The Importance of a Spick-and-Span Handbag


Last year I had a brilliant new year’s resolution: to stop working at 6pm every day. I failed. And am I heart-broken about it? Nope. It was abag silly idea from the start, one, I knew, that doesn’t suit my life. Sometimes I leave my desk at 4pm to get kids to music lessons or to the doctors, sometimes I spend a morning talking to builders to sort out the kitchen roof leak. I then sit down at my desk again in the evening. And I really don’t mind.


This year I went for something far simpler: to keep order in my handbag and to have a pedicure every three month. I am doing well with both. Each time I leave the house I put the mobile into the little inside pocket of my handbag and hook the key onto the special key chain. I’ve also booked four appointments with a beautician, in February, May, July and September. And I am thinking of booking a fifth for December. I feel like a woman in control of her life.


Peirene, however, although usually not averse to frivolity herself, is appalled by the flippancy of my resolutions. She would like me to focus on poetry, French Literature, art and, of course, her.


 “Well, don’t you think you need to spend some time thinking of how to ensure my rise to stardom?” she asks.

“You’re doing fine. We’re rolling along nicely.”

“Rolling along nicely? Excuse me. But have you seen whose on the Richard and Judy spring list ? Or rather who is NOT on their list?!”

“We’ve submitted your books. That’s all we can do. We knew the chances were basically non-existent.”


Peirene is trying to pick a fight. In fact she’s been angry this entire week. Her Christmas break was too short and she came back not completely rejuvenated. So she’s looking for an argument to get her Adrenalin pumping. More Rambo than Rimbaud.


She wants my new year’s resolution to be something mega – such as “get Peirene on telly or at least on Radio 4 Book at Bedtime or Women’s Hour.” I’d love to, I have to admit. But I am not convinced they are real new year’s resolutions. These decisions are out of my control. If I put my heart into them, I’d feel frustrated and dissatisfied for the rest of the year.


On the other side, if I keep order in my handbag, I will find the phone straight away each time it is ringing. That is important because who knows, Richard and Judy might one day no longer be able to resist the allure of a sparkling Greek Nymph. And we really wouldn’t want to miss that call, would we?

Please note our website uses cookies to improve your experience. I understand. For more information see our Privacy Policy .