Duggleby Bins

You don’t often come across a Duggleby Bin these days, more’s the pity. In its time it was a revolutionary new type of waste paper basket, the fad for which led to scenes reminiscent of the South Sea Bubble or tulipomania. Duggleby Bins would exchange hands for outrageous sums of money, or be bartered for grand houses, farmyards, entire fleets of ships, or, in one celebrated case, the monarchy of a mountain-girt kingdom shrouded in mystical mists. And then, as suddenly as they had become fashionable, so Duggleby Bins were shunned, discarded, abandoned, broken up with hammers, and ownership of one became a social gaffe, the cause of mockery and disgrace. Nowadays, you can trawl for weeks or months or years through junkyards and rubbish tips and never set eyes upon a Duggleby Bin. Rag and bone men who will happily clasp to their bosoms the most noisome detritus will look askance and pass on to examine something filthy and worm-eaten rather than hoist a Duggleby Bin on to their cart.

It was with very little publicity, then, that last week saw the launch of the Duggleby Bin Appreciation Society. Its mission statement says that the Society aims to “revive, preserve, and enthuse about Duggleby Bins”, although a footnote in the inaugural Newsletter reveals that not one of the founding members actually owns one, or has ever seen a genuine Duggleby Bin. The four po-faced individuals in the official Society photograph pose with what appears to be an Etch-a-Sketch rendering of what they imagine a Duggleby Bin might look like. It’s all rather quaint, and sad. Remember them in your prayers.

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