So why is it so hard to discard clothes that a) no longer fit, b) no longer suit, c) are worn out?
After much debate with myself, I have decided that it is not that I am lazy, or even over dependent on my possessions. I can’t bring myself to get rid of clothes I no longer wear, because the clothes are part of my history. Each garment tells its own story and to get rid of it will be to lose that memory. The further back things go, the more precious the memory.
That green flowered skirt, I bought in the street market in the small town where we used to live. The stall holder made her living selling clothes, most probably seconds but I could never be sure, from shops like Monsoon and Phool. It was the time when full flowing, Indian cotton shirts and tops were very fashionable and hers were cheap and different.
I bought my skirt because I loved the colours and because my ex-mother-in-law had given me some money to spend on myself.
The skirt then, is inextricably linked with Kitty. My children’s nana and the best of all mothers-in-law. A lady who was always there to help out with the kids, who never criticised my child-rearing, or housekeeping and when my marriage broke down was there to support me, ringing me every week to see if I was all right.
A keen gymnast in her day, she would entertain us with photographs of her in the most amazing positions, bent over backwards, her foot touching her forehead, balanced on a triangle of other girls, all in twenties gymnastic outfits.
Her chips were brilliant, her oatcakes, a local Potteries delicacy and nothing to do with a cracker, were the best.
And her tea! Put on to brew the moment she knew you were coming, it would simmer gently in its metal teapot, on top of the cooker, until it was ready to be poured, thick and brown like water from a peatbog.
Not everyone’s favourite brew, opinions about Nana’s tea varied throughout the family, but a powerful memory nevertheless.