Monday, 21 March 2011
I know exactly how my mother is going to die. One day she is going to be found dead, prey to the suffocating fall of one of her many binbags full of unworn clothes with the tags still on.
My mother is a war baby who grew up with a single doll and about three dresses. She's been making up for it ever since! Unfortunately she has no concept of quality. Any old cut-price or sweat shop chain creation will do, preferably as long as it's her favourite colour, mauve. Nearly everything she possesses hangs badly and she hasn't a tailored item to her name. Nor has she thrown away a single garment since she married my father and whole wardrobes full of 1970s and 80s jumpers in clashing primary colours and geometric designs groan vying for space. My father has about three inches of wardrobe space for his clothes. Luckily for my mother, he'd be quite happy to wear the same three suits for bonfires, holidays and outings until he dies as he hoards other things.
Meantime, what do you buy the woman who has everything for her birthday? Even more clothes she will never wear? Even more jewellery to gather dust or books to be buried under piles of paper (even the ones I feature in and which she professed to want copies of)?
I ended up plumping for a pair of luxury fleece-lined house boot slippers with non-slip soles that she would never buy herself in a million years, but will be sure to wear until they turn to holes - in the garden too no doubt. And a glasses case with her name embossed on it in large mauve lettering (she and my father are forever putting on each others' glasses by mistake), which I also know she will use.
But every birthday and Christmas is a struggle to think of something suitable which won't end up under a mountain of clothes or newspapers (my father's perversion) or shoved at the back of a cupboard.
I am so glad the hoarding has skipped a generation as it drives me nuts every time I visit and causes my parents to be permanently at each others' throats accusing each other of losing things. One more reason to remain child-free methinks.