Middleagemum.com: losing your best friend’s handbag

raoul handbag janiceI have absolutely no problems at all with growing older, there is a joy in maturity that frees you from the angst-making neurotisism of youth that I’m finding hugely liberating….However, I could really do with NOT forgetting where I put everything.

Maybe it’s the menopause, maybe its early onset madness or too much gin, but what ever, I’m a bit bored with forgetting where I’ve put things THE MOMENT AFTER I’ve put them down.

Recently I lost one of my best friend’s handbags.

Lorna and I can frequently be found rummaging for gems at Hammersmith Vintage fair, a beautifully edited selection of stalls set up in the best bit of Hammersmith Town Hall (crappy 60s Brutalist outside, decorative 40s inside). Its a great atmosphere, friendly, informative and we lose ourselves in the vintage experience, wandering around stroking fabrics, stalking Lucinda Chambers (Vogue’s creative director and a frequent visitor) admiring cut and wishing we were able to fit into more of the tiny vintage outfits.

It’s very relaxed and we try things on all the time, when this happens I look after Lorna’s handbag and she does the same for me.

Last time we went, she spotted a gorgeous 40s jacket -her vintage decade of choice- and thrust her bags at me to supervise. There was a handy chair to put the bag pile on. I stood by it. Then after a bit, I realised I couldn’t see Lorna’s tan leather shoulderbag.

Me ‘Have you got your handbag?’

Lorna ‘No, you have it’

Me ‘Ummm, no I don’t seem to..’

Lorna “Yes (firmly), yes you have ”

Me (increasingly panicky) ‘Ummm, no…”

Cue that sick, stomach plummeting feeling when you know something’s gone horribly, horribly wrong….a panic that freezes your brain and stops time, that makes you sweat sheer horror through every pore. Put that with my increasing inability to remember where I’ve put things and we’re suddenly in Crisis Management Territory. The bag has gone.

Lorna and I search the chair, search the area around the chair…no handbag

Lorna carries her entire world in her handbag, EVERYTHING of importance is in it, coincidentally we wrote about it here so you can see that she does. She tries very hard not to scream at me, instead her frustration comes out as tears…and she goes a deathly white colour too and I realise I might kill her as well as ruin her life.

“It can’t have been stolen’ she sobs, ‘everyone here is too nice’. It does seem hard to believe that anyone attending the fair would be responsible as it is such a friendly place, but we realise the bag is nowhere to be seen. It has definitely gone.

We report it to the organisers, who are helpful and efficient at planning what to do. Everyone is sympathetic to the increasingly frail-looking Lorna, I am feeling more wretched than I can describe as it happened on my watch. We phone security, leave telephone numbers, acknowledge disaster.

Lorna still hasn’t throttled me but it’s on her mind.

I have an idea, when I ran  a shop, thieves would empty stolen handbags of their loot in the loos, so I start to dash to the nearest bathroom, when I feel unnaturally heavy on the right hand side of my body…

I look down and there, dangling happily where I put it not more than ten minutes earlier, is Lorna’s handbag. Hung on my shoulder.

I feel stupid, relieved, frustrated with my memory and elated with joy all in the same micro-moment. Lorna is so relieved she forgets to be cross with me and everything gets back to normal.

Almost. I am left feeling hideously miserable that I could forget something as simple as putting the wretched bag on my shoulder. Is this the future? If it is then please can someone invent an app for retracing the last ten minutes of your life in pictures so you can keep an eye on yourself?


  • Heather Hill says:

    Happy ending- thank goodness. In the last few weeks I have managed to loose various items including navy trousers – definitely whilst I was at home !!. I wear varifocals and when our recently with friends for dinner, no longer requiring them for menu reading, I perched them on top of my head and then when leaving, spent at least 5 minutes searching for them in my handbag, on or under the table. The funniest thing was that my friends were assisting me in the search- not one of them noticed them. Nearly had a Tena moment when we discovered them. It’s our age love.

  • Monix says:

    Last month I forgot where I’d parked the car (2 hours earlier) and reported it stolen – the nice YOUNG policeman at the front desk did ask if perhaps I had forgotten where I parked it – I gave him a long, hard stare…and then walked passed the car on the way to the tube station.
    As Heather says “it’s our age love” (have done the reading glasses thing too).


  • Marv says:

    Um, I think Lorna has a smidgy tad of responsibility here for not actually NOTICING that it was on your shoulder…

    It’s keys here. And scissors. But that’s a life-long thing. Nothing to do with gin.

  • Carol says:

    I am forever misplacing my water bottle. At least once a day I can be observed wandering around the house wondering where I put it. It is always where I left it. (DEEP SIGH)

  • Gillian Taylor says:

    We have all been there and done that and yes it is an age mixed in with the ghastly menopause thing! I have been taking Neurozan (Vitabiotics) three for two from Boots and they have def helped my forgetfulness ! Having said that I did leave a small child (luckily mine) out side Mother an Toddler Club – something to do with added toddler and baby in pram getting through door and only remembered I had left home with three when the Health Visitor waltzed through the door with said child saying ‘has anyone lost this child’ !! I was in my twenties then so maybe it’s not an age thing!

  • Roz says:

    It happens to me when I do something quickly, without thinking. I am constantly taking my sons Nintendo and stashing it somewhere he can’t find it. Problem is, I can’t find it when I try to give it back!

  • steffi says:

    Awww Amanda, I so sympathise and it’s an all too familiar situation and just as bad as me frantically realising I have LOST MY iPHONE and dashing round the house/shop/son’s school in a ridiculous mess of desperation and sweat when all of a sudden it hits me, I am holding my phone against my ear and actually having a conversation with my friend/mum/hubby. Unforgiveable, ridiculous. What is that about?

  • Amanda says:

    It’s both reassuring that you’re all having the same issues and also saddening that no one has yet offered us a cure….Altho Neurozan sounds interesting….Also I may make “it’s our age, love’ my new mantra A

  • Jane says:

    stef I did the same, was on the phone saying ” I’m going to have to go as I’ve lost my phone”. WTF? Jx

  • Becky says:

    I am loving the “I’ve lost my phone” stuff – so funny !!! I’ve done the same thing and then felt so stupid – what worries me more is when I forget the names of things – that happens sometimes too and it frightens the heck out of me – I usually find a good night’s sleep and not trying to do 30 things at the same time cures the problem though !!!

  • Frances says:

    Hilarious! I do that with my sunglasses a bit too regularly (forgetting they’re safely atop my head), but so far not with my bag. And I’m not sure I’d let a friend trust me with hers. So glad all worked out!

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