Tuesday 22 November 2011

New Coat

My first full winter in the UK I needed a proper coat suitable for the English weather.  Not entirely sure I know what this is now and I certainly didn't know what that was then given the broad spectrum of weather you are likely to encounter in the country during the months of October - March. 

In Colorado this is an easy questions to answer.  You either need a triple down for the blizzard like conditions or no coat at all.  I've worn shorts in February in that state but of course that was back when my blood was thicker and I was foolish.

In Germany you just needed a raincoat.  All year round.  End of.  You might add a scarf in January but you would definitely need to hang it up to dry every night.

In the winter of 1997-98 I was working in London on Old Bond Street above the brand new flag ship Calvin Klein store.  And I had money to burn.  During my lunch hour I popped in and invested in a gorgeous dark charcoal grey wool coat.  I paid nearly the same as my rent for this garment but I figured it was an investment for life.  It had deep pockets and was double breasted to keep the wind out (when I could get it buttoned).  It went with everything.  It could be fancy or casual.  It has served me well.

I very shortly lost the unsecured belt.  I knew that was going to be a problem when I bought the coat but choose to ignore this miniscule flaw in my investment.  I have stitched and restitched the lining of the coat more than a half a dozen times.  I lost nearly all the buttons and the replacements don't match exactly.  The arms are pilled and given I've gained considerable weight since then the coat hasn't actually buttoned up for some time.  Although I blame this on the ill fitting buttons we all know that isn't really the underlying cause.  The hem had to be repaired last winter just before the coats last outing and I knew then that after 14 years of dedciated service it was time to retire the old girl.

Which of course meant that I had to buy a new coat.  I hear squeals of delight out there from my shopaholic faction.  Regrettably, I am not a member.  Shopping is a competitive sport worthy of an Olympic gold medal best left to well trained experts.  I am not one of those.  I find no joy in shopping.  In fact it is high on my stress trigger list and if I didn't ever have to do it, I wouldn't.

This, however, was inevitable and necessary.  I entered the shop with my shields up and defenses on stun.  I was on a mission.

A long army green puffer coat was too small and made me look like a mouldy marshmallow and I swear those ladies I was sharing a mirror with were laughing at me.  The black shawl coat with the faux fur collar was about 4 sizes too big so it looked like a superhero cape and it wasn't lined so was going to be about as useful as a chocolate teapot in the dead damp cold of January. 

Nearing the point of throwing in the towel I found a long taupe down coat which fit perfectly and didn't actually look all that badly.  I knew if I hesitated I would freeze this winter so I headed for the till.  On my way there I also found a lovely winter satchel which I just couldn't live with out for the bargain basement price of £29.  SOLD!  It would match my new coat I practiced saying for my husband's benefit.

I put the coat on outside after removing the tags and stuffed the old coat into my shopping bag.  So much for respecting the old.  It looked great.  It felt great.

Soon I was sweating like a pig on a spit.  I found myself wishing I'd covered my entire body in anti-perspiration.  I removed the coat and carried it around.  It was a bit like carrying a king sized duvet.  This morning I took the dog for a walk.  I put on the coat and 5 minutes into the walk I had to remove it due to a reoccurence of the perspiration. 

I had executed my plan for a new coat and ended up buying a double sleeping bag.  The weather better turn to sub zero very soon or I will be needing to buy another less effective coat this weekend.  But the satchel is great!

Monday 21 November 2011

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost... I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in this same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall in... it's a habit... but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
I walk down another street.
--Portia Nelson