About this blog

This is a window into the weird world of Anglicanism, as experienced on a Cathedral Close. Has anything much happened since Trollope's Barchester Chronicles? You will still see the 'canon in residence' hurrying across to choral Evensong, robes flapping, as the late bell chimes. But look carefully and you will notice he is checking the football score on his iPhone as he runs. This is also a writer's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the novelist's life. And it's a fighter's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the judo mat. Well, the agony, anyway.

Friday, 6 January 2012


It's the Feast of Epiphany.  Therefore I must dress appropriately.  And this means clothes suitable for the taking down of Christmas decorations.  Yes: another 'slumping day'.  It's the old Soulcal trackies and manky black trainers, but this time with a grey long sleeved T-shirt (Gap, lost in the mists of time) and what my older son calls 'cheeky knitwear'.

In this case the cheeky knitwear is a big black cable knit zip-up cardigan with a hood.  I bought it a couple of winters ago with some Christmas money from Dorothy Perkins.  It's gone very bobbly and saggy.  And is now porcupined with Christmas tree needles.  Originally it had pom-poms attached to long strings, but I cut them off as they were a strangling hazard and soup disaster just waiting to happen.  Also, pom-poms?  Do I look like a pom-pom kind of woman?  What are small pom-poms trying to say, exactly?  I aspire to be a cheer leader?  I have no knackers, so I'll wear midget pom-poms to compensate?

But today will be a two outfit day.  This evening we are going to Muswell Hill for a 50th birthday dinner.  For this I shall wear a black bodycon dress.  What is a bodycon dress?  To save you the bother of Googling it, here's the answer: 'Bodycon is short for body conscious, which means it is really tight and close fitting to the body.'

My bodycon dress came from a charity shop, and is one of the very last clothes purchases I made before the Resolution kicked in.  I am confident that it will live up to its name and I shall be all to conscious of every bulge my body possesses in this cruellest of seasons (when abstinence has been miserably applied, but so far to no visible effect).  It was originally from Next,  and on the plus side, it has a lowish wide square neck (good--avoids the Ooh Matron effect) 3/4 length sleeves (good--avoids the bingo wings effect) and the length is just below the knee (good--avoids the 'built for comfort not for speed' effect).

Rather thrillingly, it is a size 10.  That's a new size 10.  We all know that this is about a size 14, though, don't we?  About 15 years ago clothes retailers saw which way the wind was blowing and stealthily increased their dress sizes.  M&S alone were completely open about this.  And we LOVE the new sizing!  It means that we are now a size 10 again!  By which we mean we can get into a size 10, though 12 is more comfy (i.e we are an old size 14).  But we'll call it a size 10, because when we've lost a few pounds we will be.  If you reject this theory of mine, try going to a vintage clothing shop and looking at a size 12 skirt.  If you can get the waistband round your thigh you will be doing well.

Bodycon dresses traditionally require a pair of stout control pants.  My experiments in this department have convinced me that these garments do not control fat so much as displace it.  Your tummy may be flat, but you will have a roll just under your bust instead, or a pair of fat ruffs halfway down your thighs.  Plus you will probably need a catheter as well if you plan to drink anything.  In an emergency you can call the fire brigade to cut you out of your control-wear, but this, as every women knows, is a situation of negative dignity.

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