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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

No Fridges or Crap

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas JANUARY. 28, 2021


[180-365] 28th. January 2021- Not subtle but makes me chuckle, every time I drive past. This is a permanent feature at the side of the road in town next to the builders merchants. It's the perfect spot because it's free to park and there is a permanent flow of builders collecting and delivering next door who may have scrap for recycling. It's also an interesting word coincidence because you just have to add an S to turn the unwanted stuff into the wanted stuff.


Crap is my word of the day because when I looked up the etymology it was older and more complex than I realised.


Crap - Late Middle English: related to Dutch krappe, from krappen ‘pluck or cut off’, and perhaps also to Old French crappe ‘siftings’, Anglo-Latin crappa ‘chaff’. The original sense was ‘chaff’, later ‘residue from rendering fat’, also ‘dregs of beer’. Current senses date from the late 19th century.


What is interesting is that it's meaning derives from waste or leftovers so in a sense the word has changed in this context because crap is exactly what a scrap merchant would want, but in the world of scrap there is a lower order of waste that is not useful. So crap is relative, what is crap to me is scrap to the scrap man. The two words, with similar original meanings have diverged.


Scrap - late Middle English (as a plural noun denoting fragments of uneaten food): from Old Norse skrap ‘scraps’; related to skrapa ‘to scrape’. The verb dates from the late 19th century.

What we call scrap men today in Britain used to be called rag and bone men. The rag and bone trade goes back a long way to a time when rags were collected to make paper and bones were turned into glue. I am guessing that as the primary articles of recycling, rags and bones lost their uses the metal wares took their place.


At any rate with crap being relative, what I see in this truck is crap while what the scrap man sees is scrap. There was a nice set of pastry cutters thrown in there at some point. See if you can spot them.

On the matter of fridges, there are special laws on the disposal of fridges due to the release into the atmosphere of coolant chemicals. That is why some people now just dump them in laybys or hedges. So that idea worked well.

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