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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)