Not quite Mary Poppins

Sometimes you just can’t call people’s reactions, can you?

I mean, their behaviour is right out of proportion to the stimulus offered.

A black plastic slug left carelessly on a half-load of bread in the pantry sent my mother fleeing from the kitchen by the back door.

And yesterday my colleagues at work thought it was wildly amusing, that while fishing in my handbag for a screwdriver, I came up with a bath plug.

I have to admit, I was surprised. I had no idea it was in there.

It’s a shiny chrome B&Q bath plug. It should have been returned to B&Q for a refund some months ago. It’s even got the D link on it so you can attach a chain if necessary. I say if necessary but it’s a bit of a given that if you’ve got a bathplug you’re going to need a chain. It’s causes annoying second degree burns if you’ve filled the bath a bit too hot and you have to grope around in scalding water to release the plug.

To be frank, the bag is a bit too big but it’s pink and it called out to me appealingly as I passed a shop window in Venice. When inanimate objects do that, you have to listen and get them or regret it for the rest of your life. Rather like the Beautiful Shoes.

The bag is made out of a kind of lumpy leather which I thought might be ex-wart hog, which was fine by me because I imagined the wart-hog would have had a pretty good life rootling around in the bush and lying in mud, mud, glorious mud. (Turned out to be ostrich so I just have to hope it had a good time doing an awful lot of heavy-footed sprinting across the open plains before its demise.)

As I had produced the plug, I had to justify having it. Most women, it seems, don’t keep plugs in their handbags.

β€œEr. It’s just for emergencies.”

More laughter and jokes about plug/finger/dyke/womenincomfortableshoes that I won’t repeat here.

I thought the reaction was a bit over the top myself. After all, what’s a handbag for, if not to store essentials to meet life’s eventualities? Mary Poppins (an early role model) had loads of stuff in that carpetbag of hers.

So amid the laughter and ridicule, I didn’t think it was worth mentioning the other stuff in my bag; the mini screwdrivers, the set of allen keys, the camera cables, the phone cable, the emergency apple, the sunglasses, the boiled sweet (to rub on the lips of dogs having a bit of diabetic coma) the diclofenac (don’t tell my doc as he won’t give it any more so it’s just in case), the resus mask and the antihistamine.

I didn’t mention the phone, the perfume, the three sets of keys, the tissues, the two lipsticks, the three notebooks, hairbrush, nailfile, three pens, the Ikea pencil, the purse and ticket to the Tom Jones gig.

I obviously wasn’t going to talk about the lipstick-stained handkerchief, the three scribbled shopping lists, the out-of-date cheque, the Guide to Reims, the ticket to Fagliolini concert at Tewkesbury Abbey, the spare sticking plaster, the Crabhouse Cafe card, the paracetamol tablets, the rabbit umbrella, the small Filofax, the Nivea cream or the biscuit.

Good grief, no. Kept my mouth firmly shut about that lot. Wouldn’t want them thinking I’m some kind of freak, would I?


About janh1

Part-time hedonist.
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26 Responses to Not quite Mary Poppins

  1. Pseu says:

    is that all?

  2. Pseu says:

    what about the camera, pencil case, tape measure, co-op, Tesco and Nectar tockens, note book, Piriton (in an old film case labelled:in case of wasp stings) train timetables, a pair of non-latex gloves, diary, sticky- note pad, sunglasses, keys and mobile phone? Scissors, nail file, sunlotion? Ols shopping lists, penknife, keys? lens cleaning kit, nail scissors and file?

    I keep the screw drivers in the car. I mean – there is a limit….

    • janh1 says:

      Ah non-latex gloves. I need some. You never know when you’ll have to handle something suspect. And you’ve reminded me about my lovely Swiss Army penknife!! Hmmm, I wonder if the boys nicked that?

      • Pseu says:

        mine’s a tiny keyring sized one, with scissors and blade, tweezers etc! Well worth having it attached to keys I find.

