I suddenly stopped what I was doing and thought, “Is this normal? Does anyone else do this?” I was grafting the last sliver of a bar of soap onto a new bar so as not to waste any. Like so.

Exhibit A

I’ve been doing it all my life, just the way I was shown by my mum. Now, as a working class family in Birmingham we weren’t rich but Mum and Dad worked hard to feed and clothe us and pay the rent. They were used to being thrifty, looking for bargains, cheap cuts of meat, squeezing the last bit of toothpaste out of the tube. But soap grafts? I’ve never known anyone else do it. Do you?

Hold on though, there was something else.

Exhibit B

This is a cricket jumper. When you are little your jumpers get too small don’t they? And your mum buys you a bigger one. Oh no, not my mum. As I grew she’d buy a ball or two of white wool and knit an extension. Then another, then a third. It seemed the most natural thing in the world to me to have differing shades of white on the bottom of my jumper with the original stripe (yellow/black in the above example) up around my chest somewhere. The sleeves must have got the same attention. I wondered by the other boys used to giggle.

Did I have the worst mum in the world or are these things quite normal?