How I discovered that I really, really needed a French handbag in soft black leather....
I didn't know this when I set out for a well-known DIY store this afternoon. I still have a stack of bags no longer needed for work, but somehow they don't really suit my current - well, lifestyle isn't quite the right word here, implying as it does both a life and a style to go with it - method of carting essential belongings about with me when my pockets are full.
I've been making do with a small bag, grossly overstuffed with phone, specs, purse, card wallet, pens, tissues, receipts, gloves, and, naturally, the occasional dog-poo bag (unused). There would have been a zillion other things, ancient and tattered, in there too, but there just wasn't the room. Sometimes I think about unearthing my stash of bags to find one that isn't quite so undersized and overfilled, but so far I haven't quite got round to it. That slack approach has just led to some major expenditure.
Today I went out to buy a nail punch and a small tin of white gloss paint, virtuous thoughts of working in the new shower room foremost in my mind, and a bank balance seriously in need of a rest. I resisted buying plants, a new driver/drill, a bunch of paint tester pots, and forgot that I really needed a yard broom, one with a handle.
Standing patiently in the queue with my two purchases, fumbling ineptly in the tightly-packed handbag for the card wallet, in order to locate the in-store discount card that I can use now that I'm over 60 and if it happens to be a Wednesday, I dropped one thing after another: a glove, the wallet, a tissue, the glove again, and when someone behind me pointed out that I had also dropped an old receipt, I stooped to retrieve it and dropped the tin of paint.
Fast-forward, slightly pink, flustered, apologetic and hot, to the point where the spilled paint had been mopped up (uncomplainingly too), a new tin brought to the till, goods paid for - without the card or discount - and I had got into the car thoroughly harassed with myself. And there, a few hundred yards away was TK Maxx, the bargain-hunter's dream palace.....
So, all thoughts of post-Christmas frugality easily defeated, I bought myself a sensible-sized bag; a black leather grandma's shopper of a bag, a holder of all my essentials and more besides, with handles just the right length.
What else fitted into it very nicely (after I had paid for them, of course: what do you take me for?) were two smart towels and a grey boiled wool jacket. What had to be carried separately was the pretty duvet cover and pillowcase set; after all, I don't want my sensible new bag to look battered before I've even got it home, do I?
Next time I go DIY shopping on a Wednesday, I shall have my discount card safely tucked in the section of the new bag designed expressly for that purpose. It's bound to work out cheaper that way.