24 February, 2013
My tears and anxiety over leaving the old house didn’t last as long as I’d expected. Surprisingly, I was over the horrendous loss of home and hearth a mere 24 hours later. The first house I viewed was great so within ten days we’d moved on, moved in and pretty much unpacked (except for all the stuff we pretended didn’t exist).
The new house happened to be almost exactly the same as the old one, except for a few small differences. Fantastic I thought, we’ll learn to adapt to the changes, but this could be brilliant. And adapt we have. Central heating, an upstairs bathroom – which is heated, a brand new kitchen, tidy low-maintenance garden, double glazing, wooden kitchen floor and beautifully painted, yes I’m coping with the changes. Also, we’re in Witney now instead of being an inconvenient £15 taxi ride home after a night out. Ok, we’ll miss getting cut off by snow and flood water through the year. We’ll miss those AA call-outs when I’d forgot to put petrol in the car before driving home. When I’d have to pretend there was some “unknown” problem with my car. Ok, maybe the breakdown guys pretty much always found me out, but they were very nice about it. The thing with the AA is, if you just act really dumb they totally believe you have an IQ of about 20 and work around you. One time I was taking care of my friend’s car and all I had to do was move it from one driveway to another before she came back from holiday. So the fated evening came when I went to move the car and predictably, it wouldn’t start. She was in the AA so I had to pretend I was her when I called them out. So the breakdown guy arrives, checks the engine and announces to my utter amazement that my car has an immobilizer – situated on the dashboard. What could I say but, “Really, has it?” So the guy just stares at me and says, “What’s the code for it? You need to punch the code in and then your car will start”. So, obviously, like any normal car owner with an immobilizer I replied, “Really, will it?” Now at this point, I think that a normal person might have a teensy weensy intuitive suspicion that I had possibly not driven my car much/ever. But no, the AA man didn’t bat an eyelid when I explained that my er, husband, always er, starts the car for me if I’m going anywhere and that I’d have to, er, call him and ask him for the immobilizer code in order to drive my er, own car off my er, own driveway. Nope, Mr AA though it was completely normal thing to happen – I suspect to a woman. The RAC, on the other hand, are not quite so un-judgemental, understanding or helpful. They chucked me out of the RAC for what? Locking my keys in the car five times in the first month. Unreasonable or what?
The day before I’d left the old house I’d got an unexpected call from “Fearsome Reenie”, my landlord’s right-hand woman. Now, Reenie has evicted tenants at Xmas with newborn babies, so I was rightfully a bit scared to find her on my phone. What’s coming now, I thought. Reenie said “Joe wants to come and see you, to say goodbye, is that ok?” I could hear Joe barking in the background – he doesn’t do phones (and no, he’s not a dog, ok?). “I’d love Joe to come and see me” I said with heartfelt enthusiasm, Reenie laughed. Y’see, Joe was my secret love, you didn’t know about him, in fact, I don’t think anyone knows about me and Joe (ok possibly Reenie). He arrived in my life when I moved into the house and despite grumbling and moaning every time I broke the shower, taps, stair rail, light fittings, cupboard doors, kitchen drawers etc, I was his love and he was mine. He’d sit in my kitchen drinking coffee and shooting the breeze with me about the state of the world (according to the Sun) for an hour or two, before looking at any task he was going to undertake. Then he’d go off to get parts and come back the next day and have another hour or two of coffee with me before he got started. And many a day he’d have a coffee with me before he finished at 3pm. And, in the course of ten years of damage that we inflicted on that house, Joe and I built ourselves quite a friendship. Sure, there was a lot of scorn and deprecating humour on his part (nice), but beyond that Joe and I came to a fine understanding of the world – one we shared. Now on paper there wasn’t much about us that was a match. Bad matches between me and Joe include:
- He was married – to Fearsome Reenie (and still is).
- He had four children all of which are my generation.
- He is interested in the news – whereas, I visit the Daily Mail online (but only to look at the plastic surgery gone-wrong photos).
- I break stuff; he fixes stuff.
And here’s some things you should know about Joe.
- Joe is very honest and has no time for BS. We shared this quality (I like to think). We pretty much agreed on the general state of play of the world (er, it’s full of BS).
- He had a great sense of humour (well, I assumed he was joking when he said those things about me).
