Friday, 26 February 2016

Gracie & Stitch.

You all know by now that my love for charity shops has reached new levels in the past few months. I am frequently visiting the ones near me to comb through their clothes rails and ransack their bookshelves. I'm constantly being surprised, too - gorgeous glossy recent YA releases, nearly-new Topshop dresses, maybe even a snazzy ceramic photo frame. I have posted my charity shop book hauls too many times on social media, but I just get so excited when a paperback I've been meaning to buy is on offer for just 50p! 
These places are sacred spaces full of treasures, especially for a penniless graduate. 
Anyway, this is a story of my latest charity shop steal. (Not literal steal...I paid, I promise) 
It was this guy. One of my truest, eternal and alien loves. Stitch. 


On my way through Leytonstone the other day (en route to All You Read Is Love, now one of my favourite London cafes!) I almost walked straight past this lovely charity shop, 
Haven House...luckily, my heart stopped me in my tracks. 
Because I saw him. This huge blue bundle of happiness. Experiment 626! 
This perfect pristine plush fella sat in the window smiling out at the street. I was shocked at how delighted, mischievous and, well, clean he looked, given that he was marooned in a charity shop in East London. I rushed up to the window and peered at him, wondering if I could see a price. The tag on his ear said £12. He would be about three times that in a Disney store, surely. But still, £12...I don't have £12. I can't justify it. I can't. I mustn't. 
For some reason I still wanted to go into the shop. I considered popping in on my way back from my coffee fix (and I'm glad I didn't because that would have been over 5 hours later...) but ended up just walking straight in right then. 

When I went up to the counter to purchase a cute top I'd found (another pristine find, only £3 and the brand was Etam, remember them?!) I couldn't stop myself looking longingly towards the front window. 
'Oh, I'm so so tempted by that Stitch you have in the window. He's gorgeous!'
The super-chic woman behind the counter cocked her head. 'Where's he? Take me to him!' 
So I did. 
She picked him up and looked for a price...I held my breath...she wasn't seeing the £12 tag, for some reason...
'Yeah, how much would he go for then?' I babbled breathlessly. 
She shrugged. 'Three quid, maybe?'
A squeal brewed in my throat, but I shushed it. 'YES THREE QUID YES PLEASE' I almost shouted in her face, making sure I sealed this deal before she found that tag. She did see it just after I exclaimed this, and still shrugged and handed him to me. In that moment she became my favourite human, like ever. I clutched him and almost full-on snuggled into him all the way back to the till, and I happily presented my card to pay £6, SIX WHOLE BRITISH POUNDS, for a delightful snazzy shirt and my darling Stitch. 
I keep telling myself I mustn't feel guilty. The charity shop will have been given him, remember, and they've made money, however little it was! Plus nobody else could ever give him as loving a home as I will. You might say I'll be his Lilo...


So I lugged him around London in a huge plastic bag for the rest of the day. I stored him on the baggage shelf on my train home, and placed him lovingly on my bedside table that night - after introducing him to my other, smaller, Stitch of course. Plus Baloo and Sully, who also sit beside my bed. 

Yes, I know I sound like a nut case writing this, but...Stitch is important to me.
I could say that's because he's a lone wolf, the only one of his kind, with no family to speak of. Oh, that is besides a mad inventor who created him for the sole purpose to wreck and destroy everything he ever touched. And yet he found himself a home, a family and a new, nicer purpose by the end of the film. I could say it's because he never gives up hope - he conquers his demons, he demonstrates that monsters can change themselves despite everything. 
Yes, it is partly that.
But it's also because he's effing cute, and I love the film, and I have the opening titles song (He Mele No Lilo, Kamehameha Schools Choir) on my phone to cheer me up on the worse mornings, and his voice is perfection (I can do a spot on impression, just fyi) and...my little Stitch toy, the one I bullied the parents into buying me at Disneyland LA many years ago, has been there for me in tricky times.
He was present in my bedroom(s) for my whole three years away from home, at uni. Then of course, he was a safe fixture on the ward in the neurological hospital when I had my first and second lots of surgery. He'd be by my side in bed the nights before the operations, and keep me company all day when I was waiting waiting waiting for visiting hours to roll around. I even brought him up to the flat I stayed in during radiotherapy once or twice, despite how silly that made me feel at times. 
Yeah. Stitch is important to me. End of. 
And I am so excited to have given this new guy a home. 


Ohana, y'all.


Haven House, Leytonstone: havenhouse.org.uk/leytonstone-charity-shop
Haven House (general site): havenhouse.org.uk 

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