of stuff. We clean the little house out once in awhile but for some reason nothing much ever gets thrown away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know that feeling, John. As we get older, it does seem harder to throw anything away. Despite having less time ahead of us, we are sure those things will all be used, ‘one day’. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  10. Human beings are pretty much domesticated pets at this point, not suited to the demands of roughing it in the natural world. We’re getting to be proper sissies! Kudos for your survivalist stockpile, though. Just because you haven’t needed it yet, doesn’t mean you never will!

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  11. I remember my husband coming home very proudly with a leaf blower someone was giving away – he soon found out why they were giving it away! I expect it’s buried in the shed. We have a very large attic and it is full of – well, all sorts of things we never use. One day, I’m going to have a massive clear out. I read somewhere if you haven’t used an item for two years then you don’t need it. If I follow that rule then we should have a completely empty attic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, two years? I still have stuff in unopened moving boxes, from 2012! That’s why we can’t put either car in the garage! πŸ™‚
      Leaf blowers have to be one of the best marketing ideas ever. We all thought we needed one, but the wind does the job just as well.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Pete! I remember when I met my partner being very impressed that he had a wealth of tools, ladders, car equipment etc. and that he actually knew how to use them all. He was 25 (I was 23) and he seemed very grown up. I didn’t even have a screwdriver to my name! Over the years we’ve saved a fortune through his DIY knowledge and we enjoy tackling projects together. He’s still the handiest person I know and the only one in our friendship group with any of these skills. It’s a shame that this knowledge doesn’t seem to have been passed down to my generation but we’re looking forwards to making a packet when we retire and he’s the only person left who can wire a plug or build a wall! I didn’t expect to own wellies, sensible outdoor wear, walking boots or have my own gardening tools, especially at my age (now 34) but I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I envy him those skills, Lucinda. I am more or less useless at anything to do with DIY. On top of that, I hate doing it too! If I put a drill into a wall, you can guarantee that I will hit a water pipe or electric cable. Other than changing a plug or fuse, I am genuinely hopeless! I do have a nice cantilever tool box fulll of tools, but that also lives untouched in the shed…
      As for car repairs, that’s what mechanics are for. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Honestly after reading this post I of course wracked my brain if I could think of something that I bought but did not expect to buy. My mind drew a blank. Could not think of anything. Maybe my needs are going to change when I move some time as well. Fun post Pete πŸ˜€

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  14. Isn’t it funny how our needs change with our moves or our increased age but good advice to see if you do need it rather think you might need it…And I am pleased I am not the only one with no mains gas..well no one in Thailand has it but I did think all of the Uk did…I was wrong πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Outside of the two cities and five major towns in Norfolk, few places here have a mains gas supply. Our central heating is oil-fired, and all cooking is electric-only. That was something to adapt to, after 60 years of using gas. Beetley has only 1400 residents, and the gas companies do not consider it worthwhile to run gas to us here. Some people in the village still have gas cookers, relying on large tanks of Calor Gas (Propane) to run them. (I have friends in East Sussex with no gas too, and it is common in many rural areas to have oil-fired heating)
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. I had heard of oil heating but supposed it was a choice rather than an option between that and propane gas πŸ™‚ Well I am learning much today ..Oh and have downloaded Aguirre for hubby to watch on your recommendation πŸ™‚

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