Clothes and books

I bought a dressmakers dummy, female, size 12. If I start selling mum’s clothes, her later life shawly jumpery diaphanous stuff will go well on it. I’d need to get another one in size ten for the bulk of her early stuff. It’s gorgeous. I was in the dry cleaners on a fact finding mission. “How much to clean this, it was my mother’s?” Two women in the queue behind me were saying “That’s beautiful.” “I want it to go where it’s loved,” I respond. “And it was your mother’s? Your mother was cool!” This from a very well spoken young woman in cycling lycra, dropping off some jumpers. It makes me smile. “Yep. She was.” But I can’t be the curator of her wardrobe forever, and I’ve made sense of eBay now. The issue is that I don’t know what things are called. And knowledge is power on eBay. So I’ve invited a friend who knows clothes for dinner. She might be able to help me distinguish between types of clothes. I only recently learnt the difference between a skirt and a dress so on my own I’m powerless vs women’s clothing.

In the meantime I reversed the dummy and stuffed a towel into its belly to make it portly. I’m using it as an approximation of my uncle in order to photograph his jackets.


And today I went to the storage locker and grabbed multiple boxes of books to sort. I’m going through them in the back of the van. It’s cold and dark, but I can see enough to go by. Most of them aren’t my groove but a few of them are wonderful and I’ll treasure them. The rest I’m going to try to take to charity shops, or friends. I’ve noticed recently that London charity shops rarely even accept books these days. Last time I came with a box of books to a charity shop, I tried three in a row and the third guy said “just put them in the recycling bin.” I blame it on the ubiquity and attractiveness of bookshelves. Every property is full of them, so books stay safe while CDs and records and vinyl gets boxed up and moved around and thrown away. Virtually every book I’ve scanned is available on Amazon for a penny from some huge book moving industry that makes .10p per book on thousands of books every day. It’s a living if you’ve got the time, but for me it’s charity or recycle so I can make space for making things.

My friend is soon to arrive, and frankly I think we will just eat, drink, laugh and catch up. She can tell me the name of a few types of gown or sleeve or pattern, but if it was about identifying clothes I’d have sent her piccys through WhatsApp. Really I just fancied a bit of company. The scaffolding up the block is covered with tarpaulin so I get no natural light at all at the moment. It’s like my flat has been wrapped in cling film.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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