I am now nearly halfway through my year of not buying myself any new clothes or accessories. I'm happy to report that so far I have managed to resist temptation. On occasion I've had to sing the old hymn to myself in order to stay with the programme: 'Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin!' My sisters and I used to sing that to one another when we were growing up, if one of our number was seen near the biscuit tin. We also used to get the money out of the Missionary Box with a knife, and Spoonerise hymns ('As with madness Glen of old'). Oh, you'd be amazed the naughty things that Daughters of the Manse got up to back in the 70s.
Yes, there have been times in the last six months when I have leant heavily on my Nonconformist heritage for support. There have also been times when I have mentally explored the liberating realms of casuistry suddenly available to me as an Anglican. This is what has enabled me to come up with the ruling that other people can buy me clothes. Or that I can borrow clothes. Nobody can bend the rules like an Anglican. I know you're thinking What about Roman Catholics? but the C of E only came about by a piece of spectacular rule-bending by Henry VIII.
I will leave better minds to debate the origins of Anglicanism, and move on to my confession. I did, on one shameful occasion last month, bend my own rules. I visited Liverpool on a grey and rainy day, only to have the sun come out. There I was, stranded on Merseyside without any sunglasses. So I bought myself a pair. Here's where the casuistry came in: if you have blue eyes (as I have) you are at greater risk of developing cataracts. Therefore you need to protect your eyes from UV light. Thus an emergency pair of sunglasses are not an accessory so much as an essential piece of medical equipment.
And anyway, they were a quid from the Pound Shop. Here they are, on the car dashboard, with a glimpse of Lichfield cathedral in the background:
My feeling about sunglasses is that you may as well buy cheap ones. That way it doesn't matter if you leave them on the bus or sit on them. Besides, if you wear them with panache, people will assume they are expensive.