Charity Shopper #4

Charity shopper is a weekly blog post. The rules are that I have to visit a charity shop every week and purchase something from it. I cannot leave the shop without making a purchase and I must use the purchase at least once. I will report every week on what I buy.

It’s more fun if you play at home: this week you have the opportunity to win all of the items I purchased. This is partly to spread the word about the Charity Shopper blog and partly because my wife has threatened divorce if I bring anymore stuff home from charity shops.  To be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is contact me on twitter @TmhoLudek or email: and I’ll enter you into the prize draw. If your name is pulled out of the hat then you win: Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton, Once upon a Potty by Alana Frankel and The Husband, A Ladybird Book by J. A. Hazely and J. P. Morris.

Last week’s winner was the unfathomably talented @RebekaLord. You should definitely check out her website: and if you are in West Yorkshire over the next few weeks pop along to see her paintings as part of the Turps Correspond Exhibition at the Artworks 1830 Gallery between February 21st and March 20th.

Date: Mon 19.02.2016 

Shop: Dove House Hospice, 7 High St, Market Weighton, East Yorkshire YO43 3AQ

Purchase: Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton, Once upon a Potty by Alona Frankel and The Husband, A Ladybird Book by J. A. Hazely and J. P. Morris.

Cost: £1.48

You’ve been quiet this week. A bit tardy with this post, it normally comes out on a Sunday!

I’ve been busy reading.

So I see. A book about potty training?

Once Upon a Potty is a book by Alona Frankel to help parents introduce the potty to their youngsters.

I see. Sounds…

Well, admittedly it’s not exactly…

No, I suppose not. Is it any good?

Erm well, it’s maybe not in the same category as some of Dostoevsky’s stuff but you know. It’s… different…

How so?

Well it’s got this picture in it:

A bottom for sitting and in it a little hole for making Poo - Poo. Once upon a Potty by Alana Fra
A bottom for sitting and in it a little hole for making Poo – Poo. Once upon a Potty by Alana Frankel

Oh! I see what you mean. That’s a little awkward.

The book is regarded as a classic by some and you can buy it on Amazon. For $50.

Say what?

That’s right. Original hardback copies from the 1980s change hands for $50 or more. There are 3 on sale at at the moment. Here’s another odd picture. Is it just me or does the poo look like angel delight?

Later on she made Wee-Wee and Poo-Poo but not exactly into the potty.
Later on she made Wee-Wee and Poo-Poo but not exactly into the potty.

This reviewer from won’t be buying it though:

“The ugliest, nastiest potty book ever written. What moronic parent would actually WANT to read this one to a kid. “Wee-Wee” and “Poo-Poo”? FEH!
(And please don’t tell me it trained your kid […]. Your kid trained because they were READY!)

There are TONS of good potty books if you insist on reading them to your kids. But don’t expect them to magically train your child–it ain’t gonna happen. Better still, relax and stop obsessing over potty training. Is it going to get them into college someday?”

Oh dear. Alright shouty! Well, it might be a bit difficult to survive at college if you haven’t learnt to use the toilet by that stage. Surely you’re potty trained though?

It’s not for me. I’ve been potty training my daughter.

Our daughter.


Our daughter. Because I am you and you are me. You’re interviewing yourself, remember?

Oh yes.

Why is that?


That you’re interviewing yourself?

Erm… well I don’t know really. I don’t really have any friends to talk to about this stuff… Why do you ask? Do you think I need more friends?

Do you think you need more friends?

Umm, well I’m married and I have children. Do  I still need friends? None of my friends seem to have friends. Well I mean, Rob has lots of friends. He’s divorced though. Lots of his friends come from a website that he’s on… does that count? Rob seems to be very happy.

Why do you think that?

He gets to go to the pub a fair bit and sometimes he rings me up during the early hours of the morning after he’s been to the pub to tell me about how happy he is. I don’t know if I’m as happy as Rob. I feel a bit worried about that. Do you think I should get divorced?

Perhaps you should read the ‘How it works’ book from Ladybird about The Husband before you make and rash decisions.

Ah yes, this is one of those  Ladybird books for adults. I remember reading these as a child…

Ladybird for adults books: How it works - The Husband A Ladybird book.
Ladybird for adults books: How it works – The Husband A Ladybird book.

Brings back happy memories doesn’t it?

Ha ha, yes it does.

Kind of.

Feels and looks exactly like the originals, just funnier…

This is what the inside of Tim's head looks like.
This is what the inside of Tim’s head looks like.
Adrian's wife sometimes cries herself to sleep
The husband likes things to be in order.


