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Monday, 5 April 2010

The Baglady's Day Out

We are the bagpersons, carrying with us whenever we go out sundry types of large garden bags. On the train we cover the seats to avoid contamination from the transferred detergent, fabric conditioner, deodorants, personal fragrances and other products. On the Underground we stand, preferably anything up to a mile we walk, using back streets where possible to avoid too many people.

In the auditorium we stand and our positions are close to ventilation grills. But up in the Champagne Bar in The Floral Hall we like to sit apart, using our bags on the seats, by the windows and again by ventilation grills. We are in old clothes but they are very well washed and fresh on for the occasion. The standing positions give us space and we can move around if needed and the Champagne Bar is high and airy. Probably, I am the only person there who ever barrowed flowers and fruit in and out so long ago and can recall the smell of real flowers.

We are taking as much avoiding action as possible, even the train routes and times are selected for that purpose, driving to services on other lines where the carriages are of recent better ventilated types. Not only do we keep our distance but when we are seeing people we know they are kind enough to avoid the problem substances but we have had to brief them.

Despite all this when we arrive home the clothes are off into fresh bags and we have to shower thoroughly and clean off. Also our sense of smell is often either impaired or not functioning. It is only on the next day when we check our clothing that we know that it all stinks despite all the efforts to avoid contamination.

This means another round of washing to make sure we deal with it. But now we have to wear the same clothes every time we go out otherwise all our clothes will become affected as well as everything else in the wardrobes and draws.

It is not just the outer clothing. It seems weird but it is the underclothing as well and I can assure you that we have remained fully clothed at all times otherwise you will have read about it in those newspapers that feature such events. So how has it happened? Quite simply it is the extent and nature of the pollutants in the air from the products mentioned above.

They are designed to carry distances, remain airborne, to adhere, to transfer and to penetrate. In my case they go through thick cotton outer clothing and a fishing jacket. Despite hours of travel, marching about and standing they still overcome the all too natural smells of my drill corporal’s feet. That really does take some doing.

Another issue is if these products can to this to the exterior of our bodies what are they doing to the interiors? Unluckily to find this out means research on a basis where there is no “added value”. Our government does not fund research of this kind, unless it is into prestige projects or helps their friends make more money. The rapid development and application of new technologies in these products have effects all too evident to those able to detect, so what damage is being done?

What I do know is that when I stand there in the audience looking down on the heads in front of me, I see that the hair of younger women these days is a lot thinner and much more brittle than I ever remember. Also, there is a lot more coughing going on.

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