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It’s the old story! A ‘gene’ thing.

I could blame it on my parents (or even my grandparents)

I’ve written about it before and will probably do so again.

For it is as big now as it was then but I just don’t take it to heart so much or maybe I just have a better understanding of it.

‘Don’t let stephanie touch the new record player she will break it’ I can still hear my father shout.

‘Don’t let her touch the (he would name the electric gadget) it’ll never work again if she gets her hands on it’.

I thought it was awkwardness and heavy handedness he was referring to but thinking about it over the years I realise that’s not what he meant.

My Maternal Grandfather never wore a watch.

He said there was no point.

He said when he put one on his wrist it stopped working.

He could dowse for water though using a forked hazel rod.

He loved the outdoors.

Like him I too am drawn to water and rock and outside things.

And growing up I began to notice that sometimes when I switched on a light the bulb would blow. not everytime but most of the time.

I also remember that as a student nurse making hundreds of beds over our three years of study, the other student nurses would regard me curiously as I ‘zinged’ from bed to bed, picking up hundreds of electric charges in the course of my day.

I didn’t have to rub a balloon against my hair the way my siblings did to make it stick to the wall. I only had to hold it for an instant and it stuck of it’s own accord.

As time went by I remained flustered and anxious near anything involving electricity and this spread to other situations.

When pushing through large crowds for instance I would get electric charges.

For that reason I tend to avoid crowded shops or if I do have to go in to them I do so early in the morning before the crowds and I try to get out again as fast as possible.

Which brings me to my story about a recent occurrence in a large department store.

I was going on a foreign holiday to somewhere warm.

I needed a presentable swimsuit.

I’m not fussy!

Something simple and black would do fine

It may not appear much to ask for but trying to find such a garment out of season is a bit like the chance of finding a glacier in the sahara.


My younger daughter decided to accompany me.

I think this was a conspiracy between her and my older daughter.

They feared I would return empty handed and then they would have to be seen on the beach with a mother whose blue swimsuit once sported a pattern of purple grapes but now due to some extra width achieved in recent years these grapes have stretched to a sausage shape.

Plus the tear down the left side is mended with black thread. The only available color in my sewing box at the time of mending.

I use the word ‘sewing box’ with prudence for it may give you the impression that I am a very organised housewife and that would be an untrue picture of me.

The box (an old biscuit tin of which I am very fond of, having on its cover two brittany ladies replete with traditional headgear.  They appear to be regarding two citroen 2cv’s my favorite car, whilst the wind blows gaily around them) contains a few items.

The aforementioned black thread, a very large rusty needle, some buttons (unmatching)and for some bizarre reason a surgeons suturing kit.

The reason for the rust being that when I mended the swimsuit it was wet with seawater and I forgot to dry the needle after the repair job.

I might as well come clean and admit that the thread is in a dreadful tangle.

As for the suturing set? If memory serves me correctly I tore my trousers in the hospital where I work and attempted to repair them in the toilet with a needle better designed for stitching closed humans skin than fabric.

But back to my story.

We took the train into the city later than when I would have liked. (my daughter takes longer to get ready than I do).

After searching fruitlessly for an hour and been hit by many electric volts from people and doors etc I was about to give up.

‘Look! we haven’t tried here yet’ My daughter pointed enthusiastically at the sliding doors of a large department store.

While I was a sweating frazzled mass I notice she was getting fresher by the minute and has a very happy gleam in her eye and a few bags hanging from her arm.

She marched ahead nodding to the doorman and I followed reluctantly.

I was hit by a draft of hot air but I ignored it.

I had spotted my prize.

A row of black swimsuits hung on a long single rail.

At one end of the which was placed a gorgeously slim mannequin dressed in jeans and jumper, one hand resting artfully on the metal bar.

My daughters honey colored hair is all that I could see of her as she disappeared among the other rails.

Rails from which hung a dazzling array of colored designer swimwear.

Every now and again she raised her hand and waved something gauzy at me.

I shook my head at her and got down to business.

The sizes wear all muddled and I made my way along looking for mine getting the usual electric shocks as my fingers rooted for the labels.

I was getting towards the end, head bent in concentration, when I found it and straightening up in triumph I stepped back against the mannequin .

I felt it toppling.

Holding the swimsuit which was attached to a hanger I swung around, knocking a few items to the ground in the process, and caught the mannequin. righting it, I settled it firmly back in it’s place.

‘Hey’ said an indignant voice

I stared at it in alarm!

It was not an ‘it’ but it was a young woman

A slim and beautiful and mannequin like woman.

She looked at me crossly

‘I’m so sorry’ I stammered in dismay ‘I thought you were a mannequin’.

But she was already stomping across to her friend who was standing in the queue for the till.

I watched as she spoke to her friend.

The two of them looked across at me, her friends mouth was wide open and I heard her loud laugh.

Red faced I ran to my daughter and grabbing her arm marched out of the shop with her and up the busy street.

‘What’s wrong mom? what happened? What did that girl say to you?

But instead of answering her I stood rooted to the spot.

Something didn’t feel right.

Looking at my free hand I saw the black swimsuit dangling innocently from its hanger which in turn I was holding in a firm grip.

I gave a yelp of dismay and ran back down the street. The sliding door opened at my frantic approach.

Lifting my arm high above my head, I hurled the swim suit with all my might through the open doors.

Like a black crow it flew over the doormans head.

I didn’t wait to see where it landed.

The little haberdashery shop on the way to the train sold blue thread and a packet of needles.

As we found a seat together I turned to my daughter.

‘Do you know love? I think its time I went on a diet’ I said.

She squeezed my arm. ‘We love you just the way you are’ She said kindly.

The end