GRAHAM TURNER: Coffee, cake and ‘upcycling’

A personal view
A personal view
Have your say

Our resident recycling evangelist Karen Cannard would have been proud of me on Saturday as my daughter introduced us (me and Mrs Turner) to a trendy, environmentally friendly new café in Cambridge.

The Urban Shed – worth a plug for its great coffee and even better carrot and pine nut cake – is completely kitted out with ‘upcycled’ furniture and decorative paraphernalia.

Instead of a table, we sat at large a cable reel, and our seating obviously came from a variety of sources, including a set of four or five from a waiting room of some kind, bolted together – and to the wall. We could have chosen the pair of vintage Qantas airliner seats (though no-one offered to show us the emergency exits).

Wooden cutlery (very ‘green’, but hopefully not recycled), vinyl records played on a 1970s music centre – which looked very like the one that graced our living room when I was growing up – plus a variety of items adorning the wall, including clocks made from old LPs and seven-inch singles, helped to create a pretty unique setting.

Apparently, everything in the café is for sale, so the owners must have access to a ready supply of ‘pre-loved’ items.

The question is: Would I want to fill my home with upcycled goods?

The answer: Probably not.

It was an interesting and novel experience, using a cable reel as a table, but I’m not sure I’d want one in my dining room – I shudder at the thought of those splinters.

Having said that, I can see the attraction of reusing items and materials that would otherwise be sent to the tip or burnt. Perhaps I just haven’t seen that ‘killer’ item yet. Or perhaps I need to clamber around the loft space (as Karen recently did) to see if there’s anything up there that I can upcycle myself.

Karen’s montly column will be in Friday’s paper.

-- Without wishing to bore regular readers with more on my journey to work, Newmarket Road, in Bury, has been a bit of a disaster zone recently. On Monday morning the traffic lights at the railway bridge had failed, while at the end of last week the road at the junction with Gibraltar Close was flooded again. This seems to happen every time we get a bit of a downpour. I don’t know if the drains get blocked or whether they’re just not up to it.