- Every year he gave Reenie the same birthday card, when it came down off the mantle piece he’d put it away for the next year. After 40 years he noticed it was getting a bit worn, so he got her a new one as a surprise (a couple of years ago).
- Joe went abroad once and didn’t like it, so he didn’t bother with “abroad” ever again.
- I didn’t think Joe could read (the Sun doesn’t count), but I found out he reads historical novels for pleasure, which I have to say was quite a shock.
- His youngest son died in a car crash at 17. He said they just cried for months; but eventually he found himself laughing about all the wild things his wild child had gotten up to while he’d lived life to the full.
- Joe fixed things, not people, but he always gave great parenting advice.
- If you crossed Joe, he’d never forgive you. He’d speak to you, but he wouldn’t forget it.
So, Joe came over for a last chat round my kitchen table, I interrupted my rubbish attempt at packing-up my rubbish and had coffee with him instead. I have to say, I’ve learned a lot from him over these years, he’s given me a lot of advice – while coarsely laughing in my face. Joe and I both know I’ve left that house a different person from the girl who moved in, and we both know there are a lot of memories I’ll happily leave behind. But you know what? All my memories of Joe are good. As we parted he told me to call him if there is anything I need, anytime. He always had this catchphrase he used to say as a goodbye to me, in his broad Oxfordshire accent. But weirdly, he didn’t say it this time, dunno why not. So when he reached the door I said to him,
“Goodbye my luvvur, I’d best get on.”
29 January, 2013
I’m being kicked out of my home. We’ve done nothing wrong, no rent arrears or anything, but my landlady has given my home to her darling daughter, (Princess) Fiona. Although they own a massive farm, an industrial park, a waste dump and a laundry and at least 15 rental farm cottages, some of which are even empty; (Princess) Fiona decided that she wanted mine. Possibly, it’s in part due to the fact that I’ve repainted it, re-carpeted it and turned a run-down old cottage into a home; one she liked, a lot.
When I got the letter I cried. Then I rang Dolly Fish who is always there for me, as a single parent she can’t afford to go out. She calmed me down. Ok, maybe she didn’t actually make me laugh, not that I’m complaining or anything, but she’s studying comedy at University now and they haven’t got to the “being funny” module yet, so it’s not allowed. They grade them at Comedy Uni like this;
Absolutely Hilarious – (First). Careers include senior management in either the NHS or Local Government and designing high-end fashion.
GSOH – (roughly equates to a 2:1). Career options include; Big Brother contestant, WWE wrestler or Dentist.
Lol – (2:2) Careers include receptionist at a doctor’s surgery, car parking attendant and Jehovah Witness.
Fun! – (Third). Career: Page 3 girl or Christian rock band.
Jim Davidson – (Fail). Graveyard attendant.
The next nightmare on the moving scene was breaking it to the kids. I approached it positively. I explained about (Princess) Fiona and told them that it was nice for her (to steal our home) and we should feel happy when good things happen (even to bad people), cos then it means good things might also happen in our lives. Then I asked them where they wanted to live. We have three choices Witney to the West of us, Eynsham to the East or stay in this village and move three doors down, to one of the houses that wasn’t good enough for (Princess) Fiona. Their answers were as follows:
Asha: “This village”
Dumb question or what?
17 January, 2013
I had one of those dark-night-of-the-soul moments just before Xmas. A personal reckoning where I just couldn’t carry on with my reality as it was. Mine was not an existential crisis, I resolved that nightmare a long, long time ago. It was more about how the hell I was going to carry on surviving with so little coming in. Xmas obviously triggered it, combined with a drop in clients in my business and monthly expenses mounting. I got to a point of sitting on my bed, feeling overwhelmed and just praying, yeah, really praying for help. And you know what? A miracle happened, right there and then. The answer popped into my head, out-of-the-blue, I found a solution, something I’d never thought of. The universe in its infinite knowledge wafted simple wisdom my way. “Get a job”, it said. Awesome.
