Mixing Bowls and Tiger Wellies

It’s that time of year again – the end of season lost property sort out.

If you have ever left something behind at a hostel, you are by no means alone. I’ve done it myself – a lovel­­­­­­­­y big Pyrex mixing bowl at Salcombe Youth Hostel about 30 years ago, and yes, I’m still kicking myself. By the end of the season, we generally have a little collection of items. We do of course attempt to reunite valuable items with their owner. This year we had a little ring, found by a guest in reception. It was not of great value, but on inspection, the sort of thing that might have been given as an engagement ring in the 50s or 60s. We scratched our heads, as nobody had reported it missing and we contacted guests who had left the day before. We assumed that the ones still with us would have asked, but just to be thorough, we did mention it. To the delight of the young owner who had thought it lost on the hill, we were able to reunite her with the 21st birthday present from her mother, her grandmother’s engagement ring.

On another occasion, a guest did report her missing watch, but search high and low, we couldn’t find it.­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ We did keep her details though and months later, a young man staying in a school group unearthed it, squeezed between sections of the bedframe, and the watch was returned unscathed.

We do however, get rather a lot of clothing and random items left in the drying room or down the sides of mattresses and we rely on guests to contact us. If it’s an odd sock or yesterday’s underpants, I’m afraid they are likely to go straight in the bin, but other things are retained in case we are contacted. We are very happy to put them in the mail for you, though we do ask for postage, or we can put them aside for collection on your next visit to the Lakes. We have some splendid yellow tiger wellies to be picked up this week.

And, what happens to the rest of it? Well, we certainly don’t want to add to landfill. About this time of year, when the hostel is quieter and the drying room less busy, I have a good sort through, clean and wash everything and deliver it to the local Oxfam shop for a second lease of life. So, if you have left anything at our hostel, please be assured that at least your unintentional contribution will be appreciated.

I wonder whether that mixing bowl is still in the hostel kitchen at Salcombe and how many cakes, salads, breads, burgers… have been prepared in it over the years. I hope it came to good use.

– Charlie