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.

Monday 2 January 2012


Whatever shall I wear?  Well, first things first.  Today the first thing was going for a run, so obviously that meant a depressing choice of knackered grey sports bras and manky running kit.  This doesn't really count as wardrobe proper, so we will move swiftly on.

Post-run I posed myself the question What kind of day is this?  Answer: a slobbing about day.  Therefore slobbing about clothes were in order.  Being able to answer that question simplifies the daily whatever-shall-I-wear dilemma.  There will be days when you cannot answer it.  There will be days--especially if you are a lonely freelancer living largely in your head with no proper boundaries to your existence--when you can't even remember what day it is.  On such occasions the question What kind of day is this? leads seamlessly into What kind of person am I? and a morass of existential angst.  Then the answer to whatever-shall-I-wear is traditionally 'my duvet'.

But this has been designated a slobbing about day (for which my spell check ventures 'sobbing' and 'blobbing').  Hence I am dressed in a pair of Soulcal trackies (technical young person term, meaning tracksuit bottoms) in a nice airforce blue (from a CS in Church Stretton, Shropshire), teamed with that crucial base layer so essential in Arctic climes and listed buildings which you can't afford to heat.  The base layer is a long-sleeved CS top in fine navy/white stripe.  It's a designated base layer because it's actually a size too small and a little mind-boggling for outerwear.  Over this I am sporting a royal blue St John's College Durham hoodie which I stole from my older son.  He is OK with this as he now wears University stash (a technical young person term meaning sports wear), because he has a half-Palatinate (a technical Durham term, meaning half-blue, which is itself an Oxbridge term meaning 'rather good at sport').

I enjoy wearing this St John's hoodie.  After all, that was my college, plus the hoodie has my surname name embroidered on it.  So I feel doubly entitled.  The chancellor is inclined to think that a middle-aged woman wearing college stash is tragic.  'Your face is tragic'--that is apparently what I should have replied, according to my sons.  This is a technical young person way of being extremely rude.

To pull the whole look together I'm wearing what is possibly the rattiest pair of trainers in the West Midlands, if not the UK.  Black Nike, inherited from my son many years ago.  I wear them because I eschew slippers.  Slippers are frumpy.  I'm sorry, but however expensive they are, they will always remain frumpy and will bestow an aura of frumpiness on the wearer.  I tell you this for your own good, not to be mean.  Some slippers try to side-step frumpiness by being amusing.  Well, if you find it amusing to walk around with your feet apparently buried in the entrails of some furry creature, or Homer Simpson, then I have nothing further to say to you.

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