Right there and then I looked online and found a couple of term time jobs in schools I could do. One was as a School Administrator, £28,000 pa. Something I could do; I was once a Bursar at a Graduate Studies Centre in Oxford. Impressive eh? The thing is, that truth-be-told, I was a pretty rubbish Bursar (I will obviously delete this bit if I ever need that on my CV). So, while I could apply for it and probably get an interview. With my gift-of-the-gab (Irish ancestors), I could possibly even get it. I knew in my heart-of-hearts that I’d hate it. I’d be working long hours, traveling 15 miles each way and struggling to fit my children in around it. Then I came across another one, as a Teaching Assistant (TA) in the village primary school next to mine. It was only part time, two and a half days a week. A short contract, till July, so I could try it out and see if I was good at it. I asked my kids what the most important quality was in a TA, they were unanimous, a good sense of humour. I considered myself a perfect match (I don’t care what you think). It was my perfect job, perfect location and hours. The universe had sent me something, thank god, the job was mine.
So, I was a bit disappointed when I didn’t get an interview.
Then I looked at cleaning. The thing with cleaning is that I’m not actually all that good at it. I wish I had a cleaner, in fact, I’d clean other people’s house to earn enough money to pay for my own cleaner. Yes, it sounded good on paper but I don’t see mess like other people do – as a problem. I see it as part of the structure of the house, like the colour of the walls. I know you can change the colour, but it requires a lot of effort and work to do it. Similarly, I know you can change the fact that you trip over 10 pairs of shoes in the hall, I’m just not ready to invest that kind of time to resolve it right now. Yeah, I’ve done it in the past, spent 30 whole seconds throwing them back in the shoe basket, but they don’t stay there. When I’ve come home the very same evening, there they are again, all over the floor.
In the end I turned the problem on its head and found a way forward. Yes, I’ll keep looking for a job, but I did this amazing thing and I think it’s going to work for me. I wrote down all the bills and added them up. Then I wrote down all the income and added it up. Then I worked out what I needed for petrol and food and junky stuff. You’ll never guess what, I had enough money coming in! How shocking is that?
So, then I had to find out why I haven’t had enough money coming in for so long. As I scanned my bank statement, I couldn’t help but notice the number of times “Debit card purchase” appeared on it. Ok, not for large amounts, honestly, just a couple of quid, here and there, but funnily enough, those few quid add up – who knew?
Then I thought about my lifestyle. I work sporadic hours in Witney, which means I’m often in town and with school runs etc, I often have a spare 40 minutes or so, to spend mooching around. Or, I go for a walk at Blenheim Palace and finish up in Woodstock. Let’s say I buy a coffee or a cheap sandwich or something from a charity shop, then I’ve quite innocently spent £6. Times that by the 25 days working days of the month and it’s getting on for £150, with no real need at all. That’s a lot. That’s the hidden cost of being at home, if you’re in work all day, you don’t have the same access to all those little purchases. Maybe you buy something bigger at the weekends, but I think we consider those larger purchases, where the small ones just slip out of our bank accounts, under the radar.
An average trendy coffee shop makes about £3,000 a day. Amazing isn’t it? I mean there used to be one coffee shop in Witney a few years ago. I remember taking a friend there and her laughing at its hard wooden dining chairs, it was a café not a “coffee shop”. In the past two years the market for designer coffee has grown exponentially here and across the UK. We now have Costa and Café Nero, both bursting with relaxed chatty caffeine-fuelled customers. Plus four independent ones, that’s not counting the likes of M&S opening them instore and various pubs also selling posh overpriced coffee. This is big business and it is an entirely created need.
They used to run a coffee shop in the Church on the corner. I went in there once with the kids, I couldn’t face dragging them back across town to Costa. I remember watching a disabled woman on sticks walk up to the door, when we got there behind her, she held it open for us. Sweet eh? The coffee shop was in the church hall, square formica tables with table cloths, laid out with little flower arrangements on each one. There were even some toys out for the children to play with. The other customers were older, some disabled, some disenfranchised and those ever-so-kind churchy ladies bustling about. I remember I ordered 1 coffee, 3 juices and 3 large slices of sponge cake. I handed my tenner over and there was a flurry of anxiety behind the tea hatch, as two grey haired ladies looked in the pale green saucer they called the “till”.
“We really sorry, but we don’t have nine pounds in change”, they said.
Ten seconds later, when my mind had processed I was being charged £1 for all that, I offered to leave and get change to pay them. By this time though, the kids were halfway through their cakes and starting to bicker over who was going on the ride-on tractor first. It wasn’t going to be easy to get out.
