Witches’ Knickers

Yesterday I discovered a pair of witches knickers* in the tree in front of my house.. sorry no photo but just search for images online and you’ll see what I mean.

Anyway, this was embarrassing in so many ways – the tree, which causes a mountain of leaves to fall on the pavement and block the gutters for miles around every autumn, drops lovely but fertile sycamore seedlings in every patch of bare soil or crack between the paving stones every spring, was now attracting inappropriate ladies’ underwear, otherwise known as litter. Not at all respectable in suburban Edinburgh.

But I was saved by the arrival of my little brother in a very large van. He had just given me a lift back from a garden centre with some useful garden loot when we noticed the offending item. Out he hopped ‘Don’t worry, I’ve got a stepladder in the back’. With the aid of the stepladder and some handy plumbing rods (don’t ask, it’s been one of those weeks) the knickers were unhooked from the tree.

Respectability restored all round and we’ve acquired a whole 5p worth of handy carrier bag for the next trip to a garden centre.

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*For any historians who might happen to read this, I can vouch for the almost certain 17th century origin of the phrase. Extensive historical research suggests that the carrier bag charge was not introduced in Scotland until 2014, suggesting a very long folkloric tradition for the term.

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