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The Perpetual Girl Guide

Big, but not overly so, my handbag is just the right size to carry my notebooks so I will never be without them.  Its dark black exterior with single beige stripe give no indication of what lies within. To the rest of the world it looks like a smart business woman’s handbag. Who else but I would know its main purpose is to carry my dreams?

However, it doesn’t end there. In addition to my dreams my handbag carries pretty much everything you can think of, and probably a few unexpected items too.

I always carry at least one extra pen. I have my own portable first aid kit from paracetamol to plasters. I’m prepared for any kind of weather with a pair of sunglasses stashed beside an umbrella. A tape measure. Spare plastic bags. Tissues. A pair of pliers. A torch. My handbag is a girl guide’s delight.

Ironically I wasn’t a very good girl guide. At least not according to our troop leader. Nevertheless, I returned each week decked out in my neatly ironed uniform, the traditional version with a bell shaped skirt and badges (the few I had) down my shirt sleeve. This was before it was permitted for girls to wear trousers. It was hideous. Even when the new, more fashionable uniforms were introduced, I remained in my somewhat frumpy outfit. This was definitely not by choice I hasten to add, but rather economic necessity. At least that’s the reason my parents gave. Personally, I think they figured that not even a new uniform would improve my skills as a guide, and there was so much space left on my shirt sleeve for all those badges that I’d never earn, what chance did I ever have of filling a great long sash instead?

Every Thursday I would reluctantly head off to the school hall, while my brother stayed home and watched Top Of The Pops.  I of course was not at all jealous, and the fact I can remember what happened to be on TV is purely coincidental…

Somehow I was eventually made patrol leader. I assure you that I was as surprised as everyone else by this. Our patrols were all named after flowers, given my patrol was nicknamed the awkward orchids you guess how successful my leadership skills were.  I swear I tried.  I would also like to point out that the ‘awkward’ reference was not directed at me.  I was a delightful, if somewhat ineffective guide. There were plenty of other words which could be used to describe me, and indeed our troop leader used most of them, but awkward was not one of them.

In fact the only thing I really excelled at was my ability to ensure that the bulky purse on my belt was always packed with pencils, tiny note books, paper clips and any other potentially useful and sufficiently small item that I could cram in there. The nature badges may have been out of my reach, and admittedly still are (have you read my posts on my attempts at gardening?) but I more than made up for it with my ability to be prepared for any eventuality.

My days in the guides are thankfully behind me and my hideous blue purse has been upgraded to a spacious handbag. Oh alright, several. I am on a permanent quest to find the perfect sized handbag to store my essentials. Which of course includes multiple note books.  

Ever seen Mary Poppins? Of course you have, it’s hard to miss when it’s shown on TV every year. Well, my handbag is like her carpet bag, though I’m still waiting for it to pack and unpack itself.