Charity / Fashion / Inverness + Shire / Shop Review

You can leave your Hat on

This weekend just passed I was staying in Nairn, we had to go and look after the cat, Tiggy, while the in-laws were away. Bless his cotton socks, Tiggy is starting to go blind, and there’s a three legged cat that keeps coming in and stealing his food, which gives you some idea of his frailty.

I recently wrote about Byltheswood in Inverness, and this Nairn store runs along the same principal, a large space that is filled with great items. But one aspect of this charity shop set it aside from a lot of the other charity shops – their selection of hats. I am concerned by this as I have a wedding to go to in October and I am determined to wear some sort of bird cage.

So, down to business. This charity shop has a great selection of hats, and while many can be hit or miss, it’s worth having a search if you don’t fancy spending £300 of your hard earned pennies on a new one. Hat’s are funny creatures. If you spend a lot of money on a striking hat, you sort of limit where you can wear it, not least for the fact that you incredibly obvious if you trot out the same one for 4 social occasions, most of which will have some sort of social overlap. So be savvy and pick up a hat from a charity shop for £10. You can always donate it back again, and then go on the hunt for a new one when the next wedding/christening/funeral comes around:

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And secondly, the shop layout. You walk through the door and you are met with a wall of shoes, always a good start:

The Inverness Blytheswood has a furniture room, Nairn Blytheswood has a book room, or library as they’re more commonly known… only you don’t have to run out with 3 books stuffed down your pants if you want to take them home, no, you can buy these books:

I got chatting to the man who I presume was the manager, and he was telling me about how he acquired the flat above the shop and extended up in to there. The upstairs is split into two rooms, each nicely full of clothing, and it was up here that I met the loveliest lady.

I always like chatting to people who volunteer in charity shops. Unlike the throngs of bored teenagers working their Saturdays begrudgingly in Gap for minimum wage, these people are there because they want to be there. Whether it’s for the cause of the charity, the fact that they have always liked the charity shop, or because they have great friends there, they actively take time out of their lives to volunteer.

The lady I met made me laugh by saying that she was the oldest volunteer there, and that as a result they all kept an eye on her! She told me that she had been volunteering at the store for 8 years, and that her husband had passed away some time ago, so her regular days that she volunteers, Tuesdays and Thursdays, broke up the week and that she had made some good friends through it. I didn’t as how old she was, after all it’s unbecoming of a lady to answer the question, let alone ask it, but I did ask why she was in there in on a Saturday. “Well, some of the other volunteers are on holiday you see, so I thought I would help out.” It’s always a choice, and volunteers choose to be there, so they’re not sullen, or sarcastic, or rude, they’re cheerful and helpful, and always ready for a chat. It’s people like this lady that remind me, aside from the cut price fashion, why I enjoy my forays into charity shops so much.


One thought on “You can leave your Hat on

  1. That shop looks great – a wall of shoes and a fab selection of hats *sigh*

    i agree with you regarding the whole post, but particularly about chatting to the volunteers.

    I spoke to a lady today at my local sally army shop who sounds like a vintage goddess. She regularly brings in a suitcase of 60s/70s clothing as she’s ‘clearing out her wardrobe’.

    HOW BIG IS HER WARDROBE? I want to meet her and thank her for all the lovely things I’ve got recently (and to get first dibs!) 🙂

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