Like many people of my generation I was a big fan of the sitcom “The Good Life” in which Richard Briers and Felicity Kendal decided to become self-sufficient and live off stuff they grew in their suburban garden. They taught the UK that it was possible to be green, as well as green-fingered and green with jealousy for jammy Tom Good, who certainly wasn’t self-sufficient when it came to the bedroom.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live like that? Not just happily boffing Felicity Kendal every night (though I would still be very happy to give that a go), but to not be part of the rat race or ever have to go to the shops.
I am never going to do it. Firstly I live in Shepherd’s Bush, where no plant or animal could survive, but secondly it seems like an awful lot of effort.
But I have decided to do my bit for the environment and set myself a challenge that will release me from one aspect of our capitalist society. I am going to try and live the rest of my life without ever buying any more soap, shower gel or shampoo.
Don’t worry, I am still planning to wash on at least a daily basis. I am just wondering if it is possible to do that without directly purchasing any of the body-cleansing products that are currently costing me upwards of £25 a year.
I spend somewhere between 30 and 50 nights a year in hotel rooms, most of which provide me with a little bottle of shampoo, a little bottle of shower gel and a bar of soap. As I am often a solo traveller, I quite often get two of each of the bottles. Sometimes, in posher hotels they are more generous still and give you larger containers. I always feel it’s incredibly wasteful if I leave any of this stuff behind (the soap particularly – it’s often a reasonable sized bar and I use it maybe four times during my stay). So usually I take anything I haven’t used back home with me. For some reason we are expected to steal the smellies from the hotel, though they seem less happy if you take the TV or the furniture, I’ve found.
So I am wondering if I can manage to make all this stuff last long enough to never have to buy it myself.
You may say I’m a dreamer. And in this case I might be the only one.
Given I already have an impressive store of tiny bottles, I think I might be able to. Plus when I go to the gym (which is by no means a regular occurrence as you may have guessed) they have free shampoo and gel in the showers. I mean, yeah, it’s not exactly free. Some months I pay £80 to use absolutely none of it. But if the hotel stuff all ends up down the drain, the gym booty might be enough to keep me going. I don’t think I would ever stoop to taking an empty bottle with me to fill up when no one is looking, but desperate times may call for desperate measures. The shampoo/shower gel magnates will never see another penny from me.
I shall miss the tantalising tingle of Original Source Mint Shower gel on my nether regions, but when you’re trying to make a Good Life, you sometimes have to give up on perverted luxuries. And maybe I can pop round to Margo Leadbetter’s house and use her posh Jo Malone stuff when she’s not in.
Wish me luck.
Congratulations to Team GB for the incredibly strong showing at the Olympics. I wanted to be there with you, but apparently being able to run 100 metres in 45 seconds left me just outside the qualifying time. Kudos also to Michael Phelps for winning his 23rd gold medal. But if I was his mum I’d make him share those out with the other boys and apologise for him being such a show-off.