      • janh1 says:

        Oh! Found it! In rucksack with compass. Well at least I still have it. Bit of an extra weight in the handbag….what with everything else…

  3. I feel compelled to empty my bag:

    String bag
    Sun glasses
    Bank paying in book
    Purse Dog Handbag hanger (which I’ve never actually used)
    Scratty paper tissue
    Phone hands free kit
    Sunglasses cover
    Metal tape measure
    20p coin given to wish this or a previous handbag luck
    Packet of tissues
    Nail buffer
    Two blank cheques
    Drawing of a bookshelf with measurements
    Another packet of tissues
    A propelling pencil
    Another pen
    Another pen
    My good pen in its case
    A hair band
    Small purse with toothpick, sewing kit and emergency tampon
    Muji box with asperin, ibuprofen and more emergency tampons
    Memory stick
    Another memory stick
    Another scratty tissue
    Winder holder for phone handsfree kit
    Glass nail file
    YSL Touche Γ‰clat
    Another sewing kit
    Retractable blusher brush
    Another hair band
    More lucky money
    Muji box with store loyalty cards
    Business card holder
    Anti bacterial hand gel

    I think I am a mere novice in comparison, but I am grateful to this prompt which has enabled me to find the tape measure and tidy my handbag πŸ˜€

    • janh1 says:

      Brilliant! Have you got an actual carpetbag, then Sophie?

      And is that Touche Eclat any good? πŸ™‚

      • I think it would be fair to say that I tend towards large handbags (maybe 12 x 12) and they weight a lot! However, I thought your bags sounded far more exotically filled πŸ˜€

        I am not a fervent Touche Γ‰clat fan, but I do like it and the tube is a thing of beauty. I am, however, a devoted fan of their Mascara Volume Effect Faux Cils – it works wonders and comes in some beautiful colours!

      • janh1 says:

        That’s *almost* a carpet bag… πŸ˜‰ Good mascara tip, thanks. I don’t tend to buy stupidly expensive stuff unless I’m *sure* its a) going to be good and b) going to last!

      • Another mascara tip: only pull the wand out of the tube, don’t pump it in and out as that introduces more air which dries out the mascara.

        I am a mine of useless information πŸ˜€

      • janh1 says:

        No, no. All appreciated. I used to thin mine out with water to make it last. Bad idea. πŸ˜‰

      • janh1 says:

        Actually i was sorely tempted by the MOST FANTASTIC large Biba bag last Christmas. I was supposed to be buying presents for everyone else but…wow, it was covered in circles of shades of brown leather than reminded me of chocolate buttons and it was one vast bag. And it was Biba. And I was too young for Biba in the 60’s so just the name conjures memories of magazine pics of gorgeous girls with thick eyelashes and cascades of long dark hair sashaying around in psychedelic long dresses… Anyway. I didn’t buy it. It was far too expensive. But I kind of regretted it.

      • 1) If you could see yourself using it on a daily basis for ever and ever, then a splurge is completely justified (in my humble opinion).

        2) Set up a search on EBay and one day somebody will part with one of those bags πŸ˜€

      • janh1 says:

        Hmm. Good point. Well, it was too big for daily basis and I’d never find anything inside it – but it was just a gorgeous thing.. ah well, somehow, just occasionally, common sense does prevail. πŸ˜‰

  4. Pseu says:

    I forgot the salt and pepper ….

  5. Such a lovely bag, Jan πŸ˜€ I always look for a roomy one to hold everything except the kitchen sink. These days my camera bag often doubles as a handbag…you can’t take both….

  6. IsobelandCat says:

    I’ve got money and my passport in mine…

  7. janh1 says:

    Woo! Pretty! πŸ˜€ I suppose one has to wear it around the shops in case it gets nicked. Still, that’s fine. I wore a black and white Brittany garland throughout the stages of the TDF last year…

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