It took me three days of searching to realize what Laura had told me in the first few minutes. ‘You are searching for a wallet that went out of fashion 3 years ago’.
I’m not a big shopper. I love a good browse but you will rarely find me with actual shopping bags in my hands. However when my trusty wallet (of 3 years of age if Laura is anything to go off) had split at the seams, it was necessary to do some serious searching. All I wanted was to buy the same one again, it held everything I needed, was small enough for my bag and looked good, was that so much to ask?
My search started on my first day in London when I walked the edge of Hyde Park, ducking up streets devoid of anything remotely helpful and dragging my little suitcase behind me the whole time. Hyde Park is LONG and I was regretting my chosen path by the time I reached its end and my blackening mood may have been why my shopping was so fruitless on Oxford St. Crammed with all the big names of women’s, mid to low end shopping labels like Primark and River Island, I did think ‘If what I want can’t be found here, then it mustn’t exist’. I took the tube home empty handed.
The next day was when I told Laura of my quest. We were meeting up for lunch in Russell Square before heading to see Alana (who was helping run a Spanish class trip) at the opposite end of Oxford St to where I had been the day before. To be fair I didn’t do much browsing as I had friends to catch up with, but what browsing I did, again ended unsuccessfully. We walked back through Hyde Park, laughing at squirrels and making imaginary renovations to the Princess Diana Memorial.
Day three I decided that I needed a more individual touch in my potential wallet. I headed to Regent Street, (where I knew I wouldn’t find anything I could afford) and dived in behind it to the maze of streets that make up Carnaby. The shops there were smaller, often dimly lit, scented by candles and staffed by people who made me feel like an intruder to their sanctuary of cool. I felt out of place so it made sense that my wallet would also be out of place and therefore, not there. I went to the National Gallery to feel more welcome.
All this fruitless searching had me tired so I had a day forgetting about any kind of wallets and went to the Harry Potter studios. Anyone that knows me can understand that I took this journey as seriously as a religious pilgrimage. It was probably best that I went alone , I spent 5 hours there and came out refreshed and inspired. Drinks in Clapham Junction that night were with the people who’s house I had been staying in and had us drinking out of boats whilst sitting under woven huts and looking out onto cold London streets.
Ben (who I was staying with) and I backed it up the next morning by going out in nearby Putney for a full English breakfast by the river. As we wandered the busy mixed streets of Putney, I tried to describe the wallet I was looking for. Ben was confused by my description and I said to him ‘you would have seen it everywhere about 3 years ago!’ We looked in boutiques and chain stores before I finally admitted defeat and bought a wallet that I had seen on my very first day of shopping on Oxford St. It keeps all my currencies separate, fits all my cards and my passport, it’s not too big and it is super colourful and bright (something high on my list of must have’s). However I have thought of a new tactic. From now on I am going to be ducking into vintage and antique stores all over, waiting until my ideal wallet becomes so old that it’s finally cool again.