Thursday, 3 October 2013

So where do you put it all?

When you go out, what do you take with you and what do you put it in?

Recently, I got this Sativa bag.

I like it a lot.  I 100% prefer a shoulder bag to one with short handles you have to hold all the time, because there is no scenario with me in it just standing around looking pretty with nothing to do but hold my handbag.    I also need quite a spacious bag because I need to get my specs and phone in it as well as my . . . er . . . well in the UK we say ‘purse’.  I think stateside you’d say wallet?  But here a wallet is just for cards and folding money; a purse is entirely or partly for coins.

I carry my beautiful mama’s housekey with me always.  She’s eighty-six today, and I will never forget the day we needed to get into my father’s house because he was no longer answering the door; he had really gone home.   So I always have her keys as well as my own.  And the car keys.  And a key to another place.  A small notebook and a pen.  One of those fold-up-tiny nylon shoppers.  A hanky.  Some lip-balm, a concealer and a lipstick.  A tiny fork for travel food – and at the moment until I get round to eating it, a tiny courtesy mint from a restaurant: actually I ate mine but the Badger didn’t want his.  

I always choose a canvas bag (the Sativa one is made of hemp) because it doesn’t slip off my shoulder like a leather one.  I know you can get cross-body bags, but it never ceases to amaze me how many things I need to do – put the bins out, pull those weeds I spotted on my way out, take the compost – oh, feed the cats again – pick up that litter the wind blew into the path, pack up the glass recycling and put it in the car to drop off, get some firewood in for later, just put that form for the council in an envelope to send off.

All these sorts of things occur to me as I try to leave the house handbagged-up and ready to go – and most of them involve bending and moving, so the bag swings about and drops off me. 

Then, when I get in the car – what to do, what to do?  I often have passengers and it seems rude to lumber them with my bag – put my bag in their footwell – especially as I prefer driving barefoot (illegal, I know. Sorry) so I often have a solid old pair of size 44 Birkis to stash as well.

So, though I do like my Sativa bag, I have concluded what I need is one of those articles they call a bum-bag in the UK and a fanny-pack in the US.  American friends, this is one of the few US expressions that is most unlikely to catch on here.  Why?  Because in England a fanny is not the entire rump but just the person’s lady parts.  A fanny pack would probably be for spare tampax and some hygienic wipes.

Moving on.  It would be the perfect hands-free kit that won’t swing round and drop in a puddle when I stop to pull up a few stray willow-herbs along the path, or present a problem when I launch myself into the car.

I did get a very nice bumbag (I won’t call it that other thing) when we were visiting the Badger’s family in Penzance recently.  It seemed perfect.   FAIL!   It’s too small.

But the Badger has a better one – I know, because I borrowed it once.  So I have one on order like his.  It’s an Eastpak one, and they have avoided the indelicacy of the name entirely by calling it a doggy-bag.  It should be coming in the mail any day . . . I'm getting one in navy (they don't have purple), but you can see it better in the grey.

But, what about you?  Or maybe you have one of these cunning jackets and don’t even need a bag to go on holiday!  Oh, incidentally – I am lost without pockets in my clothes!  The clothes I make myself always have MASSIVE pockets, and I love my Lands End fleece gilets that have normal pockets and then what my friend Clare calls a Poacher’s Pocket on the inside too.


Anonymous said...

I've still not found the perfect bag for me. I admire women who manage with just a little, tiny bag, but then where would I put everything? Added to the items you've already listed, I need to carry a hand-held fan (yes, I'm at that age!), my husband's insulin pack (he's not a man-bag man), emergency jelly babies (for husband again!).
I find that like you, I need to use a shoulder bag. While preferring the look of a hand bag, a shoulder bag is so much more practical because I often have to use a walking stick and my husband and I like to hold hands when we out walking/shopping. :) And unfortunately there are times when my husband has to use a wheelchair and I feel mean dumping a handbag on his lap as we tootle along.
The right size of bag is difficult too because too big can cause problems. A large bag can easily fill up with unnecessary items and the weight can play havoc with my osteoarthritis in my neck/shoulders.
However I'm not into using bum-bags because I already carry enough extra baggage around that area and I really don't want to add any more! :)

Ganeidaz Knot said...

I use a small cotton knapsack that also has a shoulder strap. A bum bag is no good because I never travel anywhere without a book! My present book is Clash of Kings which is 873 PB pages ~ so I need room! I have phone, 2 sets of keys, camera, purse, pkt of sweets if driving long distances or into town, pkt tissues, looses change & go card on a chain for the ferry. Yes, it's a pain but it's worse if I don't have the book!

