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Monday, September 03, 2012

Whilst horsing around in the forest with a few well-bread cobs on Friday (I like a big packed lunch), I stopped off at the Uckfield charity shops in search of a few bargains, and to procrastinate a bit before driving to Lewes for an afternoon clinic. In particular I was looking for a full-length womanly dress that would fit someone like me.

Namely, Lisa's mother. We're about the same size. And she's notoriously difficult to buy for. She basically lives in the kind of clothes that nobody makes any more. To her, the phrase 'two-piece' refers only to the packs of frozen fish she buys. When it comes to clothes, she insists on wearing full-length dresses and nothing else.

But not just any full-length dresses. They can't be low cut or brightly coloured. She's not happy unless she's dressed for a funeral.

Needless to say, my mother-in-law poses something of a shopping challenge, especially since Littlewoods closed down, but she's been in need of a new outfit for a while now, so I've taken to scouring the county's charity shops in search of something suitably dated.

Which led me to the Sense shop in Uckfield at lunchtime on Friday, where I found something which seemed to fit the bill. Not only did it make sense, but it made Sense £2.95. I bought a full-length, tastefully coloured and conservatively cut dress for less than three quid.

On the downside, I made a pensioner deeply uncomfortable. And I don't mean Lisa's Mum. When I went to pay for the dress, the member of staff was away from the till, so I folded up the dress and placed it on the counter. When she returned, she looked at the price tag on the collar, and said "That's a nice top", before ringing it up on the till.

I responded by smiling and saying "Before you ask, it's not for me!", but oddly she didn't respond. It was only when she picked it up to put it in a bag that the whole thing unfurled, at which point she looked at me with the widest eyes I'd seen since I kissed Toby goodbye that morning, and said "Oh! It's a dress!"

I smiled and said yes, but I don't think anything I said registered with her. She was too busy trying to stuff my dress into a bag with a look of genuine panic on her face. She couldn't even look me in the eye as she gave me my change.

So that was Friday lunchtime. And this was last night...

The self same Sense shop went up in flames overnight, in a fire which also spread to the charity shop next door. And what's more, the police think it was started deliberately. As yet, the arsonist's motive is unknown, but I can't help wondering if on the weekend of Pride in Brighton, news of my purchase leaked out, and they were targeted by transphobic bigots.


Phil's Mum said...

The big question is 'Did it fit?' because, sadly, you won't be going back there for more dresses for your mother-in-law, so that one needs to last a few years.

Zoe Sprake said...

Blimey!  You rescued that dress in the nick of time.

If you ever feel inclined to buy a dress for me, I'm fine with low cut and brightly coloured, but not above the knee, please.  I'm short, size 10, I prefer a waist.  And not sleeveless. Thank you.

A Passer-By said...

Interesting conversation in Uckfield!   Had you let it slip that you lived in Brighton?   In spite of your protestations, the lady probably thought you'd bought it to wear round town on Saturday, and subsequently set fire to the shop in a homophobic protest!!

Phil said...

Your body and my feet are the same size, Z. So I could probably walk all over you  and have the downtrodden wife I've always dreamt of. But in the meantime, I'll keep a look out for something suitable. Are you still dressing like the Duchess of Cambridge?

Phil said...

She took delivery of it today, and has so far refused to try it on. The woman can't be rushed.

Poirot said...

Ha! Don't deny you bought your conference dinner outfit-trying to pretend it's for your MIL

Phil said...

Thank God there wasn't an F on the end of that.

pooks said...

So whats all this about the conference dinner? Phil do you have a wig?