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.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Print Trousers

Prints are big at the moment.  I have very few print garments in my wardrobe.  In fact, I secretly despise this trend, especially all these daft tropical skirts and parrot shirts.  I've been rather relieved to have the excuse to opt out of this particular fashion.  

That said, I've developed a certain hankering for tribal print trousers.  They look slouchy and comfortable, and like judo trousers, everyone's bum looks big in them.  Oh well.  Resist the devil and he will flee before you, as the Good Book says.  The hankering will pass, I told myself.  After all, whole days go past now without my even thinking about those ankle boots in my size I didn't buy from the charity shop back in January, those perfect ankle boots, in my size, from Clark's for £7, black with buckle detailing.  Hardly ever think about those.

It wouldn't be quite so bad if I hadn't once possessed exactly such a pair of print trousers until the fatal thought occurred to me I will never wear those again, and I slung them.  To be strictly honest, they weren't my trousers.  They belonged to the chancellor.  They were an emergency purchase 9 years ago in Bangkok when they wouldn't let him into some temple or other in his shorts.  How our sons and I laughed at him in his baggy tribal print trousers!  He has never worn them since.

But then, lo!  A miracle!  I hadn't slung them after all.  They were wedged at the back of the clapped-out sports gear drawer.  So I ironed them and wore them to church today.  Here they are, teamed with my 4 year old silver gladiator sandals: 

I also wore a navy blue vest, a dark denim shirt (Wrangler, via a charity shop), far too many tribal necklaces, and a completely non-matching chartreuse pashmina.  I probably should have teamed it with a floral shirt, but I'm pleased to say I don't own one.  Come to think of it, the chancellor has some.  Maybe another time.

Monday, 18 June 2012

A Confession

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.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Wardrobe Malfunctions

Just to reassure you all, I have been wearing clothes in all the time I have been absent from this blog.  (Love the way that the Blogger dictionary doesn't recognise the words 'blogger' or 'blog'.  It suggests 'logger' and 'glob'.)  The reason for the lack of sartorial updates is that we are moving house in less than a month.  I've been de-cluttering.

But here I am.  And today we are looking at wardrobe malfunctions.  Let us focus on Trinity Sunday, or for most normal people, Jubilee Sunday.  You know, when the flotilla went down the Thames?  Yes, that Sunday.  The weather gods, noting the miles of bunting nationwide, were alerted to the fact we were planning some kind of large scale open air festivity, and duly obliged with wind and rain.  It wouldn't be England otherwise, would it?

Well, this meant that my planned outfit (the 50s style dress) needed to be supplemented with tights.  I am not good with tights.  Or with any kind of sheer hosiery, to be honest.  I was once given a genuine pair of silk stockings.  I did not make it to the front door without laddering them.  So the morning was fraught with tension.

As you may remember, I was proposing to wear a pair of open-toe tights with my sandals.  I have two pairs of these.  There may be more functions this year requiring such tights, so I knew I needed to be careful.  It is possible to buy 'hosiery gloves', which I imagine are for klutzes like me who can't put tights on without laddering them.  I don't own hosiery gloves, so I improvised with a pair of pop socks.  Actually, we don't call them pop socks any more, do we?  We call them 'knee-highs'.  But you know what I mean.  Carefully, carefully I eased on my pair of open-toe tights, wincing with every tug.  Mission accomplished!  

Every woman reading this knows already what happened next.  That's right.  A quick trip to the loo before leaving for the service, and BANG! Tights exploded as I pulled them back up.  Waistband sheered off.  Beyond remedy.  Buggeration!  Late bell already chiming.  Raced back upstairs, tossed tights drawer contents on bed, forked about, found a pair of 'sandal toe' hold-ups.  Hold-ups are quicker to put on in a hurry, I find.  First one on, no problem.  Second leg...  Buggeration!  Historic ladder up the back which I hadn't spotted.  Bells now fallen silent.  Raced out of house, with my big pink umbrella, reasoning that if anyone spends the Eucharist scrutinising the back of Mrs Chancellor's right leg, they have bigger problems than I do.

The first hymn had started, so I had to wait at the West End while the procession went past.  I pretended not to notice the lay vicars smirking.  It's all very well for them: their cassocks cover any ladders in their stockings.