Fashion Shopping for the Reluctant

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

I thought I’d share this piece I wrote for part of my coursework just for something different. I had to choose something I found boring written from someone else’s perspective.

How about we meet up in town for a coffee, Ellie? It’s about time we had a good catch-up. Let’s go to Costa – they make excellent coffee there, and the cakes are delicious. I’ll meet you at 11 am outside Boots.

11 am came, and we met as planned.

Darling! Lovely to see you again; how are you doing? You look a bit tired; too many late nights? Let’s go and queue up at Costa’s – they’re bound to be busy. You grab us a table and park your wheelchair; I’ll get the coffees. What cake would you like? They make a fabulous carrot cake.

Well, that was a perfect cappuccino, and that cake was amazing. Is that the time? I wanted to go to a few shops to look for a dress for the office party. I love shopping for clothes. You don’t mind coming with me, do you? I thought you might like to help me choose. Let’s go to River Island – they sell very stylish things there. They’re a bit expensive, but it’s worth it to get something fashionable, don’t you think? I don’t want to turn up in something boring and old fashioned. Ooh! Look at that dress? It’s down the end of the shop – let’s go and have a look. And, it’s blue, my favourite colour. You don’t mind if I go and try it on, do you? No, I didn’t think you would. I won’t be long; you wait there.

Fifteen minutes later

Oh, I’m sorry I was so long, darling. You should have seen the length of the queue! I decided against that dress; it made me look frumpy. Let’s try somewhere else. We can go to H & M. They’ve got some lovely clothes in there too; they’re very stylish and cheaper than River Island. This is so exciting! Oh, look at that red top over there! I think I like that more than the dress. It’ll go with my new black trousers. I bought them in the sale at Matalan last week. I think they’d look smart together. I’ll just go and try it on. I won’t be long; the queue doesn’t look as long as in the first shop. You wait here.

Four minutes later

Nope – this top isn’t right either; it makes me look too wide around the bust. It’s such a shame; it looked so lovely on the mannequin, too. How about we go to Next? It’s only up the end of the High Street. Come on. Next is a bit pricey, but it is for a special occasion; I don’t mind paying more. Goodness, it’s getting busy everywhere. I suppose lots of people are shopping during their lunch hours. Ooh! Stop a minute. Let’s pop into Primark as we’re passing. Look! They’ve got a beautiful yellow top in the window. That’ll go well with those black trousers too, and it looks so summery. Yes, I know it’s a bit crowded to get your wheelchair through, but I’m sure you don’t mind, do you? I’ll head off to the changing rooms; you catch me up in a minute. Okay?

Ten minutes later

Ellie!? Oh, there you are. Come into the cubicle with me; you can have a proper look. What do you think of this? Don’t you love it? Do you reckon this colour suits me – come on, be honest? Personally, I think it’s my favourite item so far. You wait outside the fitting rooms while I get changed out of it. Why don’t you start queuing up; it’s a long queue? I won’t be long; I’ll be as quick as possible. Save me a place. We won’t have such a long wait to pay that way. Well, that was a bargain, wasn’t it?

Oh, hang on a tic; I’ve just seen a necklace in the window; it’ll go brilliantly with the rest of my outfit, don’t you think? I don’t know why I didn’t see it before. Wait here. I shan’t be long. The queue has died down a bit now.

Twenty-five minutes later.

I’m so sorry, Ellie. Isn’t it typical? I was standing behind this woman in the queue, and as she went to pay, she couldn’t find her credit card. The checkout girl asked if she had any cash or would she like her to put it back for her. She confirmed she had money and got her brown suede purse out of her Marks & Spencer carrier bag. Then, she asked the cashier if she’d mind taking coins as she didn’t have any notes. And then, would you believe it, she emptied her purse and counted out a mixture of pound coins, 50ps and copper and then realised she was short of £3.50! Honestly, you should have seen the checkout girl’s face! I could tell she wasn’t impressed, but she was polite and offered to put the necklace back on the stand after serving the other customers. It was my turn next, and by now, the queue had backed up all the way to the customer service till at the end. That woman got some filthy looks from the people behind her. I’d have been so embarrassed if that were me, wouldn’t you? I hope you didn’t mind waiting for me for so long; I knew you’d understand. Do you fancy another coffee? I’ll put that necklace on, and you can take a photo of me wearing it and then share it on my Facebook page. You don’t mind, do you? Oh, damn, there’s a queue for coffee now. Just our luck! Let’s call it a day! I’m glad you didn’t mind coming with me. I knew you’d enjoy it. We had such fun together, didn’t we?


