The saying “Where there’s muck there’s brass!” is very true of our Recycling Centre in South Molton. In fact a whole variety of scrap metals pass through our yard on their way to be recycled into ‘money’… Thursday 9th February 2017 – was one of those golden days when I’d had the ‘foresight’ to grab my camera on the way out to work in my usual morning rush. Because mid-morning a very regal lady came into our recycling yard – her name was Elizabeth – a classic gleaming black Rolls-Royce.
Alas she hadn’t been brought in as a donation – or even brought anything in for recycling in her spacious boot…Rather she was just out for a pre-lunch spin in the winter sunshine with her farmer owner – Reg. Even though he’s been coming into our shop for years – it’s the first time he’d graced us with his regal Roller – Elizabeth. It’s what I love about working in a recycling shop – our patrons are as diverse as the range of cars that park-up in our yard. Their drivers and passengers come from all walks of life – and you could never pair them. If I hadn’t seen Reg at the wheel – I’d have presumed the farmer’s truck next door was probably his – if I hadn’t known already it belonged to a smartly dressed lady – another regular – who had just popped into buy a bed…
They also say “Never judge a book by its cover.” In our shop where we get crate loads of ‘unwanted’ books too – I’ve learnt how true that is. I love talking to our customers – and hearing nuggets from their daily lives – or what they plan to do with the secondhand – even third-hand or fourth-hand item they’ve just bought. There is a magic about working where I do – like the Phoenix bird the shop is named after. I also have a very understanding manager – who allowed me to disappear up the back of the yard for five minutes or so – so that I could take photos of Elizabeth and learn about her. Reg has owned her for twenty three years!
Elizabeth – like her namesake – was very at ease rubbing bumpers with the more common cars in the car park – and she even came over for a chat with the lowliest, scruffiest – dirtiest car in the car park – mine!
Even the fridges dumped at the back of the yard have less rust – but like the ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ on Reg’s Roller – my faithful blue Skoda can fly, especially with the wind behind her! My old Dad always taught me – that it’s not what you drive but how you drive that makes the difference. As I’m usually running late in the morning – we overtake a bit – much newer cars that potentially possess a lot more thrust; ‘Bath Chairs’ as we call them!
Our brilliant metal man – Philip, was doing the scrap metal run in his faithful vintage tractor and had just loaded up his link box – when Elizabeth quietly glided by on her way-out of the yard. I love the juxtaposition of the diaphanous Rolls-Royce mascot against the sharp pile of old scrap.
Who knows maybe in the next life – some will get smelted down and transfigured into something as beautiful and as iconic – even it. I hope so…
Reg’s beautiful car is named in honour of our great Queen – Elizabeth II – but the ‘it’ figure on the front brought to my mind a person who was very much in the news that day – Tara Palmer Tomkinson. I don’t really know much about her – but I remembered reading an article in my late father’s Daily Mail newspaper – towards the end of 2016. I rather warmed to her after reading it – she clearly lived life at full throttle.
I don’t think there are many people that I could reasonably compare to the ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ – but seeing it gleaming in the bright sunlight with arms held back as if about to leap forward into the unknown – I saw Tara.
I love this full throttle piece – ‘Exultation’ by Amethystium – watch, listen – enjoy.