The Holiday Handbag

I am not a tidy person, I freely admit.  I am curious, amused, vaguely hopeful, when I see advertised something that purports to ‘organise’ something – be it shoes, hairdryers or handbags. I have my (one) hairdryer under complete control, but shoes and handbags occupy my storage like a festival campers – liable to fall out of any tree or hollow. I have never fallen for a handbag organiser. The one I bought for shoes has worked its way into the loft. It was too good at hiding the shoes, and I never wore them.

Looking for my ‘holiday’ handbag, I couldn’t locate it in its regular habitat at the top of the wardrobe. It’s not hard to miss – bright pink,  unlike my sober workaday handbags. Washable, durable enough to cope with airport scanners and being dumped on beaches and poolside bar floors without undue hurt. It has seen me on several excursions holding passports, clean-up wipes and shells, emergency aspirin and sunblock, even the occasional dollop of fromage de chèvre (well-wrapped).  I found other handbags,  devoid of fromage, aspirin or the carapaces of sea creatures. One contained a spare contact lens – a prescription now woefully behind the times – a Phillips screw for some fitting long since fitted, a bright coral lipstick, once in keeping with my perkier image, and a diary of a time when I was a young mum and a school governor – all meeting dates recorded dutifully. It belonged to a different me, one I could not now inhabit. I muse that the handbag has kept its looks – more so than I have, with or without perky coral lipstick!  It was once part of my everyday, fitting over my shoulder, holding all my important and personal worldly goods.  Would it recognise me as its owner – maybe… But I put it back where I found it.

The pink holiday bag was found wrapped in plastic at the back of the drawer under the divan bed. Remarkably well organised for me. My daughter divined this from her understanding of my habits. Perhaps I didn’t recognise myself.


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