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Grumpy Old Bag

A very beautiful model with no name recognitio...
“That’s not a bag. THIS is a bag…”

I have a handbag like a granny. That’s not an obscure sexual innuendo and I’m not referring to the leathery-skin consistency or the mild smell of cat pee of my over-shoulder luggage, I’m referring to the fact that my handbag has, deep within its recesses, every possible item that could come in handy at any given moment, just like good old Granny/Grandma/Nana does.

I am one of those people who has picked up a habit over the years of ensuring that every imaginable catastrophe could be averted using one of the myriad items of flotsam that can be found in my perpetually over-stuffed sack of personal possessions. If you have a nosebleed, I have a tissue, if your shirt rips, I have a sewing kit, if you enter into a diabetic coma or need to feed an anorexic for a week, I have a couple of individually wrapped boiled sweets (sadly not Werthers Originals – that would be truly granny-tastic). I have an umbrella (even in summer), sunglasses (even in winter), a torch, a bottle opener, sticky plasters, a lamp and a potted plant (ok, those last two might be from Mary Poppins). My handbag could give Batman’s utility knickers a run for their money, that’s for sure!

As my handbag is restricted to being of a size that a cart horse would be able to carry, I have had to create static pods of supplementary “handbag” at home and at work. Well, it was either that or convert a small articulated lorry with a shoulder strap. My drawer at work is the place to go should one need a phone charger; Nokia, Blackberry, Apple, I have them all. I haven’t used a Nokia for over 2 years but there it is none-the-less, ready and waiting for a crisis that can only be averted with the use of a fully charged Nokia handset… that I don’t own. My work drawer also serves as host to, among other things, feminine hygiene items, sun lotion, a miniature photo frame (because you never know when Warwick Davis might come round handing out autographs) and a spare toothbrush. There’s barely room for stationary!

As with most grannies, my bag is all too available to anyone who looks like they have a sniffle/flat battery/celebrity dwarf autograph, but somewhere there has to be a line. My handbag, as vast and cavernous as it may seem, does in fact have a bottom. Somewhere, there has to be a limit to how many times it can be called upon to bail people out of lost buttons (stop buying cheap clothes that don’t fit), urgent feminine hygiene requests (come on ladies, it’s hardly a surprise. Remember this time last month?!) and emergency letter-without-a-stamp issues (if it was that urgent, you would use e-mail or buy a stamp from the Post Office where you will inevitably have to go to send the sodding letter anyway).

You may wonder why I am suddenly so irked when it comes to being asked for one of these handy little treats, when I clearly have all these spare wonders just floating about gathering handbag lint, waiting for some Superbag emergency rescue. Well, I shall tell you. They are for me. I know that at some point in my life, I may tear an item of clothing (if you’ve read my post on Underground Fun, you’ll understand how this can be a daily risk). At some point in my life, I’m going to want to post a letter and a stamp would be rather-handy-thank-you-very-much. I also know that my nail might break, my head might hurt, my tights might ladder, my phone might die, my breath my pong and my cigarette might need lighting and for all these occasions, I have a neat handy solution because I put it there!

Those who know me, or who read the sentence above carefully, will have noted that I smoke (and not just when I hold the hairdryer too close on the top setting). I don’t smoke all that much, in fact, I don’t smoke every day (bit of a rubbish smoker by all accounts – not very committed at all). Regardless of the frequency, I still carry a packet of death sticks with me. At. All. Times. Because I might want one. Because I’m a smoker. Make sense?

Why then, do people (always the same ones) who are also smokers, habitually ask me if I can assist them in their quest for a “spare” ciggy. Here’s a clue chum, it’s not spare, I paid for all of them and I intend to use them all too. If you know you might fancy a puff when you’re out imbibing social beverages, then here’s another clue; buy some on your way to the public house!

There really is a point to all my selfish ranting. Firstly because, well, who doesn’t love a good old ranty rant. Secondly, because I also have the callous strength of character to admit that I am, on occasion, a selfish toad and thirdly, I have the flu-aches and reached into my abundantly versatile medical kit of a Tardis-like handbag to find that my emergency packet of painkillers is EMPTY!

*** (For those of you who didn’t spot it, I snuck in a bonus treat on Sunday – I know what you’re thinking. Crazy, right? Not a Wednesday?! She’s living life on the knife-edge of sanity! – so you may want to skip back a post to enjoy it if you haven’t already. Consider it the free toy at the bottom of the cereal box, only less likely to make your offspring choke.) ***

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