burning candle

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

I was given a card with this quote on it this morning and it had a strong impact on me. It made me think about light and about how one candle can spread light to another and what effect that can have.

We can all spread a little light – we don’t necessarily have to be believers of faith to do so. The above verse inspired me so much that I decided to go out and spread a little light myself.

As usual, when I came from town, I said my usual ‘good morning’ to strangers passing by and smiled a genuine smile at the faces coming toward me on the path. Some people smiled back or nodded. Others didn’t but that’s ok too. Of course, that’s lovely if they do, that’s a bonus, but the important thing for me was to give out the light that was given to me this morning.

I don’t have a lot of money to spare (If there was some to be had, I could help so many). However, in the absence of gold coins, I decided that I could still give … giving could come in the shape of a kind word; a good deed; a gentle touch on the arm to a troubled man or woman; a tissue to wipe away his or her tears; a chat to a lonely soul … and so much more.

I stopped in the street and spent some time in conversation with an elderly man who was playing accordion in the street. He was playing his heart out but we could just hear one another above the music he was so obviously familiar with.

Then, I passed a tired-looking guy on the street who was obviously homeless. He had a hat in front of him, collecting money. All I could offer was to spend a little time talking to him. He turned out to be a fascinating man – he’d been a driver of a London bus for nearly twenty years. He had some tales to tell that beat any comic-strip you could find in a newspaper!

Just as I was walking toward the bridge, I saw a rough-looking, young man offering hand-made bracelets made from cotton thread. He was sitting making them as people walked by. Some folk stopped and looked; some glanced across at the placard propped up next to him. It read ‘I am no longer homeless. A local man gave me a room in his house but I have nothing to put in it.’ I stood for a few minutes and watched him crafting them and decided to make a small donation in exchange for a beautiful blue and lilac bracelet. He said thank you and I smiled at him and said thank you too.

I decided it was time I started heading home but just had to call in at Tesco’s for some milk. In front of me were bunches of fresh flowers in buckets which were too expensive for me but made me smile, just the same. I headed toward the milk aisle and just happened to come across the ‘bracelet man.’ He had a bottle of cider in his hand and was just picking up a second. I went up to him. We spoke. He looked surprised. I think he expected me to have a go at him for taking money off passers-by and then buying alcohol with it but I’d said, “nice to see you again; hope you have a good rest of the day.”

Why? Because I knew that, I was no-one to judge. I only said, “I understand. I’ve been there – done that – and worn the t-shirt.” I had been in a similar place myself, many years ago. I had my reasons as this man may have also. We should never judge someone until we have walked a mile in their shoes. Whoever you are, wherever you have been, whatever you’ve been through, it’s still possible to spread a little light (and a little love) – you never know where it might travel and who it might touch.


My impulsivity is really bad today and was yesterday but I can’t seem to get it under control. Yesterday, I emailed my son and daughter-in-law for the second time this week pleading to have some contact with my beautiful, one-and-a-half year old granddaughter who doesn’t even know I exist. Then, on the spur of the moment, I phoned both my son and my daughter-in-law and my daughter (all who are absent in my life). It was a nice message, chatty and friendly but begging to see my grandchildren (again). None of them picked up the phone so I just had to leave messages.Today, I received a short, sharp and unpleasant email consisting of one line from my d-i-l and I very obviously am not going to be given the opportunity to meet that little one.That hurts. It really does hurt.