“Don’t worry, bring it next time.” They said.
As I turned to sit down, still incredulous that I could get all the free cake I wanted, so long as I never came back. I realized that the disabled woman on sticks was still waiting patiently behind me. And when she paid for her cup of tea, she handed over an extra pound and paid for our coffee and cakes too.
You know, that never happened to me in Costa.
16 January, 2013
I’ve forgiven you, Mr Ex, for your abandonment. It’s ok, you went and we are both happier that way.
I’ve forgiven you for not caring when I was pregnant with your third child. Others were there with support and real love.
I’ve forgiven the time I asked you for £20 a week for food for me and the children, you couldn’t afford it. Someone else stepped in and saved me from the abyss.
Ha, or that time when I was in labour and asked you to collect the kids. Remember? You said no, cos you were going out with your girlfriend that night. It’s ok, I’m not holding on to that one, water under the bridge now.
It doesn’t matter to me that you left with thousands of pounds of debt, which I’ve managed to slowly clear over the years, even though you were working and I wasn’t. It’s ok, life’s not about the money.
That you lied to the Child Support Agency and paid £7 a week for your three children. You spent more on coffee on your way to work. But it’s ok, I really don’t care anymore.
That you’ve broken Sami’s heart so many hurtful times, I’ve picked up the tearful pieces and repaired his love for you. He’s ok, a deeper, more thoughtful person for it. I understand you’ll never know what you’ve done to him.
That you didn’t watch our 2 year old on the riverboat and took the kids to drug fueled parties. It’s ok, guardian angels were on hand to tell me what was going on, I was lucky. I accept that part of you that thinks that’s ok.
I accept that you side against the children with Mrs Ex., instead of protecting them from her bias opinions. I forgive you, you have a relationship to manage, it’s ok.
But, Mr Ex, I had only the one thing left. You’re tearing it to pieces, deliberately. There’s nothing I can do to stop it.
Reputation; just another attachment – one I didn’t even realize I had.
I forgive you for bringing me back to the sad, angry place.
Only I can set myself free.
“If we took a holiday, just one day out of time, it would be, it would be so fine.” (It’s just the other 69 days of school holidays that are the problem)
5 January, 2013
I live in a rural community, a small village with no street lights. It’s surrounded by fields which are sowed and ploughed each year, by one of the three farmers who own all the land as far as the eye can see. We watch the fields change throughout the seasons; the tractors ploughing, watching new plants appear in spring wondering what’s coming this year. It changes see, each year the fields are a different colour, I think it’s called crop rotation (but stop me if I’m getting too technical, ok). Some years, we have masses of bright red poppies in golden corn fields, or vivid yellow oil seed rape, another year it’s green stuff that’s a magnet for swans. Then in the late summer the combine harvesters drone all night, bringing in both the harvest and a bout angry monster nightmares for the children.
We go out and watch the combines sometimes, it’s a messy old business, but it’s efficient. Not like the weeks of back breaking labour it must have taken in the good-ole-days. This mechanisation has caused a redundancy amongst in the relationship between farmer and village. We don’t help him with his harvest, he doesn’t sell produce locally, I barely know the three who farm around my village. There is no Cider With Rosie round here. Gone are the days of kids with (hopefully blunt) scythes, gathering the hay into bales, snogging under the horse-drawn cart. And this naturally begs the question; if they’re not off school for the whole summer to bring in the harvest/snogging under the cart; then why exactly are they off school for so long? The only reasons I can think of are;
- Keeping Thomas Cook in business with ridiculously inflated prices during the holidays.
- Stopping women getting decent paid jobs because no-one on a normal wage can afford 70 days of childcare a year.
School’s-out-for-summer once meant that work experience began and the children contributed to the economy. Ok, I’m not really saying you should put your children to work in the fields, or up a chimney, (although if they really want to do it and they’re seem naturally good at it, who am I to tell you to hold them back in life?).
Not all children are ready to drive combine harvesters.
