I have come to the conclusion, dear readers that had Robinson Crusoe only been fortunate enough to have a lady’s handbag washed up on his shore, he and Man Friday would have been able to build an aeroplane to fly them off the island!

What in the name of all that is weird do women be doing with all the stuff they carry around in their handbag? Lads, how many of you have ever seen the entire contents of a woman’s handbag all out in one pile?

It’s a sight to behold. As someone who worked in many pubs, I have oft times come to the aid of a damsel in distress whose bag has just been overturned from a bar counter or table and you wouldn’t believe the things you would pick up off the floor – lucky I don’t talk!

The handbag was designed for the 1920’s woman because she needed something to carry her possessions in. In those days dresses had become skimpier, without pockets and women had growing independence which meant they began travelling without men. This was the start of it Lads!!

My wife’s handbag acts as her tool-box, filing cabinet, office, medicine cabinet and beauty treatment centre. This was brought home to me the other day when I asked if she knew where my car keys were. ‘Are they not hanging up on the hook? she asked.

I gently pointed out that if they were there, where they should be, that would have eliminated the need for this question in the first place. I further added that she was the last person to drive my car. Then came the most dreaded of directives: ‘Check if they are in my bag.’

I found the mad-red bag on the kitchen table and rammed a hand down into its murky depths – coming back up with the head of our granddaughter’s china doll – brought home to be stuck back on. The next dive produced a screwdriver, followed by a mini umbrella.

I dislodged a layer of miscellaneous items which was sitting on a paint colour chart half way down the bag. I feel a bunch of keys at last, but they turn out to be belonging to our daughter’s house – and which we couldn’t find last time in Westport.

The search resumes: Something soft turns out to be a piece of curtain material and a square of carpet. There is a scattering of photos from here and there, with no obvious reason for being transported. A small bottle of perfume is retrieved next, followed by the first of many tubes of lipstick of various colours. There is an open-ended tube of lipsyl with a small sachet of salt stuck to it, but still no keys.

Coming up next we have a baby teddy-bear with chocolate raisins stuck to his behind. A notebook with all shapes and colours of pens are extracted, along with hat, gloves and a small purse.

I used to think that foundation was cement poured into the ground but here I discover that it comes in jars as well, along with tubes of mascara. Mrs Youcantbeserious doesn’t smoke, but up comes a lighter and a book of matches from a hotel in Orlando. If this ordeal causes me to cry I have enough tissues extracted already to drain a pond – as a John Prine CD appears.

By now I am surely near the bottom of the bag – but still no keys. Foreign coins come up from places we’ve been to so long ago that I forget. I shake the bag and think I hear keys, but I cannot pinpoint which compartment.

Normally a patient man (ahem!) for once I am beginning to lose it, as I turn the bag upside down on the kitchen floor: More reading glasses tumble out and two pairs of sun-glasses – one with a lens missing. Two AAA batteries hit the deck along with a map of the streets of Dublin and half a dozen Elastoplast of various sizes.

Bag appears to be empty and still no keys! I open its jaws and give it a really good shake. A shower of business cards, credit card, old concert tickets, scribbled phone numbers, a medicine prescription and assorted receipts floats gently down on top of the pile.

I scratch my head with one hand, while absentmindedly putting the other one into my trouser pocket – and there I find my car key!!

Just as the keys clear the pocket, my beloved is standing beside me. You know the look Lads – nothing said! ‘I suppose I had better put some of this stuff back in your bag?’ – I offer sheepishly; ‘how much of it do you need?’ ‘All of it!’ … I’m told with exaggerated sweetness!

Don’t forget.

A woman’s intuition is that which enables her to put two and two together and come up with any answer that suits her.