I have just been reading the lovely exmoorjane's blog about her handbag - wonderfully revealing about her and leading to a whole series of blogs by all the other people who have opened up their bags too. I have just bought a new bag which is quite a rare occurence for me so I might be prepared to share it before it fills with crumbs and old biros.
My new bag is not an expensive one. I don't think I could bring myself to spend a lot of money on a handbag and I get really uncomfortable when I see some of the heavily quilted and chained designer bags around, clanking with excess. They just look horrible to me. There are some really beautiful designer bags like those made by Mulberry which I sort of admire from afar. I do love the way they look but I would never buy one. There would be a little voice pointing out to me that I could buy a small car for the money, a pretty rubbish car maybe, but still something with four wheels and an engine that could take you places. I don't know what that says about me - that I could never afford good cars?
So this bag is from Accessorize and it cost about £30. It is a vibrant dark turquoise with the same colour lining. It can't be leather for that price can it? For years at work I had black leather bags that went with work suits and oozed discreet competence. The fact that this one is a lovely bright colour just makes me smile. It has two pockets on the outside, one zipped and one open. In the open one is a pair of black knitted gloves. I might get carried away and buy a pair of burnt orange leather gloves if I can find some that are not too expensive, or I might just not bother. In the zipped pocket are various business cards that I can't quite bring myself to throw away but never look at.
Inside the bag is a pocket for my mobile phone. I try to put my phone in this pocket but every now and then I will just chuck it into the depths of the bag and the phone will go to voicemail yet again while I am still searching and scrabbling and totally failing to find it. There is also a pocket for my keys, oddly, reliably in use. On the other side is a zipped pocket which holds a lipsyl, a L'Oreal mascara and a Bobby Brown foundation stick. When I was at work I carried a lipstick too. I junked that when I left but I can't manage without mascara. I even took it with me when I walked the Offa's Dyke Path. You will know that I am on my way out when I stop wearing mascara.
In the body of the bag is my purse, quite accidentally the same colour as the bag at the moment. I am not naturally inclined to colour co-ordination The purse is full of cards and credit card slips. Every now and then I throw all sorts of things away and at the same time I will take all the five pence coins out of the change purse. My husband accumulates change in little pots around the house. My contribution is only ever five pence pieces. They are just too small, too fiddly. They just get in the way.
There will be a hairbrush knocking around in the bottom of the bag somewhere, the same one as I have had for about ten years. Every now and then I buy another one thinking I should upgrade but it is never as good as the old faithful so I find myself cleaning it up yet again and reinstating it, feeling faintly embarrassed that it looks a bit shabby but keeping it just the same.
I had a lovely new camera for Christmas and now that is in my bag too. On good days I even remember it is there. It is so little and light I can slip it into my pocket. That is what works best, when I wander around the garden with my camera in my pocket. When I am actually out and about with my handbag I am so unused to the idea of having a camera that I do not respond by whipping it out at every opportunity. I should. Maybe I should write "camera" on the back of my hand so I don't forget.
There is an aged Ipaq in there too. It is teetering on the brink of uselessness - quite likely to lose its battery all of a sudden or to refuse to turn the backlight on so that no amount of taking it to the window and peering at it will reveal what I am supposed to be doing on any particular day. Just as well it is mostly nothing. Just when I have decided that it is so hopeless that I must take the plunge and buy some sort of replacement (but what kind? aargh, too much choice, too many opportunities for getting it wrong, why don't I stick with a diary but then I can't synchronise it with my laptop, oh no, hate it, hate it) it starts working again and I forgive it. Its days are numbered really, but it looks nice.
There is often a book, at the moment "How green are my wellies?" lent to me by younger daughter. It is by Anna Shepard and is a great, often funny, sometimes serious but never worthy, stylish and very well written book about living with an eye to environmental concerns. I like it very much. I used to read novels by the shedload but somehow over the last few years I have gently drifted away from fiction. When I do read a really good novel again I am transfixed and have to stay up all night to get to the end but I really like something I can pick up and put down and read in snatches while still feeling totally engaged and this book fits the bill all round.
When there isn't a book there might be my knitting. I'm not sure how long this new passion for knitting will last when the gardening season really kicks in. Today when I got back from London there were a couple of hours of almost warmth when I wandered about and cut things back and dug up the hated creeping buttercup and discovered some forgotten bags of leafmould. I could feel myself vibrating with the urge to sow and plant things but by four o' clock it was cold as cold again. While there is a need to sit by the fire I suspect I shall still be knitting, and maybe beyond, and the lovely thing about having my knitting in my bag is that I can knit in carparks, on trains, waiting for people, listening to the radio. I probably can't knit while driving, sadly.
That's about it. Oh there are biros. Just now there are two biros but much the most normal scenario is either none at all and frantic searching and cursing, or ten banging up against each other and none anywhere else in the house. Sometimes there is a notebook too but my current favourite has handmade paper and is too big for a bag. Smaller, scruffier ones are better.
Because the bag is new there are no biscuits, no crumbs, no old shopping lists - yet.
I like it. I like it very much.