The issue of trying to fit in work around school holidays is one that has failed to be addressed by any political party. The women I’ve spoken to about this, (in my research to find a way to work more than my sporadic self-employment) all seem to rely on a bit of childcare and a lot of family support. But, this is not an option for all of us. I, like many, don’t have family to ask and although I can ask friends, there are only so many times you can expect someone to happily have your three children all day. I’ve been self employed for about 4 years now and with the recession my work has reduced considerably. With my youngest now in school (phew), I could get a part time job, except covering the school holidays. Childcare is a problem, the problem being that the cheapest childcare starts at £3.50 per kid, per hour. I’ve got three of them, so I’m looking at spending £10.50 an hour to go to work. Ok, there are tax credit incentives to help with this, but many single parents really do find that the more hours they work, the worse off they are.
The big issue here is that as an economical entity, can Britain afford to support the massive amount of single parents on benefits? It doesn’t make sense to structure our country’s economy around school holidays for the sake of, well what? Teaching unions? The UK currently has 2 million single parent families, really, shouldn’t we be trying to address their return to work in a more practical way? We often hear talk about part time work for mothers, but the issue is not part time, many of us can manage that on a daily basis. The issue is finding a job with 70 days holiday a year.
School holidays are determined by the Local Education Authority (LEA) for Community and Community Funded schools and set by the school governors for Aided and Foundation schools. Schools are required to teach a minimum 190 days per year, offering 2 sessions a day. There are guidelines on the number of hours of teaching per week (21 to 24) depending on the age of the children. But, interestingly, there is no maximum number of days they are allowed to teach, this is determined by the contracts between the schools and teachers. Overseen by the big daddy, teaching unions.
The new kid on the block of hope with all this is Free Schools. These school are a government initiative to support the setting up of independently managed state schools They are run by charitable organisations and do not have to follow the National Curriculem, there are currently 79 of them open in the UK. Many are faith based schools, such as the Avanti (hindu) school in Harrow, the largest of the free schools in the UK. Many of them are also under-subscribed. Currently, all of the free schools operate conventional holiday term dates. But do these schools spell out some hope for a re-organisation of holidays for the struggling millions of parents trying to make a living? Will they be the forerunners in a re-organisation of school holidays that will enable many single parents to return to workable hours on even a part time basis? Possibly, but there are other things the Free Schools bring to UK education. One of the more worrying aspects is The Department of Education (DoE) allowing them to employ unqualified teachers without an open application procedure. Their website says:
“Free schools do not have to employ teachers with Qualified Teacher Status (although certain specialist posts will still require QTS). Instead, Free Schools have the freedom to appoint the people they believe are best equipped to deliver their unique educational vision, for example an experienced instructor or lecturer from a further education institution. Ensuring the highest quality of teaching is paramount to the success of each school.”
Interesting, isn’t it? Free Schools’ teachers operate on the self-belief of their capability in teaching, rather than specific qualifications. I wonder if this system that will in time be a precedent to the other struggling government departments (other than MPs, where it already openly operates). Will we have Free Hospitals, where people who believe they can operate perform surgery on brain tumours? Or, perhaps we’ll have self appointed Free RAF pilots who, having done karaoke to R. Kelly a few too many times, believe they can fly. Sort of like an employment based X-factor, but without tedious auditions.
Another aspect of education they’re allowed to take less literally, is with staff contracts, again the D.o.E website explains:
“One of the additional freedoms enjoyed by Academies and Free Schools is the ability to set their own terms and conditions for staff. The Free School’s Academy Trust will be responsible for employer and employee pension contributions, and for administrative matters relating to pension provision for all staff employed by the Free School.”
If that isn’t a direct hit in the eye against Teaching Unions, then I don’t know what is.
Despite the many short comings of the Free School system, the fact remains that we have arranged our economy around un-workable term dates and this means we perpetuate the benefit-dependent, single parent population. It’s not true that single parents don’t want to work; people who say this have probably never raised children alone – so they have no idea how appealing it sounds to spend all day with adults. Probably, in the same way, staying home with children, sounds really homey and loving (instead of shouty and tantrumy). Few people prefer to raise their children on the poverty line, when additional earned income might offer them so much more.
There are no immediate or easy solutions to this, but it’s interesting that those expensively equipped educational buildings, our state funded schools, sit idle and empty for 175 days per annum, almost half a year. Surely, there must be something we can do with them?
