Bags of memories by Susan Catford

I wonder how many handbags the average lady owns-5, 10, 20 or more?!

There was a time when the answer would have been 2, 3 or 4.

I have to confess that you would need all my digits (and possibly my husband's) to count my collection. The problem is that we have gone from regarding a handbag as something functional to carry our purse etc. ,to it being an accessory, a fashion statement and even a status symbol. For a start there are so many different kinds.

My sensible black and navy ones remind me of interviews, formal occasions, being serious! On the other hand, they come in all shapes, colours and sizes. There are clutch bags, shoulder bags, organiser bags (very useful!), bucket bags, beach bags, evening bags and even small ones to pop your phone into. Colourwise, you can have (and I probably do) all the colours of the rainbow and lots of shades in between. They can be fun and there is always room for one more! Many years ago, I had a colleague who collected a certain make of handbag (identified easily be the trademark doggie tag). She bought one of these almost every month at great expense. I was impressed at such self-indulgence! I wonder if she still has them as a collection or if they have gone to the charity shops.

The contents of bags are another issue altogether.

This is my list of the typical ‘essential' contents of my handbags:- purse, tissues, phone, lipstick, keys, tissues, comb, credit cards, driving licence, tissues, indigestion tablets (?), pen- and did I mention tissues?? Holiday bags also have extra items like emergency sewing kit, passports etc. + essential item, Imodium!

The nice thing about bags is that they hold memories too. An old theatre ticket, a boarding card, an invitation to a wedding or party, unsent postcards, old photographs, foreign coins, an odd earing can all conjure up past events, happy times, holidays.

For any man who may have read this far (well done!), may I say that I approve of man bags. These satchel type bags are not only useful receptacles for laptops and tablets but also mean no baggy pockets or bulging trousers. I do wonder what else they carry (tissues?). Perhaps you can let me know. We probably won't be rushing out to buy new bags just now but there are some lovely ones in Tappers, Avoca , M&Co, The Smart Dress Agency and, of course, our charity shops. However, with the probability that we will be spending more time indoors, I can recommend a trip down memory lane by revisiting the contents of your own bag collection. You may just find that lost earing- oh, and lots of tissues!!

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