Tag Archives: Oxfam

Come into Oxfam (re-hashed)

Don't diss me sister; I'm a cool fashionista,
running with the times, an Eco A lister.
Dressed by Oxfam from my head to my toes,
elegant in every stitch of pre-cherished clothes
and feeling pretty nifty in my vintage hat --- 
fifty years more stylish than this season's tat.

I never understood; it's always been a mystery
why people steer clear of raiment with a history,
but the world is changing and the wise understand
it's grand to to be strutting in second-hand.
Our over-production will suck the planet dry ---
we cannot halt the damage unless we all try.
.
If you buy less new, it'll slow production down,
saving precious energy the world around,
so come on into Oxfam and rummage with me,
you never can tell what treasures you'll see.
It's better than the High Street shops in town ---
come with me to Oxfam and look around.

Labels lack soul and the prices are steep,
those showy little tags make folks look like sheep
or mannequins standing in a window display
trailing the fashion victims rags of the day.
Change your look, show your personality ---
come into the Oxfam shop with me.

When you learn about the projects that Oxfam holds dear
I hope that you will sign up to volunteer,
giving up a portion of your time for free,
learning new skills while you work with me
or any of the members of our friendly crew
who'd surely be delighted to get to know you.

If you ain't got the confidence I'll hold your hand,
and when you walk out the door you will understand
the reasons I spend my time like I do,
and buy pre-used instead of brand new:
I'm runnin' with the times, I'm a cool fashionista,
don't diss me sister, I'm an Eco A lister.  

©Jane Paterson Basil

Seems I’m all out of poetry. so I’ve been messing about with this one, which I wrote a few years ago... still not entirely happy with it.

Trinkets and Treats

Embed from Getty Images

.

Seen from the street, the shop-face seems
neither eager for me to browse, nor to push me away.
It emits an air of indifferent dignity; the sense that –
should I frown – it will ignore me, yet if I show interest,
its welcome will be warm.

The window holds yesteryears’ extravagant
trinkets and treats;
their sepia hints pricked with the kind of modest pride
typical of old gold and porcelain.
Should these elite items be vying for purchase,
the contest is  concealed by dignified grace.

Inside, gifts of love and duty mingle with acquisitions
of status and desire.
They pose in glass cases and perch on polished shelves.
Large sculptures artfully swoop and arch on generous floor space.
Some might hide deep secrets, while the tales of others
were told and retold long ago, by glazed grandparents
to children who wriggled with impatience,
their minds scrabbling toward cake tins or trees to climb.

Old treasures are looking-glasses of the dead –
those whose eyes are blind, who leave
no mist on the filigree mirror –
such pretties contain no memories;
yet they retain an air of history, even when separated
from the ghosts who wrote their stories.

Were the proprietor other than Mark Parkhouse,
I might suggest that the glinting acquisitions
were the pillage of thieves, but
I trust this antique dealer.

As I enter, a female assistant greets me.
Mr Parkhouse is a man who knows how to dress;
his quiet presence is such that I hardly
register the perfection of his grey suit
since my attention is concentrated on his face.
It is only is recollection that I see all of him.

As I explain my mission, he rises
from behind his tidy desk and speaks in a warm tone.
I open the box, show him a brooch,
making my usual apologies; I doubt
that this example of costume jewellery has
more than miniscule monetary value,
but it is a beauty, and while I would like
to offer our customers the opportunity of ownership,
I want to charge whatever is due to it.

A lesser man
might fling it aside,
arrogantly hissing the words, “ten quid”,
but he shows respect
for me, for the charity that I represent, and
for the small vanity which glitters in his hand.
Examining it, he tells me what to look for
and recommends a ten pound ticket.
When he says it hails from the 1930s,
I can’t resist a smile;
it matches my estimate.

The box contains two other brooches;
a slightly damaged, but charismatic marcasite
plus an attractive 1950s piece.
He takes the trouble to value
my humble offerings.

