Livewire - October 5, 2011

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By Geoff Adams of Knott End

There was another plastic bag pushed through the door this morning. ‘Please fill with good quality clothes, shoes tied together, and no tat.’

Mrs A looked up from knitting her new seaweed nightie. ‘How many’s that this week?’ she inquired. ‘Eighteen – and it’s only Wednesday.’ ‘Oh dear. I do so like to help worthy causes. See if you can find something in the wardrobe, pet. We can’t let the starving wallabies down.’

I knew it was hopeless, but I went through the motions.

The wardrobe was full to bursting – not with clothes, but with plastic bags from charities, thousands and thousands of them. They tumbled out in a great slither, vying piteously for attention, waving their little logos and muttering ‘Me, me, choose me.’

I hated to have to break the bad news. ‘Sorry, the wardrobe’s empty. I checked the chest of drawers, too. They’ve had the lot. I’m down to one red sock with a hole in and those Father Christmas underpants that sing Silent Night.’

‘It’s no good’, muttered Mrs A, casting off violently. ‘You’ll just have to go boutique-ing and stock up on raiment. And you can’t wear those underpants – it’s only October. What would the neighbours think?’

Actually, I know what they think, because we’re all in the same boat. A massive flood of charity bags has drained our wardrobes dry. There isn’t a spare garment, in the whole of Over Wyre. Even the curate’s cassock is a converted bin-liner.

I do wish charities would talk to each other and get co-ordinated instead of carpet-bombing us with guilt.

Top hats and girdles one week; trousers and feather boas the next. That makes sense.

I was talking to my chum Shifty Sid about the problem. Sid doesn’t see it as a problem, mind, because it’s Sid who drives round in the early hours in his pick-up siphoning off the filled bags from doorsteps and flogging them to the Third World as cattle feed.

‘What’, I asked Sid, over a pint, ‘can we do about it? What would really put the whatsits on your nice little earner?’

‘Log-books’, he said, quick as a flash. ‘If every garment had a log book, charity shops would be out of business. You go into Aid-an-Old-Git for a pair of socks, and they’d have had 17 careful owners.’

As for pre-loved Father Christmas underpants? ‘When people realise they’ve bought their own knickers back three times they’ll start buying new instead.’ Sorted...

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