Thursday, 1 November 2007

New, improved Grit. Part 1

It is Grit's Big Day. Today I'm going to be told by an expert how to dress, so that I don't look like a lumpen mound of wool and hedge clippings.

Let's face it Grit, I say as I stare into the mirror before I go, leg warmers went out in 1982 and we don't want them round here anymore. Ditto the string and knitted jumper that makes me look like a bag lady from a Hyde Park bench. And the old knee-length coat where the pocket linings have crumbled. Every time I reach in to retrieve a handkerchief I have to fumble about the hems. It looks like I am checking whether I've soiled myself again. That, or I may be sexually frustrated and need to feel my own knees. Either way, fumbling about my nether regions while my arms have disappeared and I am bent double in a yoga position is not a good look outside the public library when my nose is running.

I've decided that as far as clothes go, one of my problems is that everything comes from the charity shops. Every item has been pre-worn and pre-discarded, usually for a pretty good reason, which I don't find out until first wear. Now sometimes I get lucky. Take one Monsoon skirt at £3, one Boden cardy at £1 and one Per Una top at 50p from the RSPCA. But these are the exceptions. Mostly I wear junk. I wear anything loose, floppy, torn, stained and baggy. Partly because it saves me the time of tearing, soiling and spoiling any garment I own, and partly because anything baggy or binned is unlikely to cost me more than £3 an item.

Which leads to my second problem. This is a problem, like most mothers, with priorities. £17.50 for a furry pink hippopotamus from the gift shop at the safari park? It's a bargain. Shark has smiled at it in delight and clutched it to her like a conjoined twin. £2.50 for a new top in Mark One? You must be joking. I'm not paying that for a top. I can get one down the Cancer Research shop for 50p in the sale.

And this leads on. There is a deep lack of coordination about me which, I'm sorry to say, offends me. Jumbling up colours and shapes and sizes guarantees a total mess. In fact it is as off-putting as the last time we furnished Shark with some trifle and extra custard. I may as well stick a banana on my shoulder and a cherry on my head and have done with it.

And so to my next problem. Which is time. I don't have any. The time I do have I spend in blog-therapy and spew out my id. I don't have time to look at clothes, plan, shop. For three years I didn't have time to shower. Once I considered nappies because I didn't have time to pee. I'm hardly likely to spend a leisurely afternoon shopping for outfits now on my schedule. And I'm nervous about going anywhere for more than a few hours alone because by the time I get back I'll still have to do the laundry and dishwashing, mop up the spilled paint, sort out the H-bomb destruction in the front room and attend to dehydrated children at death's door because Dig will have forgotten to give them anything to drink.

But things have clearly got to change. The children can get their own drinks, the house can stay a tip and I'm going to wear a pair of trousers that fit. And this time, I mean it. By the most surprising turn of events we are all off to stay some days in Lisbon. And I am not walking through a five star hotel lobby dressed like Hyde Park Lil. Unless, of course, it's in fashion.

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