28 December, 2012
Earth Mother flew off to Bali this Xmas, so for the first time in years, I realised it was me cooking the big lunch. I did a Sainsburys run on the 20th and bought the frozen veggie stuff I can’t get elsewhere. Upon entering, I realised my error, the check-out queues were 3 miles long, so I grabbed the little bits I needed and promised myself I’d finish the rest in Tesco Express (which I did – empty of people and full of food). My hot tip for getting out of the supermarket quickly at Xmas is, simply drag your bulging trolley towards the 10 items or less queue and divide your load up into individual baskets on the conveyor belt. There are no supermarket laws about how many baskets you can pay for in this line – so long as each one stays within the 10 item limit. Simple. (Expect to be attacked by the person queuing behind you when you get to the car park though).
Some supermarkets provide covered parking, ideal for rainy winter days.
This year, Mr Ex and I worked it so that he had the kids from 10 till 2pm on Xmas day and I had them basically the rest of the holiday. This meant that after they’d woken up, opened all their presents, gone mad on chocolate, they disappeared. So, my friend Sri, my mum and I all went for a lie down, just in case we were doing-too-much. Then I got up and started cooking without anyone hassling me about who’s had more chocolate off the tree, or whose go it was on the Scalectrix. Yep, Mum and Sri played really nicely after a little nap.
So it turned out to be a good one. The kids loved their presents. Afforded with some clever charity shopping, a bit of ebay and a generous refund from Southern Electricity -who I’d overpaid by several hundred pounds. Ah, isn’t it funny how those “estimated” bills work out so well in their favour? Sami got a sledge which he slept with (hey, he’s only ten). Amba got a second hand ipod which cost £20 and she sang her heart out, like living a day in the X-factor auditions. Asha got micro-scalectrix, which they all loved. They built an epic series of ramps by using the various remote controls, boxes and general stuff lying around the living room together. UF and Kat, who’d blown in from New York, were taught a lesson in speed that they won’t forget in a hurry.
If we were a typical American TV family I would be expecting that either, Mr Ex and I would finally realise that we can’t live without each other and be reconciling. Or, the kids would realise that their step mom had their best interests at heart all along and we’d all spend Xmas lovingly together. Happily for me, neither of these scenarios came true, but I did have a little miracle of my own. Mr Ex, bought me a present from the children this year. Shocking but true; having ignored me for some time, bringing them home on days like my birthday and Mother’s Day without even a folder bit of paper with “Mummy” on it, I was certainly awe-struck to hear this generous news. Wide-eyed, Amba confided that he’d spent “seven pounds” on me this year, so I’d better get him something amazing in return. (She also mentioned that he had specified “no liquorice”, fussy eh?). So our haul of riches for him began with a very expensive packet of Guiness crisps (£2.87), Sami chose these. Amba got him a set of chutneys from Cargo (half price but I didn’t tell her, £3) and Asha chose him an ex-library book (20p) about South African freedom fighters which he’d really like (because he fantasises that he was one, even though he was posh white boy in a Surrey boarding school at the time). I also suggested that the kids get their Stepmum and her kids presents; they mentioned this to Mr Ex, who told them I should buy them myself, so I did.
There were two reasons for this. Firstly, because they go to her house every Friday, which I really do appreciate. (It’s technically called “their” house, but we all know he only has lodger’s rights). Secondly, she’s been, what I can only describe as, a “fairytale stepmother” to them recently. I thought I’d tackle the problem with a bit of lurve (for now anyway). The kids discussed it and chose her some organic chocolates. Nice.
Initially, the kids loved visiting their stepmother’s house.
I received a box of fresh macaroons which had sat under the warm Xmas tree for a couple of days. Amba recommended the sooner I ate them the better. We had our annual traditions such as showing up at the village carol service embarrassingly late on Xmas eve, and playing “losing-the-money-Sakti-has-sent-us” on Xmas day. This year, Sakti excelled herself, we didn’t located it until 27th, thus setting a new family record; a perfect end to an Olympian year.
The other great present was a “Now, That’s What I (don’t) Call Music” cd which Mr Ex bought the kids. Unfortunately, by Boxing Day someone had removed the power cable from the cd player (and hidden it in the kitchen), so the kids spent a few days, sitting in my car playing it at top volume, sharing their festive joy with our retired neighbours.
