Op shops have been lost. Since Covid. And for some reason earrings and scarfs are associated with the Op shop. I have missed them all.

Op shops have been closed here in Fremantle for the last 6 weeks or so, during our social isolation. I admit that I have missed them. My spirits rose this week when Vinnies and Good Sammys announced their reopening. But the Fremantle ones are still closed so I will have to wait for my Op Shop fix.

Because the Op Shop is a fix. A time waster, a distractor, an economic benefit to the shopper and the recipients of no longer wanted goods, an equaliser. A fix nonetheless. The Op shop sorties boost my spirits. Op shops take me off my route list: the lists which guide my day, a neat or not so neat list of jobs made each week, and then transferred each day to my diary. Items include shopping, appointments, exercise, books to read, writing times. A mushrooming memorandum of my life.

In town I dutifully go from one shop to another ticking off food items as I go,and then finding the coffee reward .On the way though, before or after, I can nip into an Op shop “just to check if there are any large saucepans“(I am laudably cooking healthy food in large quantities during this time)“We need some more plates”(to replace those I drop daily in a rush to get outside in this blissful sunny weather and sick of cooking).

Inevitably I make my way to those racks of brightly coloured assorted clothes. Yes ,I need a warmer sweater, a strapless summer dress, a dance frock,(in the pre Covid days that is). And always there are scarves: all the colours I love, red and orange and yellow and the occasional blue. Silk scarves ,a bargain, cotton scarves,flimsy wisps of floating georgette or strongly stated satin; in winter knitted mohair and pure wool, patterned and plain, warm around the neck. Sure to set off my standard outfit of jeans and top, and jacket.

I get to the counter and there just happen to be some earrings that go with the scarf or scarves. More bargains to join the earring collection I have at home, perched on the window ledge like so many sparrows: earrings for every day, every mood -and it used to be for every gig. I used to have large dangly earrings, brightly coloured to match my brightly coloured hair. Now the brightly coloured hair is grey and my ears cannot sustain heavy earrings -but some of them remain on that ledge.

Blue wooden ones and some twisty lolly looking ones from a couple of trips to Melbourne, a wooden orange owl, one of a pair from the same place bought at a garage sale, a fun morning with my daughter in law wandering the street sales, the dangly retro ones powder blue and pink from my daughter in law, my favourite happy ones .The small beaded ones from the Fremantle bead shop,now closed, one ill matched pair remaining from several I bought so that I can lose one and still have a pair. $4 a pair ,so several to lose.The small skull ones: pink and orange and red pairs from the same place .But I dont wear them now because I no longer find the skulls amusing .

In fact , as I wrote at the beginning of this blog-I can’t go to op shops during this time of Covid. So my distracting and calming game of Lets Pretend To be Somewhere/Someone Else has been paused. Scarves and earrings are effective, easy ,economical and flexible transformers.

We can all afford a scarf or a pair of earrings. The fix is harmless and a happiness booster. A brief moment out of the lists sitting in our heads and we can transform ourselves. We can move to another unspecified place and just be whoever,wherever,however. And Hats?Well thats another story.

I used to have lots of hats

PS Op Shops in Fremantle are opening on Monday. Just in time -I need some warm scarves .