Tales from beyond the Wellypad

My name is David and I am a junk-mail junkie. These are my confessions; please try to understand and not to judge me too harshly.

Of course I know that I ought to tick the little boxes which would spare me the exciting "thlup" of cellophane on the hall mat. But I don't, and the catalogues and offers from eager mail-order companies arrive regularly to fascinate and tempt me. Innovations straps me to the cutting edge of electronic gadgetry, Oxfam will save whole Peruvian mountain cultures for the price of an alpaca throw-rug, Past Times would permit me to place a replica 50s Bakelite radio (with ultra-modern CD capacity) alongside my Isle of Lewis chessmen. There must be houses in the English Home Counties that resemble curio stalls inside.

Not mine, however. For most of my adult life I have browsed, but refused to buy. A flirtation in the early Eighties with a tooth-buffer (after one buff it seized up - due, I think, to the unfortunate presence of saliva in my mouth), and another with a contraption for getting painted-over screws out of walls, left me too well aware of the gap between the happy photos of an attractive model buffing pearly teeth, and the nasty, rubbery, stuttering reality.

And then my mother - my parsimonious, careful, why-do-people-pay-money- to drink-water-out-of-bottles mother - succumbed in a big way. She started with bric-a-brac for Christmas time: foot-warmers from Nepal, candle-holders from Gujarat, glow-stars for the kids' bedrooms. But the habit grew. Last year she bought a revolutionary new type of vacuum cleaner, with no dust- bags. Secretly I questioned her sanity and worried about the future - if her vacuum cleaner was anything like my tooth-buffer we'd end up having to call in some industrial cleaning company, charged with removing embedded particles of dirt and furniture (and, possibly, mother) from walls and ceilings.

I made the mistake of telling her of my fears. So when her vacuum won a string of major design awards and its inventor became lionised as the most brilliant designer/entrepreneur since Sir Clive Sinclair's early days, I was forced to eat my words. And - as a result - I began to look at the junk-mail with a new respect. Perhaps things had changed? So last month I had the cordless kettle. And the mini-turntable. As I opened the brown cardboard packaging it was as though I were a child again, and it was my birthday. Except, of course, that I'd bought all the presents myself.

Anyway, this morning the latest catalogue arrived, and I spent the train journey to work lusting for, or puzzling over, its contents. I certainly desire the Smart-lamp, which turns itself on when it senses your presence. I like things which sense my presence and turn themselves on - such as CD players, televisions and young women. I am tempted (following installation of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors) by the hammer for breaking car windows and the rope ladders for the upstairs bedrooms. You cannot be too careful. The Wellypad, which scrapes the mud off your wellies, helps you take them off, and then parks them in sanitary isolation on a green mat could be a boon.

Some items have no obvious purpose. I was slightly concerned by the machine that logs all calls, showing the originating number, whether or not the caller leaves a message on the answer-phone. What could this be for? A way of detecting nuisance-callers who aren't actually a nuisance?

Then there are the unexpected combinations, such as "the only alarm clock with storm-warnings" and the pen that allows you to record "20 seconds of spoken notes" (about the time it takes to read the preceding paragraph out loud).

In a few years time I may need the Wonder Trimmer, for unwanted nose and ear hair. But I am still too nervous of such a gadget running amok when inserted into the relevant orifice. One wonders how many hapless purchasers are to be found in casualty departments, a nasty buzzing noise emerging from places where unwanted hair doth grow.

So I have plumped for the Chin Gym, which invites you to hang weights from your mouth, so strengthening a group of heretofore undiscovered muscles. And since it "can be highly effective used with the complementary Facial Flex", a gob-inserted spring which "does for your face what workouts do for your body", I'll have that as well. The "roll-on for ageing tile grout" sounds handy too, for those days ahead when tile grout will doubtless afflict me. Even if it does look horribly like that rubbery tooth-buffer of yore.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Sport
footballMan City manager would have loved to have signed Argentine
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Sport
Enner Valencia
footballStriker has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame via winning the title with ‘The Blue Ballet’ in Ecuador
Arts and Entertainment
A top literary agent has compared online giant Amazon to Isis
arts + entsAndrew Wylie has pulled no punches in criticism of Amazon
Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities