My artists model reclining on a bed of yarn while wearing a Christmas jumper. Of course.

Right so it’s only one month in, but #nobuyzone isn’t too tough so far (if I fancy a ball of yarn/new t-shirt etc, I just have a look at the pictures of my stash/wardrobe contents on my phone and, well, count my blessings and walk away from the temptation…sometimes slowly). But the little voice that says ‘flipping heck (or similar) haven’t you got enough stuff already?’ is leaking into other areas of my shopping.

I absolutely love ‘do-dabs’ for the house (I blame a couple of shops for this: Dubai’s The One which I used to frequently so frequently that it might as well have been a crack house, and John Lewis in the UK. Siren’s both). We have a lot of cushion covers, candle holders and y’know ‘ornaments’. And yet I love those pictures of minimalist homes: all white walls, white fur covered white sofas and sanded limed floor boards, but it wouldn’t be compatible with my love of curry, tea, coffee and red wine and life… I mean, look at my desk…not in the least bit ‘clean’. So I’ve been walking away from do-dabs too. Don’t worry – I have enough candle holders to last me a lifetime.

The question is, what do you replace ‘shopping’ with: I was in Manchester at the weekend and we visited the Christmas market, popped into various shops and I bought…. soap. We (the universal we) have been learning for the last few decades to view ‘shopping’ as an activity. I don’t mean food supplies or necessary household goods, but that random strolling around busy shops, touching stuff and buying yet another grey t-shirt. I heard a woman in a shop recently saying “ I won’t leave this place without buying something” while literally grabbing at random stuff. Whole cities have been built around malls, and one of the criteria for a vibrant town or city is a good ‘shopping’ centre.

Some people in Manchester seem to have replaced it with drink. But I’m too old to spend Saturday afternoon in the pub without dire consequences. I can’t hike at the moment (damn you arthritis) and exercise is similarly awkward. Cinema and theatre are fabulous before you shout out, but not exactly social in the way that ‘shopping’ is. So. Here’s my question, how do you replace ‘shopping’ in a culture that is now literally built around it?

Finished objects:

Crappy weather and ample time are conducive to knitting, so I’ve finished these super-duper socks, and this rather poorly photographed hat. The socks are my pattern and West Yorkshire Spinners and Rico sock yarn. The hat is vaguely this made in a combination of Adriafil New Zealand (delicious) and Rico something-or-something. I also crocheted a cowl/neck-warmer/collar for my son (have we settled on a name for those yet?) in a rib stitch and the left over aqua yarn from the hat. It’s gorgeous and cosy and in consequence he won’t take it off to have it photographed!

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