At the height of my hay fever, when the summer was still young and fresh, I grew tired of rubbing my delicate nose with various types of paper – paper tissues, toilet paper, kitchen paper, any kind of paper.
When I was a boy, I had cotton hankies. Even the name ‘hankie’ has a comforting feel to it.
Hankies came from mothers, freshly washed and lovingly ironed. They are symbols of a lost childhood.
I could do with some comfort and care, I thought, this summer of the runny nose.
So I decided to buy some hankies.
I did what I always do at such moments of inspiration. I went on Amazon. Other online retailers that sell everything in the known universe might exist, but I am ignorant of them.
I hate myself when I turn to Amazon. I really don’t want to encourage them. And I believe in paying taxes, for you can’t run a health service on cheap books, or pave a road system on Kindles.
However, I can’t go round the shops in town, and the village shops, for some reason, don’t sell hankies. Hankies don’t make it into the charity shops. They’re not the sort of thing you pass on when you’ve finished with them.
Unfortunately, it is so long ago since I carried a hankie, that I had forgotten that the hankies I used were made out of cotton. So when my Amazon search showed me a pack of three Irish linen handkerchiefs for £3.99 I thought there was nothing strange about it. Bit pricey, I thought, but OK, so I clicked Buy, though I did think the packaging was a bit over the top for three hankies.
They arrived, and were introduced to my nose. They were fine. They did the job.
When my credit card statement arrived, I passed it to Elisabeth, who acts as my eyes.
“How much did you say you paid for those handkerchiefs?”
“£3.99. A bit expensive, but you get what you pay for,” I replied.
“They weren’t £3.99, they were £39.99!”
Oh, how we laughed! The tears streamed down our faces.
Poor eyesight has to be the funniest thing . . .
Now, at least, I know the price of a handkerchief!