Am singularly lacking in festive cheer. Thought: "I know. I'll go shooting." I have never been shooting before unless you count a couple of times at school and at fairs at those irritating ducks that paddle by regardless of the popping corks around them.
A friend set me up with a local shoot. I knew I needed some gear; I have a rough idea of what people who go shooting wear because I see them on a morning as I drive by on the school run - a lot of tweed, strange knickerbockers and cartridge belts. I tried to borrow what I needed but all I could muster was a waterproof coat the size of a tent and a pair of hunting socks. This particular combination might have made me quite popular on the shoot but I thought I might catch a chill. I went into a nearby country shop. The very charming man who owns it is a keen fan of shooting. He obviously approved of my decision to give it a go - I do not think he was influenced by the fact he was about to earn a walloping amount of money.
The "outfitter" held up a pair of the aforementioned knickerbockers or breeks as they are technically termed. They are supposed to finish just under the knee. This pair finished at my ankles. I think I must be shorter than the average "gun". He found me a smaller pair. When I say smaller - I mean leg length. Silk lined, tweed knickerbockers feel fabulous on, warm and roomy but they do nothing to minimise your backside. He handed me a checked shirt. I hated it immediately but it was in brushed cotton and I decided I could live with it if it kept me warm. I baulked at both the green and the orange lambswool jumpers on the grounds you had to draw a line somewhere but I decided I needed the fitted Barbour jacket because my only outdoor alternative is my fabuous floor length coat or a very scruffy tan suede jacket which is falling apart at the seams. The Barbour belts at the waist. I did not think this would be a brilliant idea bearing in mind the knickerbockers underneath but amazingly it worked very well. It was slightly World War Two ( - the Nazis not the good guys). I thought I was done until he handed me a tweed Gainsborough cap (same tweed as the knickerbockers). I looked a picture. I said to the outfitter: "I don't want to look like I'm cross-dressing you know." He laughed. He said: "Not at all." I am not sure if he realised what I meant by "cross-dressing". I think it is possible he thought I meant it made me look slightly mean rather than entirely fragrant. I bought the lot and the next morning climbed into my gear not forgetting the borrowed green hunting socks which are long and which you tie under the knee and over the cuff of the knickerbocker with a tasselled yellow gaiter. You then bend the sock back over the gaiter but allow the tassel to fall outside your wellington boots. I thought there was a chance I looked like a Principal Boy (absurd, cute, sexually ambiguous) and there was a chance I looked like Mr Toad (tweedy, green and fat). I came down to the kitchen. My six-year-old said: "Mummy - you look stupid." My four-year-old could not speak for laughing; the baby girl said "Where's Mummy?" and began to wail. My husband looked me up and down. He said: "Exactly how much did that lot cost?"
You've cheered me up no end wifey... I could just picture it, All the Best for 2008 xx
Since you didn't say anything about a gun - I'm assuming that your outfit is going to scare the wildlife to death?
And did you kill anything? (Out hunting, I mean, not there and then at the breakfast table.)
These fascinating vignettes of yours wifey - they make me think that you should be writing an educational history programme rather than a blog.
Don't know if you remember "How We Used to Live" but it was the sort of living history programme that ten year olds used to have to watch once a week for no apparent reason. I think they have been substituted by SATs now, which are probably even more useless.
Anyhow they are sure to want to revive this programme - it's like Doctor Who (only not as good, obviously) it needs reviving and you are just the girl to do it.
In your britches of course.
OMG I had such a giggle imagining your get-up - I hope there wasn't as much hilarity when you arrived at the hunt. Looking forward to the next installment. BTW Merry Christmas all.
Remember 'looks' don't matter in the country - just warmth and comfort.
I takeback my previous comments emploring you to stay up up North, you do need to get back to London, life in the North and in the country is far too taxing on you and also on your purse.
Merry Christmas Wifey, am writing this early Boxing Day morning, so hope you're having a good one.
All best wishes for 2008.
Ah, but at least you purchased this outfit with the honest intention of wearing it for its true purpose. The streets of Edinburgh abound with people in similar get-ups (strawberry and mustard-coloured cord trousers also feature) who are miles away from any shooting and who might, indeed, run the risk of being mistaken for prey in their plumage.
Merry Christmas, Wifey! And all the best for 2008.
Very merry Christmas, my dear.
Once the Barbour's got the newness worn off it, it'll be simply great, - for everything. It is practical and in the city is the ultimate fashion statement which says to the Fashion Police, "Sod the lot of you, I'll make my own going!" So go for it WITN, please do.
Hope you had a good Christmas and you have a proper Borders Hogmanay. All the best...
Happy 2008 to you and may ink flow freely to your pen for the next year!!
Hilarious book, lots of diry looks as I guffawed my way thru the book.
Wonderful descriptions and use of language.
And...apart from my own copy, I bought 3 more for Xmas presents to other young mums.
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