Before I leave, he exhorts me
not to be ashamed to bring my optimistic discoveries;
he will willingly impart
the knowledge of his forty years in the business,
and some day, the charity I represent might hit the jackpot.

Walking back to Oxfam,
a wide grin splits my face.
I let it stay, making the most of the moment.
My heels and my joints have become
well-oiled springs.

Mr Parkhouse knows a lot. This
is what he doesn’t know:
this gentle, rare man
adds bonus points to my store of happiness.
It doesn’t matter that when I see him,
he doesn’t recall having met me before,
all that is important
is that he is
there.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Oxfam Saved me from the Sugar Monster

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve been feeling rough today. I’ve got a bit of a cold, which wouldn’t usually bother me, but I’m beginning to feel feverish. Not only that, but I’m both anxious and depressed. At first I put it down to New Years Day blues – assuming such a condition exists.

It was only when I went into the kitchen a few minutes ago to make a cup of coffee that I realised what was really wrong with me;

I’m going through sugar withdrawal!

Yes, I gave up putting sugar in my coffee on Friday immediately after my mother-of-the-bride dress arrived and I couldn’t… ugh… quite do… urgh… the .. zip …up.

OK – confession time; I used to have two about eight cups of coffee a day, and two teaspoons of sugar in each.

So now you know.

There’s no way I’m sending that dress back. Check out the site I bought it from – it’s fabulous:


Oxfam online


It’s a brand new donated item and it would retail at about £400 if I got it from Ian Stuart – London, where it originated, but from Oxfam it only cost me £75.

All these years of telling myself I should give up sugar for health reasons, and I never did a thing about it, but I want to look the part for Laura, on her wedding day, so I haven’t touched a grain of sugar since, apart from four Cadbury’s fingers and whatever was in that crate of wine last night (That’s an exaggeration).

Right now I can hear the Christmas chocolates and shortbread and the mini Christmas puddings and the marzipan-filled stollen and the bottle of Barefoot Merlot taunting me, but I won’t give in……… although maybe I’ll allow myself a mug of hot chocolate at bedtime……… every night until I run out of my favourite Hotel Chocolat drinking chocolate my daughter bought me for Christmas.

Seriously, if I don’t give myself a treat  once a day until I’m used to the reduction, my head’s going to explode.

Here’s that link to Oxfam Online again. Oh, and if you like genuine vintage clothes they have an excellent collection.

You could say that Oxfam saved me from the Sugar Monster by only having the dress I wanted in one size, but helping me to become healthier is just an incidental sideline. You can read a little bit about Oxfam’s history and work HERE

OK – I confess – I just felt like giving Oxfam a little bit of extra publicity.

But it’s true about the sugar.

Image Credit: Oxfam

©Jane Paterson Basil.

The worm has turned

jeans-428613_1280.jpg

what?
am I supposed to be grateful?
I’ve had my fill of men taking control of my life.
it usually begins with an unwanted gift;
some are ignorantly selected,
others, deliberately designed to bulldoze my ethics.
I told you I don’t buy new clothes; I don’t want them,
won’t wear them,
so I’ll donate what you gave me to Oxfam,
an while I’m browsing
I may find some donated thing that I like;
but even by proxy, I refuse to engage
with the wasteful side of the fashion trade.

what?
no doubt you think yourself generous
to have presented me with these feminine jeans,
but that rare time you allowed me a minute to speak
you didn’t listen;
or did you forget what I said?
while in certain places I curve like a woman,
I have the hips of a boy;
in no way am I a Marks and Spencer lady
and neither do I wish to be.

what?
did you think you could buy me, win me
for the price of a pair of jeans which I didn’t want
and which don’t fit?
maybe if you had listened, instead of forever waffling about
your carefully manufactured troubles and
your chosen style of emptiness,
and saying
all I want is someone who loves me for myself,
you would have had more success;
but of course, if you had to listen, for even a second,
to somebody else,
it wouldn’t have been worth the stress.

The Daily Post #Generous

©Jane Paterson Basil