I saw this cracking suit in a store on Sunday. Marketing wise, it appeared to be cleverly placed just inside the store entrance and though I describe it as a suit, it turned out to be sold as separates. Let me describe this vision to you. Made from what you would identify as needle cord and in an autumnal reddish brown colour, the jacket and trousers had been put together on the mannequin in an expert way, so much so that it stopped me in my tracks. I had really just ventured into the store to have a wee mooch around and see if they had any garb that might catch my eye. More in hope than expectation, given the sea of blandness which I am accustomed to see on display.
So it was with a new found enthusiasm for the contents on offer that I headed up a few floors to the 'Men's Department'. Once there I attempted to seek out what had now become, in my mind, the most cherished garments. In the lift, I had even envisioned and planned out my entire get up: recently bought brown boots and collarless white shirt. It was all coming together in my mind.
On reaching the department, I wandered around the dull and un-inspirational clothing on display casting an eager eye, left and right, seeking out my prey. However, the quarry was nowhere to be found and after circling the room once more and being unable to locate my goal, I decided reluctantly to seek out help. I say reluctantly as when I did enquire at the checkout, they probably call it a pay station or some such, I was met with quizzical looks. I explained the vision I had seen on entering the store and that I had traversed the floor twice with zero success in finding the goods. It was as if I was setting an inexplicable conundrum as the three sales staff cast doubting glances among their group.
Then, as luck would have it, I glanced it out of the corner of my eye, a dummy attired in 'my jacket'. It was at this point that the real performance began, with the initial sales assistant advising me they were 'going through the back to see if the jacket and trousers were in stock'. Then, on finding out that there were two such jackets somewhere in store, though not necessarily the two on display as they might be off system, they attempted unsuccessfully to ascertain if the jacket or jackets on display were the size I required at 40 inch short. The solution proposed was that they find a ladder and remove the jacket to identify the size. If unsuccessful in locating the clothing, I would be able to order online.
Some might see that as going above and beyond. However, in the excitement of discovering there may be a jacket my size, somewhere in store, the assistant, who I suspect may even have been a manager, appeared to have forgotten the trousers. It was on reminding her of this that she committed the grievous error. I quote: 'What size would you be looking for, 36 waist?' The ensuing silence was palpable and lingered for a good few seconds. 'You what?' I heard myself splutter finally. Being on the short side, I could only imagine the shape I would be were that the case. 'Size 30 in waist,' I answered defiantly. 'These jeans are 28 (with turn ups) so yes 30.' 'Ah,' was the further response, 'smallest size in trousers is 32 in waist,' and with that, the transaction came to an abrupt end.
In out in out / shake it all about / they do the hokey kokey and they turn around / that's what it's all about.
And just the right time of year for their message... if that's the right word. November. The last glowing embers of glorious autumn colour rustle their goodbyes in the cooling breeze, replaced by the dismal gloom of early winter squalls. The clocks are back, the days are shortening, the scarves and gloves are given another airing for anyone intent on joining the Black Friday queues.
Not so in the wee swamp, where yours truly had the temerity, the other day, to look out beyond the parapet and find out how the world was doing. Dissonant choruses of the above-mentioned weel-kent number were all around, especially on the airwaves. Public figures scurrying hither and yon, shamelessly seeking an indication as to whether, at that moment, or that afternoon, they were in or out. A lucky few learned, or were led to believe, that (a) they were both, and (b) it made no difference.
Meanwhile, the public services to which they claim some kind of association – a necessary inconvenience in order to secure the pay cheque – are down the drain, resembling nothing more in terms of colour and fragrance than the tide of sewage oozing out from a Cornish beach.
The accompanying noises were depressingly familiar: squabling and braying, thumbs tapping in the twitosphere, brain boxes rattling in search of brain cells. Another day, another turnaround, not quite through the revolving door as that would imply a sense of direction, but enough to get the hacks and hounds of the studios jostling with umbrellas and microphones, and each other. Elsewhere, in the hallowed corridors, much effing and blinding.
Enough. Needs must make a decision to re-focus, reconnect with the sights and sounds of the world above and beyond the ancient sturdy walls. And lo! The wild geese are overhead, hundreds of them, lifting off from their pit stop on the east coast; wings beating, squawking in ever-changing skeins as they fly south for pastures new. No turning around. Absent the weel-kent number.
Time then to savour the memory, retreat into the warming recesses of the wee swamp, attend to end-of-day duties for the feline lodger. And finally... Duvet over the head. Bliss.
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