So, my mother and I are sitting at the kitchen table, at about four in the afternoon, discussing getting my father into town and buying a new coat for him. Currently he goes to lots of meetings in London and so on, wearing his shabby old cagoule, which probably smells of heath and heather and bogs and wind and rain, and doesn’t exactly look good with a suit. He used to have a long swishy raincoat/overcoat (what are they called?) in darkish greyish beige (it was really rather nice) which got rather ripped in the lining and then was left on a train (and he calls me disorganised!).
So my father accepts that it’s probably about time to get a new coat, and asks what kind of coat he ought to have, and mum and I both come down very definitely on the idea that it really should be a smart black wool number. Dad then tells us how he spent ‘just under a hundred pounds’ on his last coat… back in 1995 – and assumes he’ll be doing the same today. He then says, well, it’s nearly half four, we’d better be getting in, the shops shut at six don’t they?
Yes, in my father’s beautiful mental world, it is possible to spend less than a hundred pounds on a good quality built-to-last men’s coat, and to find exactly the right coat in probably about half an hour (once we’ve got ourselves out of the house and into town it’ll be past five by the time we get there). See why I rather envy it?
Mind you, this is, as my mother reminds me, also the mental world in which little old ladies in cars and shopmobility scooters hover at junctions waiting for my dad to arrive in his car, so they can pull out in front of him and dither and drive really slowly just to annoy him.
What’s the world like in your head?