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About A Week: Cotton Drill Trousers With An Ouch!

…There was a pair of cotton drill trousers. I still wince at the thought of the pain. The material was fine. Sandy-coloured. Hard-wearing. Just the thing for an East African safari. Unfortunately, the trousers didn't match my measurements. They pinched me where no man should be pinched…

Peter Hinchliffe admits to falling victim to the lures of odd adverts in certain Saturday newspapers.

Sweet Saturdays. An extra hour's lie-in. A leisurely breakfast with time for talk and a third cup of tea. Then settle back with the morning papers' to enjoy those extraordinary adverts for items which you never knew existed.

There's usually a page, or more, of them, labelled Shoparound, or Weekend Market, or some such. There are simple sketches of the goods on offer. The ads are curiously old-fashioned in their style. But, by golly, they are effective! You read. You chuckle. Then you have second thoughts.

Who could possibly need a product called Magi-Grip, which prevents rugs creeping across carpets? "Just lay it down," the ad assures. "No sticking or sewing. Tried and tested." I choke into my fourth Saturday morning cuppa. Rug creep! I ask you!

Hold on a sec, though. What about that rug in our bedroom? The white one, with a good deal of sheep in it? Two or three times a week, I move the rug so that it is touching the foot of the bed. Next time I look it has started to crawl up the far wall. I am beginning to think the thing's alive. That it is trying to escape. To get back to where the grass is. Maybe we do need Magi-Grip.

But I think I can survive without a Sleep.Mask. "Whatever your bed-time, the Sleep Mask will make it night-time.

Smart black brocade, fully lined with soft cotton corduroy, with cheek flap (stops light entering round your nose). I can sympathise with night workers who go to bed just when the sparrows wake up and start to sing. They probably do need something to turn day into night. But smart black brocade? That is postively sinister. It implies that you are going to be seen wearing the wretched thing. That the wife will bring casual callers upstairs to view you while you slumber.

"Just look at that black brocade," the wife will whisper. "Isn't it smart?"

"Yes," whispers the next door neighbour. "Very. Doesn't seem to stop him snoring though."

Now here's a disturbing little ad. "House dust mite. Are you allergic?" Well I wasn't, thank you very much, until I read about the Derpi Dustop bedding cover. Now I am beginning to wonder whether I will ever sleep easy again. All that animal life down there in the mattress. Ugh!

Of course, you could always cover the bed with a fancy Satin Sheet, and hope that would help you to forget such nasty things as dust mites. Sheets in black, champagne, red, pink, blue or white are on offer. All very fine for those who have mastered the art of cutting toe-nails. But satin sheets could be hazardous for all of us who leave jagged edges.

There you are, deep in a dream, playing alongside Gazza in the England team.. You kick the ball out to the right wing . . . And wake up to find yourself hooked like a Tweed salmon, the rough edge of your big toe awkwardly hitched to the satin. If you don't mind, a plain cotton sheet will do for me.

Nor am I keen to acquire a single-handed tray with a low centre of gravity.

Or a high-reach multi-washer which extends 18ft. :

And my feet can do without Aqua-therapy Insoles — "a slim cushion of water that gently supports and massages."

However, a handy little gadget which allegedly enables you to trim your own hair does appeal to my Yorkshire sense of thrift. At £3.45 it sounds like a real bargain. If I used it though, I'd probably end up even balder than I am already, with bits of toilet paper stuck to a patchwork of cuts on my pate.

Fingers crossed, refusing every chocolate bar which comes my way, I will also manage to avoid doing business with the Clothing Discount Store. "Outsized men's clothing at discount prices. Up to 22 inch neck, 60 inch waist, 64 inch chest." Good grief! So the Hulk really does exist!

All right, I chuckle and mock, but now is the time to confess. I have been beguiled into ordering goods from time to time. There was a pair of cotton drill trousers. I still wince at the thought of the pain. The material was fine. Sandy-coloured. Hard-wearing. Just the thing for an East African safari. Unfortunately, the trousers didn't match my measurements. They pinched me where no man should be pinched. Back they went back to the suppliers by the very next post.

As did a pair of bargain-price shoes which hurt so much when they were laced up that they could only have been designed by a decendent of the inventor of the Medieval rack. Then there were the magic crystals which absorbed household moisture, sd keeping the insides of the windows mist-free. Tinfoil trays ladened with crystals appeared on all our windowsills. The magic crystals worked just fine. They gulped up water like a camel after a desert trek.

The air inside the house became so dry you could almost hear it crackling. Problem was the crystals had to be dried out in the oven. Every other day. Which quickly convinced us that we were far better off using a wash leather on the insides of the windows. Come to think of it, the crystals were probably invented by someone from British Gas.

Ah sweet Saturdays, and a feast of bizarre products.

By the way, I'm on the look-out for a patented time-controlled padlock for my credit card. Just in case my eye is caught by further offers of magic crystals, bargain shoes, special offer pilot's shirts, comfortable Lincoln-green corduroy trousers . . .

** Dreadful news. Since I wrote this article Magi-Grip has ceased to trade. And the white rug continues to climb the wall. Presumably it will not be content until it has reached the ceiling.

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