What to wear to an installation? Clearly a lot will depend on what kind of installation you are attending. If you are plumbing in a new gas appliance then overalls and steel toe-cap boots would be appropriate. If, on the other hand, your husband is about to be installed as Dean of Liverpool, then that would be an eccentric sartorial choice.
With this in mind, I surveyed my wardrobe, which as you know has not been added to during 2012. Or not by me. Kind friends have given me the occasional garment, and for this I am very grateful. It was one such gift that I chose to wear yesterday afternoon. But first the anguish, the tears. You need to hear about them. (And I apologise to anyone who has visited this blog to find out what the archbishop was up to in the rope aisle of Laird's DIY, we will get back to him in due course.)
Back in the dying days of December I cunningly purchased a very smart silk wrap-over dress, just in case I ever had occasion to wear it. All through the long months of clothing boredom I have resisted wearing this dress. But then alas, a couple of weeks ago I tried it on and consulted a trusted adviser who was visiting from Australia (not for that sole purpose, admittedly) and she decreed that it was very nice, but not dramatic enough for the occasion. Liverpool cathedral is the largest Anglican cathedral in the galaxy. Subtle and understated just doesn't wash. Why, the new dean himself had to get a brand new russet cassock! And no girl of spirit likes to be upstaged by a mere cleric.
So on the advice of my Australian consultant I wore the fabulous coat dress I wore on Easter day (see left). I teamed it with my black body con dress, a pair of black Jasper Conran tights (rather snagged, but people should have been concentrating on the prayers not my legs) and some stupid black shoes which required me to take a couple of Ibuprofen at the end of the day. I did not wear a hat. There's no point spending a fortune on a haircut and then wearing a hat. Besides, it was windy. I would have been snatched up like Mary Poppins and assumed into heaven.
Well, it was a lovely day. Mr Dean (clerk in holy orders, right trusty and well-beloved of the queen--you've got to love those Letters Patent) is the 7th Dean of Liverpool, which means he has special powers, rather like the 7th son of a 7th son. He can levitate and bi-locate, and cause the bells to ring by thought power alone. He has many rights and appurtenances too. We don't know what they are, but we will be insisting upon them.