25 April 2011


My every day shoulder bag.
I had occasion today to want something I had in my bag. Since when I started my circumnavigation in 1998 I have been carrying some form of bag to hold my things, since pockets alone were not enough. I started with a small rucksack, but in 2006 when Hanna and I first visited South Africa I have been carrying a shoulder bag which I bought there. My first shoulder bag was a small black one, but a few years ago I bought the one you see here. 

I surprised myself today when I opened it to find I seem to carry a lot of stuff. Is it all necessary and how does my bag differ from that carried by other people?

The more or less every day contents of my bag!

In Morocco Hanna and I formulated the rule that we never go out without a camera, sunglasses and an umbrella! That is because the sun always shone, but it did surprise us often in that it also rained. In fact if you look closely there are two sets of sunglasses in their cases. I fancy myself as an amateur photographer who as a travel and street photographer, must be ready for anything. Hence I do carry my camera more or less regularly. I had the flash in it over Easter as well, just in case. My Leatherman tool lives in the bag, as does my passport and the wallet with my driver's licence and the car's documents. A torch is a must, as is spare batteries and memory cards for the camera. A handkerchief, is a hangover from my cub scout days, since today I use paper ones, which are also in the bag. Next to the handkerchief is a red lens cleaning cloth. Then as I am older I need to carry anti diarrhoea pills and something to settle an upset stomach. One does not want to get caught out, it can be embarrassing. Matches are also a left over from cub scout days, since I do not smoke. A nice new cotton carrier bag, a gift from a friend, is a must since one never knows what one may buy, and then how do you carry it? A set of visiting cards, supermarket coupons, a gift voucher and peppermints were found too. Last but not least is a pen and my diary. What you may ask was a I doing with a workman's ruler? Well I have been out a couple of times to buy new window boxes and I wanted to make sure I got the right size.

When I go about by bike, then I change the bag to my bike one and most things then get put in that.

My bike bag

One bag I should perhaps mention, is one I used to carry in the 70's and 80's when I smoked a pipe! It was a small black leather men's handbag, in which I kept up to 6 pipes, a tobacco pouch and other pipe smoker's accoutrements. I carried that every where, even in uniform! However, while I served in Uganda, after Idi Amin, I only had 2 pipes in it, as it then also contained my fully loaded 9mm Browning pistol and spare magazine.

The one other item  I did not mention about today's bag is my mobile phone. It does not tend to live in the bag during the week. I carry it in a pocket most of the time. When travelling in foreign parts I carry it attached to me, or when cycling attached to the cycle bag as you can see here. There are a couple of things missing which every good boy scout my age will know. Fourpence for a phone call and a piece of string. Well with a mobile phone the need for fourpence has been superseded, but the lack of string means I'm a lapsed boy scout. I promise to do better next time.


  1. Of course, a girl woulod never go out without her lippy & mascara, mirror, hairbrush, perfume & other essentials. I also have a magic spray in the summer to keep me cool and a small towel ... then I need some plasters and a spare pare of shoes for when my feet get blisters. In the winter, I exchange these for scarf & gloves. Of course, I always make sure I have my taxi fare home and in London, my Oyster card. Lastly, I never go anywhere without a bottle of water.

  2. Yes, thanks for reminding me about the plasters which I forgot to mention, but boy scouts don't use lipstick. I find my bag useful for carrying all sorts of things and would now not be without one.

  3. Thank you for linking to the Teddy Bears Picnic. You have a very interesting blog. I very much enjoyed the read.

  4. My bears have accompanied me everywhere. I like them as they can be your best friend, they never tell your secrets and never eat your last piece of chocolate. When I travel a bear goes in my hand luggage, so in my bag! ;-)