The deal has been done, money has changed hands and suddenly it’s gone. That’s a relief. It’s no longer there in the house reminding us of the folly of buying on impulse. Of course we sold it at a loss but we don’t mind. We are like a deleveraging Irish bank. Mistakes were made by the previous administration but now it’s time to move on.

It’s the latest sale in a flurry of things that have been sold or given away and each has created a similar zen-like moment in the wake of its absence. Even the fireplace has been ripped out and sent to a good home. With the fireplace it was touch and no-go for a few weeks as it stood outside in the back staring balefully at us – as only disembodied fireplaces can – for having the chutzpah to remove a giver of heat from a house during an Irish summer. Eventually it was sent on its way in a van with a man who paid cash.

We went out on a night out with the money. If the most decrepit crystal meth addict sold a fireplace and spent some of the money on drink he’d be roundly condemned. Condemn away – the decadence was fleeting but wonderful. (We were getting a stove in case anyone’s thinking of ringing the tabloids with a ‘whimsical columnist’s booze-hell’ story)

Many of the things we’ve sold or given away have done nothing wrong. It’s like all relationships – we’ve drifted apart and there came a time when we wanted something different.

Although, the procession of strangers to our door to take our ex-possessions has been an eye-opener, of course it’s not a new phenomenon. There were always jumble sales. I know exactly which of my dinky-cars arrived in this way. I can still remember the 1986 Dennis The Menace annual with the ripped pages and which had once been a present for a Brian Callinan from his Auntie Bríd.

If you didn’t find something it didn’t matter. The cycle of stuff went on. There were plenty more porcelain fish in the sea.

During the boom, you didn’t hear so much about jumble sales but now the “squeezed middle” are tearing their hair out (and selling it second-hand) with money worries so any sign of a bargain is tracked down, particularly online.

Websites like,, are bulging at the seams with jumble and other people’s stuff. For a slice of life, it’s worth clicking on the ‘Random’ section of these sites and trying to imagine the circumstances that led to the buying and selling of some of the more unusual objects.

There is the “Tarot Card set (78 cards in total). Used once”. What did the owner see the first time they used them? Did they see their own future? Perhaps they saw their past, specifically that time they wasted good money on tarot cards.

A likely lad in the Kildare area is selling a “Blue morph suit.! Think I only wore it twice.” Given that morph suits are generally worn on stag-weekends or watching Ireland getting trounced by Spain, two wears could be two-too many.

There is unintended humour with the offer of a nearly new water-cooler which is said to be “working fine” but its photo shows it to be standing in a field. In an Irish Summer, all water coolers work fine if you put them in a field.

On the next page of ‘random’ objects, I find something that I know will not appeal to a friend of mine. He is from a family steeped in music and one of his pet aneurism-inducing-hates is the sight of a perfectly good bodhrán being abused as an ornament or hit like a drumkit by a boozed-up Ole Ole-er who doesn’t have a clue of how to unlock its secrets. This is not meant to be the bodhrán’s fate. It should be held and operated with skill by a hairy man sitting in a circle of others around a table laden with creamy pints.

What then would he make of the “Original X-fighter Bodhrán from the X-fighters 2007 tour to Mexico city, SLANE CASTLE, Moscow and Madrid. Only taken out of plastic for photos”? Perhaps he may buy it just to rescue it from its awful life, if it’s not too late.

Jumbly websites are also a useful signpost for those who want to know what’s ‘in’ or what’s out. Apologies to all you ‘wacky’ record-breakers out there but the Where’s Wally craze may be on the wane judging by the amount of stripy-jumpers-hats-and-roundy-spectacles combos on offer.

And is a perennial favourite about to fall off his pedestal? Who would be selling a “1 meter tall statue of Saint Anthony”? Perhaps someone who still hadn’t found what they were looking for.

The man trying to offload the adult jumping stunt-stilts attracts a lot of interest from other browsers. Although they would do well to heed the subtle warning in his product description: “Bought for 250 euro almost a year ago, love them but never seem to have an occasion to use them”. I can well believe it. There’s a time and a place for jumping stunt-stilts.

After an hour of browsing I see the perfect deal. “Giant pink vibrating house slipper”. The purchase is annulled almost immediately by my wife.

I spend another hour gazing covetously at the hundreds of other things on offer; the milk churns, the Bacardi-Breezer ornaments, the ‘Hilarious Joke Fake Lottery Scratch-cards’

It seems after previous addictions to Wikipedia, Youtube and Twitter, the second-hand goods sites are ‘the new thing now’.

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