Then I found this image on Facebook which just fitted how I felt and I impulsively put it on my FB Timeline:

the truth is...

Of course, I was referring to access to  my grandchildren (again). Then I panicked in case any of my family saw it and quickly deleted it and hope there was no harm done.

Today, I know I’ve been a real nuisance; phoning my neighbour and cracking a joke (I never do that!!); phoning my mum in the middle of the day when I usually phone in the evening, just to check in with her, and I know she isn’t out anywhere today but she didn’t answer (obviously not a good time to phone). I’ve ordered three pairs of jeans, two Kindle books which I’ll never find time to read (but they sounded good!), two CDs when I’ve got stacks already, yet I choose to play the same one on repeat for about three weeks running before I change it! Plus more purchases (mostly unnecessary) when I’m in debt already!

I am jumpy, trying to do too many things at once because I can’t decide whether ‘this’ is more important than ‘that’ and I want to do both now! I’m trying hard not to impulsively eat everything in the fridge (just because I fancy ‘something nice’). And now I’ve written this and know I won’t be able to not press the publish button I feel I’ve got to. Stop the world, I wanna get off!

it seemed like a good idea at the time



I don’t like basements (or cellars as they’re sometimes called). They’re dark, dank places where bad things happen sometimes. They hold secrets…sometimes for endless years. Our basement in the house we used to live in, housed my father’s darkroom for his photography and he very often used to ask me to accompany him there. He only developed black and white photos then and admittedly i was fascinated by the magical process that turned these negative strips of film into black and white photographs before my very eyes! The problem was, when he took the opportunity to abuse me, knowing no-one would catch him. In addition, the piano teacher i used to have to visit in the evenings, who abused me in a dark room in the basement too. So, i grew up being terrified of basements.


Meanwhile, life resumed as normal with everyone else upstairs chatting and drinking tea. But not me…I was trapped.


The reason why i mention basements is actually linked to my inside people. I’ve spoken of them many times and recently in connection with Baby Emily who was gone from us for so long…six long years and we’d thought, for certain, she had died, and mourned her loss..


In the last couple of days, i’ve told of our reunion with Emily which was joyous. However, she had spent those six long years down in my Father’s basement, lying on the cold stone floor with nothing but a nappy on. She was dormant, not dead (as my therapist explained). What was happening to us was so awful that she, at six months had ‘gone into hibernation’ for want of a better expression. And then this week, when she returned from that awful place, she was cold, only dressed in a nappy, and terrified. But she was a gift to us. Chloe picked her up and gave the biggest hug.


Today was exciting as we went to the shops and bought her a clean white babygrow, pink, lacy socks, a small pink gingham-lined wicker crib for her to rest and sleep in, a small and soft pink blanket, a jar of baby food, a box of Farley’s Rusks. a teddy and some toys. 


We all (except for Gut, who refused) wrote in a pretty card the words ‘WELCOME HOME EMILY JANE’.


So, we should be happy, yes? But despite all the good, we always have this feeling that anything good is going to be followed by something bad. We live in trepidation of the next act of violence, abuse or neglect. Why cant we have some happiness and peace of mind for once? Why does life have to be such a constant battle? Why do evil men do nasty things to little children? Will Emily going into hiding again because now, Gut is the bully. But we watch him like a hawk, us older girls, not trusting him not to hurt Emily.


Why can’t life be a ‘bed of roses‘ for once? Why does our delight in something so good, then turn into something bad. Why did our Mum shout and yell at us so much this evening when we told her about Emily Jane coming home and all the nice things we bought her? Why did she have to ruin our joy? Why can’t the world be a safe place to be born into? Instead it is a lair of nightmares, horrors, pain, suffering and loss, not a bloody bed of roses!


Why are we so angry? Why are we so pissed off? Why do we have to sabotage anything good that comes into our lives? Why are we denied any contentedness? WHY, the fuck, don’t we quit being mad and bugger off up to bed? Why are we losing the plot? Why are we losing the will to live? W…H…Y?