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Hi, Kay! Hi Ganeida! Waving! xx

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

I have a small leather bag right now but have crocheted a new one as the leather one is going to pieces so to speak a little. I just need to make a liner for it but right now I have dresses to sew.

Anonymous said...

I have three bags. A large faux leather bag, black and tan (to go with either color shoes), with a shoulder strap and regular straps, with room for books, wallet pens etc.for for grad school. A wheeled cloth bag covered with whimsical birds in which I slip my heavy wheeless laptop bag and notebooks for my work/internship. Thirdly, a small shoulder bag, also black and brown, that I transfer my wallet into for short trips such as the grocery store. Because school and work are long days away from home, I also use a small light cloth zipper bag in which I carry, mints, an emery board, glasses cleaning cloth,aspirin, hand lotion, lip balm, a dental pick, gum. This bag moves back and forth between my work and school bags. This solution works pretty good for me, except when I am out longer than I expected with only my purse.In the US, locations we need to get to, can frequently be 1/2 hour 45 min or as much as an hour's drive away. Construction delays this summer have made drive times even longer. Unfortunately, public transportation is often not an option. DMW

Pen Wilcock said...

Hi Michelle - I love looking at your sewing works-in-progress! I like the idea of a cotton-lined crochet bag. xx

Hi DMW - it sounds as though you have a well-organised system going there! xx

Anonymous said...

I could actually live for a year out of my bag! I always, always go for large bags - leather or fabric it matters not. What matters is size :-)

Having said that - I too have still not found the perfect bag. It is a never ending quest.

Bella said...

I have recently bought a 'Healthy Back Bag' and cannot speak too highly of it! I was dithering between getting a small rucksack, to replace the one that I had worn out, or some kind of shoulder bag, and the healthy back bag is the perfect combination. It can be worn across the body, or one shoulder (and does not slip in that position) and the weight is automatically really well distributed. Inside and outside are some incredibly well thought out pockets, so it acts as a permanent organiser...
I have no connection with the company but am glad to give them some free advertising as I simply can't imagine ever wanting to use any other bag ever again!

Pen Wilcock said...

Hi Lesley - yes I have a couple of aged (tatty now but still very sturdy) buddha bags that come in very handy for all manner of occasions. BIG.
I took a look at your blog and entirely agree with you about this being the natural time of year for new beginnings. I feel just the same.
Lesley's blog is here, friends:

Hi Bella - ooh, yes those do look useful!
Here they are on Amazon UK (I expect they have them on US Amazon too):

Suze said...

I was so relieved to leave behind the huge bags I needed when my children were young. Now I have dad's bag and it carries similar items but adult sized. I have a lovely leather computer bag for when I travel but it is heavy. For my personal use, at present, I am using two patchwork bags. They hold my two tiny purses. One is for cash and cards and the other for my swiss "army" card and other small items. I carry a huge bunch of keys, a hairbrush, a small make up bag if needed, tissues, medicines, a notebook and pen. ON Sunday I fit my Bible in.

I compacted my purses into little ones that are made for bus passes etc as I needed to shrink what I carry. It hurts me and the only way was to become a user of tiny things. Some women comment that I don't carry store cards etc. I have a license, my pension card, my two banking cards and my medicare card and that is it. I don't need that much.

My bags have not so long handles. I can carry them on my shoulder. When I drive I throw it over the headrest. My only compliant is that neither bag sells. It never bothered me until this Wednesday when a bird somehow managed to deposit in the bag. So I must work on some form of closure.

Pen Wilcock said...

! Good aim, that bird! How do they do it?


Julie B. said...

Like Kay, I could never manage with a small bag. And I wouldn't use a fanny pack (yes that's the name in the US) because I need no added bulk in that region whatsoever.

I prefer a purse with shorter handles, since shoulder bags always seem to slip off my shoulders.

Here's what I carry in mine: checkbook, small yearly calendar, two-three pens, brush, zippered pouch of lip glosses, small New Testament, cell phone, band aids, a few business cards for my daughters' companies, a wallet with driver's license, credit card, photos in it, key ring with car and house keys, Neutrogena hand balm, Kleenex and mints.

I like my purse to be large with several small pockets inside for some of the above things. I would also like my purse to be pretty if possible, mostly dark with pops of color, preferably blue or green or red. It needs to be large enough to carry a book, and oftentimes my iPad. And it should not cost over $75.00.

I just realized after typing all of this that I'm a total purse diva! Hahaha!

Here's my current purse:

but the downside about owning fabric purses is that the handles eventually fray after about two years, I find. Then it's time for another purse.

This was a fun post to read and I enjoyed peoples' answers. Maybe I'll use your idea and do something on my blog like this. Something light hearted! xoxo

Pen Wilcock said...

Thanks, Julie! Yes, isn't it fascinating comparing notes! xxx