After Xmas I asked them if Mrs Ex had liked their present. Unbelievably, they shook their innocent little heads at me.
“No?”, I cried.
“No”, they replied, “She didn’t.”
I looked down at my three angels, so, so, brave – even when faced with so much rejection.
“Y’see, she hates chocolate and we didn’t want to get her anything she liked. So it was perfect.” They eagerly explained.
Their little faces beamed up at me, bright with Xmas spirit.
17 December, 2012
The inverse Law of Common Sense for handbags is:
The bigger the price of the bag, the smaller the size of the brain.
Or, the proportionate relationship can be expressed as:
As the price of the bag increases, so the distance between the buyer and reality also increases
The only exception to this rule is the woman who walked out of the Ralph Lauren store in New York, with a $25,000 handbag on her arm; without paying for it. Obviously, I’m not condoning stealing in anyway (er?). But, I just gotta love her nerve, for sticking a bag worth $25,000 on her arm, shoving her chewing gum and a spare hanky in it and walking out the door. I know I should write about the morality of stealing, the effect of bad karma (blah blah boring blah), but honestly, it really makes me laugh. Personally, if I were to steal something, (which I’m not going to), it certainly wouldn’t be a designer handbag. I’d probably go for an aeroplane, which I would then smash to pieces on take-off (I can’t fly). I mean I could also hold a pilot hostage to fly me away, but there would probably come a point when I’d have to “end” him, so he didn’t tip the police off about my identity and secret hideout. Unless, of course we flew to an unknown island where he went from hating me, to a Stockholm syndrome type love with him totally understanding where I’m coming from (Stansted). Then he and I would use trickery and hi-jinks to steal planes from all over the world (except from Ryan Air – cos even thieves have standards y’know). In time, we’d become legendary pirates of the sky and by using one of those things that blows white smoke out of a plane’s bum and we’d fly high above the cops writing clever clues about our next heist in sky-smoke.
Together, we overcame his dyslexia
Until one day, through an error based on an act of chivalry, like helping an old lady cross the Atlantic, my pilot partner would be unfairly snared by Interpol and led into murderous trap by the “authorities”. At this point my whole world would fall apart. I would attend his funeral (in disguise) and get caught and imprisoned for 10,000 years for my life of crime. Prison would only become bearable when I found out I was carrying his unborn child. This would renew my inner strength, I would start to fight for the freedom of his child and, against all the odds, eventually win. Otherwise, I’d probably steal a staple gun. I’ve always really wanted one and I just can’t bring myself to part with £29 to have one. I know I’m only going to use it for two days – till the novelty wears off. Then I’m going to spend two years pulling half staples out of everything in my house. Also, I’d do a lot less time for a staple gun, than for a series of plane-jackings.
So, back to handbags. If petty criminals stopped reading the Sun and instead had their full-english reading a fancy magazine where the women actually had clothes on; they might pick up on the fact that it’s the bag, not the contents, that’s really on-the-money these days. Take this one (no, don’t I mean it literally, I am not teaching you to steal). So how much do you think this is worth?
Or, (here comes a teensy clue) d) £42,000?
If you guess it right you can win it, just pop down the Louis Vuitton Store in Sloane Square and collect it yourself from off the stand at the front, er, try not to let anyone see you.
I did some research on handbags and the women with the most expensive handbags are the Welsh, followed by Londoners. Now, I for one, find this a little hard to believe. I mean, it’s not like Wales is rammed full of high earning, power dressing, Sex and the City type women. I’ve been on holiday to Wales loads of times and I don’t remember passing the Lanvin store in Llandudno or the Chloe shop in Conway (oh, unless it’s an outlet). Maybe, there is Mulberry flagship in the Mumbles, or, perhaps the insurance industry should just ask for receipts when claims are submitted. Insurers, Cornhill Direct, have issued these important tips for minimizing loss if your handbag is stolen.
“Cornhill listed other items that can increase the value of a handbag, such as a purse, diary and an umbrella.”
Got that? If you have an expensive handbag, for god’s sake, don’t put your purse, diary or brolly in it. Instead, always transport important items you don’t want to lose in a plastic carrier bag. Yes, it may cost you another 5p, but c’mon, you’re worth it.