Gangster Pigs, Skip Diving and My Quest for a Hobby

I go through stages of things I am interested in. At the start of the year I was gung-ho into cooking all the meals, meal planning,  cooking all the days, making 700 meals a week.  I got bored quickly and then moved unsuccessfully onto break making. That didn’t work out. Then came cakes.

I mastered making a cheesecake. I made about 24 in one month. I don’t eat cheesecake. I realised it had to stop when I saw the light going out in my kids and the husbands eyes when the word  cheesecake was mentioned. 

Then there was the round of birthdays. I made all the cakes. A pig in muck cake that didn’t resemble cute pigs frolicking in muck but gangster pigs lolling around in a hot tub in a brothel.



Are you terrified? You should be.

A penguin cake that weighed more than an actual penguin.


The six stone penguin could feed about 750 people.  You can tell what animal it is though, can’t you?

A unicorn cake that if you tilted your head and squinted and believed really hard, it somewhat resembled a unicorn. I admitted defeat by the time the toddlers birthday came around and I couldn’t make another animal out of icing and bought a paw patrol  cake topper.


It wasn’t sustainable. Buying that amount of castor and icing sugar every week wasn’t good for anyone. I went through more pounds of butter in the Spring than I have in the previous ten years. So I was done with baking.

Then I decided to write a book. Turns out you need something to write about if you want to write a book. I had nothing.

On to the next thing.

Up until last year , every plant I ever owned died quickly after coming to live here. Then I started to actually water them and talk to them and name them and now they live , this brings me an inordinate amount of joy.

Buoyed by the success of keeping indoor plants alive, I tried outdoor plants. THEY ARE ALL ALIVE. Gardening centres are my new favourite place. I plant the plants, I water the plants, I talk to the plants , I talk about the plants ( the husband is thrilled with this development ) and now I am writing about the plants.

They are expensive though. Then I had another brain wave. There was a skip on our road for about a week with a wooden pallet in it. I told the husband I was going to take it. I told him many times, he didn’t get the hint or possibly he wasn’t listening for fear I was talking about my new-found love of gardening.  So I took myself off down the road, dragging the boy child with me, to get the pallet myself.

There was a man loading stuff into it. An attractive man who didn’t speak English very well.


Me: Hello can I take something from this skip?

Man: Looks at me blankly.

Me: 3 minute monologue about not being sure of the etiquette of taking things from skips, false laughter, beads of sweat on my forehead. 

Attractive Man: still silent and looking bewildered. 

Me: * acts out removing stuff from the skip*

Boy child: looks like he wants to be anywhere else in the world but right there.


Attractive Man: But of course, it is thrash, you take whatever thrash you want”

Me: Yusssss….

Also Me: I will just go ahead and take this wooden pallet then. 

Boychild: despair and mortification all over his innocent little face. 

Wooden pallet is wedged in under a bath . Wooden pallets are a lot a heavier than I anticipated.

I spent a further two minutes pulling at it. It didn’t move at all. 

Me to boychild: Well this is quite heavy, I think we will leave it and get it later.

Boychild: silence.

Attractive Man: silence

Me: heavy breathing from the exertion of trying to  get the pallet to move even a single inch.

At this point attractive man wants me to go away so he lifts the pallet one-handed ( swoon) from the skip and smiles.

Grand. Result, eventually. Myself and boychild spend the next 10 minutes hauling it 100 feet up the road. Neighbours curtains twitching. Boy child not impressed. Me very impressed with my skip haul and still quite surprised about just how heavy it is.

We get it home eventually. I sanded it and painted it and LOOK IT.




Its amazing, it sparks all the joy.

Total cost: ZERO.

I found a sanding sponge under my bed whilst looking for my daughters hairbrush and outside paint in my shed. So this cost nothing. It makes me happy. Obviously, I am noq thinking of ALL the things I can  do with things you find in skips and things you can make from wooden pallets. The husband is almost as thrilled about this as he is about me talking about plants.

So finally I have a hobby. Planting, skip diving, visiting gardening centres.

The descent into middle age is fully upon me. I like it.

If you ever need a ganster pig for a child’s birthday cake though, feel free to get in touch.





Feature Image via Unsplash.


5 thoughts on “Gangster Pigs, Skip Diving and My Quest for a Hobby

  1. Sinéad ( says:

    This made me laugh! Firstly because I can relate. I’m a total hobby-hopper too. Secondly, the pigs! To be fair, getting those tiny pigs to look cute has to be tricky! You are giving me hope that someone can go from gardening zero to gardening hero without much fuss! I haven’t clue but maybe some day! 🙂

  2. Emily says:

    If only you had written this two months ago, you would have a substantial commission for a Gangsta Pig cake for my birthday… Next year?
    (LOVE the pallet <3 )

  3. LadyNicci says:

    LOVE the pallet. I might paint a wall in the garden white just to copy you! Well done skip thief! Oh and as for the buke: you don’t need anything to write about, my book involves brothels and prostitutes… no experience necessary!

  4. Muuka says:

    The other half went skip diving a month ago and came back with lots of interesting thing. I was mortified! You two would get on brilliantly

  5. office mum says:

    Oh it’s beautiful! I copied your flowers from Instagram a few weeks back (I mean, I was inspired by…) and they are not yet dead. They’re not on a very cool blue pallet now or anything, but they make me happy. So thanks for the inspiration!