Things men carry around could save you one day

When he was young, my son carried a long piece of rope with him wherever he went.

Men love gaffer tape
Men love gaffer tape

He felt it could be used for all sorts of practical reasons – accessing trees, hoisting people up trees, creating swings in trees.

I thought this was super. He was the master of hoisting and entertained other children locally and farther afield when on holiday.

He gave up his roping about seven or so years ago now – but every now and then I find a length of it coiled behind a shed or elsewhere, gently rotting away, and it reminds me of his previous passion.

Is it a male thing to have a passion to carry something practical to make into something else? As a mother I carry a mini first aid kit (well, now the children are older it’s less about plasters and more about Nurofen and dental floss).

As a writer I carry a pen and paper and as a woman I carry Lypsyl.

But imagine my delight when my friend announced the other day that he always travelled with a roll of gaffer tape.

He was telling me about how it had been confiscated at an airport gate as a potential security threat.

So there we are, at a party and I mention that my sandal has a tear in it. This is a whole other conversation by the way – why women’s sandals are primarily about pain while men’s are about comfort.

Look at a rack of women’s sandals and ask yourself if any woman is expected to actually walk further than the back garden this summer.

Flimsy soles, excruciating toe cleavages, or bindings like a Roman. Whereas the men’s are thick-soled, thick-strapped, comfortable to move about in.

Fashion be damned, I’m for living a life where I can achieve peak speed on the way to the beach.

My sandal’s tear was from the luxury wedge wrapping peeling away – which my friend was only too delighted to fix with his gaffer tape.

Once started it became quite a little business, as his wife’s heel had come apart and so on and so forth. Never criticise the boy who wants to carry a handy piece of equipment, as he might grow up to be the one to save your situation. Long live men and their man bags.


Here I go again, the same old frustration about litter.

Why is it that we have dogs banned from the beach in the summer months when actually it’s humans who make all the mess?

Well, I’d never take my dog to the beach in the summer anyway as he’d be far too interested in picnics, barbecues – any food really – for me to be able to hold back his temptations.

But it’s the principle that matters. How can we combat this throwaway nature?

It’s not an accident, it’s wilful disregarding of packaging.

Deposits on beer cans and bottles perhaps? Less packaging, naturally-decomposing packaging? Fines for littering? More people on patrol to pick up the mess?

There has to be a solution.


Packing for a holiday is potentially one of the most stressful activities of the summer.

Once you get to the other end, you’ve only yourself to blame if you’ve forgotten something crucial.

I once forgot a swimsuit for a month-long tour of France and Italy and a camera for a three-month excursion to Greece.

I like to start my lists early these days, to help myself, especially when it comes to packing technology.

I have to dedicate an entire afternoon to untangling wires and plugging them into every device, trying desperately to work out what belongs to which.

And then there’s the downloading of photos in order to make room for more pics which I’ll never print out. Exhausting.