But this year a quantum shift has happened to my charity shop habits. I used to head straight for the records, CDs and books – but have reached saturation point: I own over 300 records, 1,000 CDs and 500 books in a small, overcrowded flat, and actually need to read and listen to some of them. So, the shift also occurred when I realised I hadn't bought a pair of jeans in a decade; mine all had holes (Gap jeans with gaps) in the pockets (loose change tumbling down my leg in particular became quite annoying) and were misshapen and worn. So, I went to buy a new pair of Levi's and did a double take when I saw the £80 price tag. I decided to look for jeans in charity shops. Admittedly it involved a fair degree of hunting in order to get the right size but after a weekend of searching I emerged with two pairs of Levi's, a pair of Wranglers (as new, unworn, with the labels still on) and two pairs of Abercrombie and Fitch, all for less than half the price of a new pair of Levi's (I'd recently had repairs to pockets to some of my old jeans and paid more for the alterations than a pair in a charity shop). If I was thinner I would have bought twice the amount – I saw lots of pairs of Levi's as new for less than a tenner, though usually size 28 or 30. This is all a revelation to me. I've never looked for clothes before but once I focus on one thing and one thing only, I find I have a fair degree of luck (yes, this is further evidence of my Asperger's-like obsessions). Condition of jeans in charity shops is generally and surprisingly very good; certainly a lot better nick than my ten-year-old rags. So, in short, now I look for clothes in charity shops and aren't afraid to say so. This is where the new barngains are.
Anyway: Eltham. It has lots of decent charity shops (and a Wimpy!) – Barnado's, Marie Curie, Scope, British Heart Foundation, Save the Children, Cancer Research, Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice Shop and Demelza House Trading Shop – all within ten minutes walk of each other (not that I managed to do all of them), either on or just off the High Street. Nothing spectacular, but all spacious, bright and reasonably priced. I looked for jeans first – tempted by a pair of grey Levi's (£8) but they were a tad tight – then moved onto records and books. I spotted an LP by The Enid called Something Wicked This Way Comes. I hadn't heard of the band, but liked the cover, looked them up, didn't feel the need to buy it. This is progress for me.