That’s because the authors, Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris, have taken the original Ladybird pictures and put satirical little barbs with them to fit the images.

I’m not sure it’s helping with my anxious feeling though. All the women in the book seem fairly unhappy. So do the men too.

If you’re feeling anxious then maybe you need to read Alain de Boton’s Status Anxiety.

I have been. That’s what made me feel anxious. Having read his incisive study of modern social mores I realise that not having any friends means I lack social status – the world doesn’t love me in the same way that it loves Beyonce and… and… Joe Pasquale. Do you think I should tell my friends about how I’m feeling?

I wouldn’t if I were you.

You are me.

Don’t be facetious. That could be why you haven’t got any friends. You should definitely not mention how you’re feeling to your friends. 


Absolutely. De Botton says that you are craving the love and admiration of your friends and ‘the quest for love from the world is a […] secret and shameful tale.’

My head is hurting a bit…

De Boton says, ‘to feel that we are taken no notice of necessarily disappoints the most ardent desires of human nature.’

My most ardent desire is to be noticed.

Is that why you’re talking to yourself at the kitchen table at 1.00am and writing down what you say as though it’s an interview?

Umm, I think so…

I thought so too.

God this is confusing!

My head is hurting a bit.


The Charity Shopper returns on Monday. 

To be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is contact me on twitter @TmhoLudek or email: and I’ll enter you into the prize draw.

If you’ve enjoyed this week’s foray into secondhand land then check out the previous blog posts here:

Charity Shopper #1

Charity Shopper #2

Charity Shopper #3

Talking shop #1

Talking shop #2

Talking shop #3

Talking shop #4


Tooled up.

Since his earliest ancestors man has set himself apart from other species by his use of sophisticated tools. In this weekly offering I consider what our choice of everyday items and accessories says about us based on the reviews people have left on Amazon.

In this week’s offering I consider what our choice of flask says about us. Here are some flasks and the distilled reviews about them from

1. Stanley Classic 1L Vacuum Flask


You view your flask as an investment (indeed you tend to view any purchase of more than a fiver as an investment). You work an allotment or drive a heavy goods vehicle (though worryingly seem rather clumsy – ‘must have dropped it hundreds of times’ – and value your flask’s sturdiness. You drink tea, not coffee. You are also quite pedantic. If it says it is drip free then it better bloody well be drip free. You are the kind of person who conducts a temperature control test before using your flask for the first time.


2. Web Tex Ammo pouch flask

web - tex You own a gun and enjoy shooting things with it. You tend to describe the things you own as kit rather than what they are. You are a fork lift truck driver but wish you had joined the armed forces. Of a weekend you like to spend time lying outdoors in heavily wooded areas covered by a heap of branches, damp leaves and bracken. You call this bivouacing.

You are quite concerned that other people who have purchased the Web – Tex Ammo Pouch flask do not use it in an ‘abnormal’ way. You are willing to defend your right to purchase a green plastic drinks flask. With force if necessary.









3. Fake Tampon Flasks
5 fake flasks

You are a woman and you want very much to be drunk. You have an impending hen – do in Blackpool and you’re buggered if you’re paying the bloody prices they charge for shots.

You don’t mind waving a tampon applicator around on a packed dancefloor either. After all – you’re only young once. Or, you were young once and now you want to get pissed to remember what it was like.



4. OCC One Click Premium Travel Mug

occ one click cup

You are a busy mum, or a busy business woman, or you are a go – getter who is busy. The emphasis is that you’re busy doing something and you want to look good drinking a mug of tea whilst being busy. You stand on the sidelines at the footy or ice – hockey. You cheer on hubby when he scores a goal but you don’t spill your tea because you’ve rigorously tested a million such cups and found that this one alone does not spill. It comes at a premium price but you get what you pay for, right? And you also get admiring glances on the train in the morning. And that’s fine with you.

5. Andrew James Designer 8Oz hip flask.

andrew james

You describe your drinking rather more lyrically than your friends and family might. ‘I like to have a nip of J.D. from my hip flask when I’m settled on a rock to survey my surroundings.’ You might be an eagle. Alternatively you might be very pissed and by ‘settled on a rock’ mean lying on the pavement.

Drink is a social lubricant for you. ‘You’re always welcome if you have a hip flask.’ You might have been drunk when you penned your review – ‘Anchors Aweigh, my boys.’ Hic. You walk around a lot and are sometimes drunk when you do this. ‘I tripped over the dogs and a man laughed at me and it’s hard to put a price on things like that.’ It’s unclear if the reviewer’s emphasis here is on the price of his drinking or the comic value it provides the rest of us.