I got a beautiful posh handbag in Marrakesh. It cost me about £30 but I reckon it would be much much more in this country. Lovely design, lovely leather - and a real bargain.....at least until I got home and realised my beautiful posh handbag was being seriously let down by my coat.
My coat is seven years old. It looks OK from the outside, so long as I keep it firmly buttoned up. The lining however is so ripped and shredded to bits that one friend who saw it asked me if I had been mauled by a dog recently. I had to try and avoid putting it on in public because nine times out of ten my hand would get stuck inside the lining rather than sliding out the arm as might be expected to happen. It tended not to look too dignified.
There was no avoiding the conclusion that I had to get a new coat to go with the new handbag. I went to Oxford Street on a mission.
I started at Oxford Circus tube station where for historical reasons I exercised particular care when travelling on the escalators and I decided to go left. That may not have been the best decision I ever made.
During the three hours that followed I went in every shop that sold women's clothes between Oxford Circus and Marble Arch looking for a coat. Who would ever have thought it could be so difficult?
Some of the shops had no coats for sale at all. Well why would they what with it being so hot and humid in February that no one would ever need to buy a coat? Other shops had coats so old fashioned my 71 year old mother wouldn't look twice at them. Then there were the fashionable coats. What is obviously 'in' in coats right now is short length, but I am tall and what constitutes short length for a female of average height was scarcely decent on me. What are also very 'in' are lots of buttons all over coats, but for one thing I wasn't after a Pearly Queen look, and for another in Zara - normally a favourite shop of mine, half the buttons on their coats had already come off. If I am going to spend rather a lot of money on a coat I don't think it is asking too much to expect all the buttons to be in place at point of purchase. My mood was darkening and my feet were aching. I got to the last hope - M&S at Marble Arch.
M&S had a coat I 'quite' liked. It was grey. Quite short but did at least reach my knees. I tried to persuade myself it wasn't 'boring' as it seemed clear I would not find another coat that afternoon and I couldn't face trying again another day. After much indecision I bought it on the grounds that I 'quite' liked it. I walked back up to Oxford Circus where I was going to meet Reidski but I was early and it was raining. I went in another shop to pass the time and try to keep dry. It was approximately 50 yards from the tube station where my mission to buy a coat had begun. There is a 'Sale' rail in this shop, and on it hangs the coat of my dreams reduced from £300 to £120. I try it on. It is perfect. I don't 'quite' like it, I LOVE IT. I buy it. I walk all the way back down Oxford Street to take the M&S coat back but somehow my feet don't ache anymore as there is a spring in my step brought about by finding the perfect coat. If only I had turned right at Oxford Circus in the first place I would have been spared much angst and shoe leather.
So my 'bargain' handbag ended up with me a further £120 out of pocket...but I am a very very happy new coat owner. I wonder if this is how Victoria Beckham feels when she buys some thing new to wear?
P.S. Quite unrelated but when I was thinking about Victoria Beckham for some reason I found myself googling stick insects and I found this. Recommended reading as it is both very strange and very funny.
Twelfth - *Regarding Saturday, August 12th....* Last Friday night, I reached The Cumbria Park Hotel in Carlisle exactly three hours after setting off from Sheffield...
1 day ago