From Karl Marx to Corstorphine

It’s September again and the Dublin Fringe Festival – now called Absolut Fringe – is nearly here. I’m not doing a show this year, and it feels strange to be without an unending list of tasks and concerns. To distract myself I went on holidays to London and Edinburgh, both cities have fantastic charity shops, as well as a few other attractions…

In London I went to Highgate to visit the East Cemetry and see the graves of Karl Marx (huge) and George Eliot (very subtle). It’s worth a visit and then you can also check out the Karl Marx Tearooms ! and the 3 or 4 charity shops in that village. There was a pretty muddled one which I liked a lot and where I overheard a model chat to the staff. She was a genuine catwalk model, very skinny, very tall and a regular in the shop. They got a pair of shoes out of the window display for her and she told them all about her week.

She said something about going to do a shoot for Versace in Milan. I think it was Versace, anyhow it was someone who needed her to have smaller hips, if that was possible. So she was dieting. “But you look lovely” the charity shop lady said. “You always look lovely”. “No, no I am fat, and my hair is a mess.” Her hair did look a bit of a mess, but only because the rest of her looked so perfect. “No, no your hair is lovely, it’s always lovely” came back the charity shop woman.

I wanted to say, “Her hair is a bird’s nest today and you are too patient!” but I pretended I heard nothing while the model continued to name drop…Vivienne Westwood, blah blah blah.

She told the staff that her tip for losing weight was to eat sweets. The charity shop lady did not seem convinced. “No but the trick is you only eat sweets!” the model explained. “Ah! I see, Reggie should try that, shouldn’t you Reggie?” Reggie shrugged and the model went back to looking for long wispy clothing that would work on her frame.

In Edinburgh I went with my cousin to a village called Corstorphine, where there are at least six charity shops including a brilliant “Shelter” one. In Oxfam I picked out a few things for her to try on as her wardrobe is pretty empty. There was a black and azure blue dress which was cool but a bit “bally”(bally = where tiny balls of material clump all over a garment and distract from the overall item) so she did not buy it.

A few minutes later I was walking down the road and noticed the dress was hanging over on my arm!  I ran back in to explain how I had not been shop lifting, that we did not want the dress, because even though the shape suited my cousin and she badly needed some new clothes it was bally. The guy on the till barely reacted, which was a little disappointing because it felt a bit exciting to be almost up for a crime I did not commit. 

A few days later I was back in Dublin, in the Fringe Box office booking some tickets and I met Jess – blog whizzkid. She used to live in Edinburgh and when I was telling her about my trip she said “Did you find the map of charity shops?” Apparently one of the shops in Edinburgh produced it and it shows you where all the charity shops in that city are. I was gutted to miss what sounds like an addict’s guide to hours of pleasure. It’s probably good I didn’t. In London, I was texting someone about the brilliant find I had just purchased in the Archway Methodist Church’s “Second Chance” charity shop, and the delicious americano coffee I got for 80 pence in a workman’s café,  when I almost dropped my mobile phone down a sewerage grate. Some things are too exciting.

posted by Priscilla in Charity Shops and have No Comments

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