Several times a year a delightful 80-page catalogue entitled Innovations drops into my mailbox. It's packed with items you can't imagine how you've been living without - silver-plated bookmarks, dimpled china sheperdesses, 24-piece pink tool kits, for "those small repairs", Sudoku toilet paper, Bed Vacs that promise to "deep clean your mattress for a healthier night's sleep", hydraulic cushions to get the aged and infirm up and out of their chairs.
There's this "handsome" dog crate that doubles as a handy end table.
Plus shoe organisers, garden gnomes and Pet Potty Patches. The latter is a square of astro-turf on which the above dog can pee without leaving the house. I'll spare you the illustration.
What I really love, though, is the ... for want of a better word, fashions. Here, the imagination of the manufacturers knows no bounds. The All-weather Reversible Cape is the least of it. There's something called a Sleeve Blanket, which we're told has taken the UK by storm. If it has, an alarmingly high proportion of British Isles' residents are confined to their couches by metres of shapeless polar fleece, albeit with a handy pocket for their glasses or the remote control. It makes the Cosy Wrap - another must-have polar fleece item - look quite styley. Nor must we forget the all-important foundation garment - an "orthopaedist-designed nylon vest" that "gently helps coaxe (sic) your shoulders into proper position".
And then there's my personal favourite, the Fleece Dickey.
Not only does it supply "extra warmth", but - a bonus this - also "sophistication". You have to admire the stoicism of the model, smiling bravely above her aptly named horror garment. She makes a better fist of it than the dog. His expression, as he gazes out from his coffee-table prison, is a clear reproach of his owner's taste.
A sestina on housing
2 weeks ago