SWB on Second Hand September

I’m worried that I’m driving everyone nuts on Instagram chuntering on about Second hand September. You see, I just love it. I think it’s flipping brilliant. Now, I’m no cheap-skate, so don’t ever confuse my lack of enthusiasm for spending money on clothes with an aversion to spending money in general. There’s few people I loathe more than a tight-fisted fecker.  However, I do object to shelling out fifty quid on a top from a High Street chain that has cost pence to make in Bangladesh because they’re paying their workers a pittance in some shithole of a factory that collapse around them with the merest hint of an earth tremor.

Feck that.

Nor am I some kind of anti-new zealot. I do sometimes buy new, and trust me, if you were afflicted with my feet, you would too. I am woefully flat of foot and have the beginnings of a bunion. It is a terrible and painful state of affairs, for my wallet as well as my feet. But, thanks to God above I have discovered Campers, and I am never going back. Ever. They suit the shape of my deformed toes and I reckon that any shoes that don’t torture my tooties are worth it. So yes, I do buy new, when I have to.

But one of the best things about a pre-loved item, is that my friends know that I have no shame and regularly heave me a bag of garments to plunder through. There are few activities I enjoy more, truth be told. Most recently my pals Louise and Brenda transformed my back-to-work wardrobe when I got a call to start teaching again in September. The whole lockdown experience had quashed any creativity I had left for knowing what to put on me. Not a notion did I have, and everything I owned appeared to be blue. Navy blue, duck-egg blue, royal blue. I feared I was going to rock up at the school looking like the blue section of the Dulux brochure. So when they arrived with jackets of mustard and cerise and patterned dresses that my tiny addled brain couldn’t contemplate, they injected some colour and vivacity back into my wardrobe. It was all very jolly and cheered me up of a morning.

I also love it when people see me and they say ‘I know that dress!’ and are all chuffed to see it getting another airing. And I love having money left over at the end of the month so I can pay for a room in The Sandhouse in Rossnowlagh. How much better to spend the cash looking at the incoming tide and making those memories to carry us through the winter (which, according to the news earlier, may be a bit shite).

But with my enthusiasm for the second hand, I don’t want people to feel like they’re being judged. At the beginning of the month I went out for dinner with my friends and one of them had recently denied herself a new frock f because she feared I’d be affronted. ‘Not a bit of it,’ I said. I think it’s an opportunity just to shop a bit less and to make more considered purchases. I used to shop all round me just for the hell of it and I don’t do that anymore. I shop less and tend to put more on the items I decide to buy.

I’m actually a bit sad now that September is coming to a close. It gave me a wee thrill, sharing pictures on Instagram and keeping in touch with some friends when meeting up in person hasn’t been an option. It’s been a distraction from everything- a bit of much needed frivolity, and f**k knows we could do all do with that right now. So if you do see me posting my attempts at second-hand chic well into October, then just humour me.

 

SWB on Post-Lockdown Life

Well, how the heck is everyone? F**king awful, if you’re anything like me. The sunshine has finally arrived, and am I get a second to enjoy it? Of course not. I got the dreaded call to go back to work, and no easy transition was that, I can tell you.

I had aspirations of resting myself for a while, after the combined horrors of teaching online and home-schooling. I think I’m still suffering from PTSD, with early stages of cirrhosis of the liver too, no doubt. But didn’t the phone go at the end of August, with a man looking for someone to teach youngsters English in a local school.  How LSB’s eyes lit up upon hearing that news. Frankly, I think he wanted me out of the house but he claims that necessity simply dictated that I should go. Stony broke we almost are, after  staying in that f**king eco-cabin in Donegal and now back home, we’re forking out for all manner of activities so our children grow up to be well-rounded individuals. I’ll tell you who’s NOT well-rounded, nor well-rested either at the moment, and that’s me. More fried than a Glaswegian Mars Bar that’s had a double dip, that’s what I am.

Have you ever clapped eyes on those ‘Hama Beads’ that my children express a fondness for? Bastard things altogether: a million tiny pieces of plastic that get spilt over the floor and press into the soles of your feet when you’re trying to do your yoga. Well, imagine that a large tub of these has been upset over your carpet and you are trying to scootch them all up. That’s what it’s like when I try to write anything presently. The synapses just aren’t firing as there is too much afoot.

Teaching used to be trying enough, but as you can imagine with all this Covid shite, the stress has been upped significantly. Used to be you could sit in your room, waiting for your class to trot in. Instead, I am looking every bit the bewildered substitute teacher, as I shuttle around the building searching for rooms and attempting to follow the one-way system. I keep forgetting my mask and have to keep racing back to find it. Then it’s into the room and logging on and futtering about with a computer. Just getting the class started at all is a miracle.

So that’s school. Then there’s home, when I’m ever actually in it and not taxi-ing weans hither and thither. And no sooner are they dealt with, than there’s an animal annoying me to be walked or fed or removed from a clean pile of laundry. Speaking of wildlife, guess what befell me this VERY evening. I was perched upon the sofa, writing my blog for the first time in 3 weeks when The Small Child appeared at my shoulder. ‘I’m very sorry to interrupt you,’ she began, ‘But we are going to have to bath the dog.’

They often suggest bathing the dog, just as a fun activity, and I ignore them. I could tell by her tone, however, that this wasn’t just a notion. ‘She has rolled in dog dirt,’ went on the child. ‘And it is all over her neck. It smells really bad.’

Well that was the end of my peaceful half hour. Up I had to get, run the bath and lift said greyhound in, trying not to get smeared in shite in the process. Raging she was about it too. ‘Well that makes two of us,’ I told her, as I lathered doggy shampoo into the offending area.

So there you are. Not much writing has been done, of late, and tonight’s escapades should give you an idea what the tempo of life has been like. So to any one of you out there, who is currently working full-time and managing not to throttle those closest to them, fair play to you. I mean, I was stressed BEFORE I went back to work and now I’m just hoping I don’t give myself a hernia. Any tips, you know which way to send them.