Hello Again, Old Friend.

Today my part of the world bent its head into the wind, turned up a collar and headed towards autumn. We have had more rain than you could beat with a long ash stick this summer, but yesterday it was noticeably colder. The wind had a sting that reached through shirt and skin and plucked the bones. Evenings are getting darker. Sooner. The day still lasts twenty four hours but biological clocks are easily fooled.
There are fewer swallows hawking for fewer insects. They need to take a hint and start out for the south. Soon.
So time to think about adjusting the clothing.
I opened the wardrobe door to look for my “avalanche coat. Bought –almost – on a whim from a store in Birmingham that just happened to be having a sale on a day we were heading to re-visit the pre-Raphaelite collection in the superb Museum and Art Gallery.
We also, incidentally bought up what seemed like a couple of shelves of books from Watersmiths (or something like that)
Avalanche coat? It is deep russet red, fully lined to a standard tog rating beyond our winter duvet. Great pockets – and plenty of ‘em…. And a device in the shoulder that if hit by an avalanche begins a transponder signal that works on a frequency used by European mountain rescue teams.
Impressive eh? OK, unlikely to be needed, but you never know do you? I took it to Brasov in October, because the locals said there would be snow: there was until the day I got there and I was basking in glorious mountain sunshine for the duration. True some locals were concerned to see me wandering around in just a short sleeved T shirt, but as my mother would (still) say:
“Where’ there’s no sense there’s no feeling!”
But I pulled the coat out of the wardrobe, shrugged into it: it really almost falls into place immediately. It’s heavy I guess (all that space age technology lining and quilting) but never feels it.
The undeniable impression is one of comfort, of warmth, of never being cold when wearing it. Wind-cheating, heat-saving body armour, reassuring and comfortable, like meeting an old friend again. The colour of autumn leaves, the inside of oak bark and steady embers, must be visible for miles in the snow and radiating smooth confidence.
(Of course, so far this is only a relatively young coat, for rough work outside I still have my thrice-waxed Barbour: cartridge pocket full of baling string and odd gloves: another well-respected old friend.
I love the colours and drama of autumn, remembering what was, allegedly, once said by a Norwegian –“there’s no such thing as bad weather, only poor clothes” The fall season is here, bring it on!
24th September, 2012


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