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.

Wednesday 4 January 2012


Some people try to Dress for Success.  Here in Lichfield Cathedral Close we merely aim to avoid hypothermia.  And for me today this means the following: black treggings.  Treggings are like leggings only sturdier, a kind of hybrid trouser-legging, hence the clever hybrid name.

If you wear treggings you are doing the general public a favour.  They understand your intentions: you are wearing trousers.  Leggings can be misunderstood.  Is that young woman wearing black tights? the puzzled middle-aged adult wonders.  And has she forgotten to put on her skirt?  The problem with leggings seems to be this: the wearer has mentally categorised them as trousers, and is therefore blind to the fact that her dimply legs and knickers are entirely visible.  Sartorial hint of the day: Unless you have checked with an independent witness, always assume your leggings are see-through.  Treat them as you would treat tights.  Keep your arse covered.

My black treggings were bought new from Dorothy Perkins.  My base layer today--a black merino wool sweater--was also bought new.  From Lidl.  Lidl occasionally surprises with its range of merchandise.  Cheap food, cheap cosmetics, cheap wash powder--and then suddenly, leather welding gloves and apron kit!  This merino jumper was part of their budget ski wear range.  Over this rather shapeless garment I'm wearing a long speckly blue (the colour wrongly described in the wool catalogues I pored over in my childhood as 'kingfisher') sweater dress thing.  On reflection, I'd call it 'teal'.  Teal is terribly fashionable this season you know.  A younger woman (or a more deluded woman of my age)  might team this garment with tights and call it a dress.  It is mid-thigh length, has a big polo neck and is cable knit.  It came, of course, from a charity shop, but I don't know who made it.  As always, I've cut the label out, because it irritated the back of my neck.  Why are they always so itchy?  I also cut out those stupid loops of ribbon that always slip out of your neckline or sleeve and which you endlessly have to tuck back in.  Think how may forests of ribbon trees would still be standing if clothes manufacturers stopped putting loops in dresses and tops!

I've pulled the look together, as we fashion types like to say, with a chunky black-and-white plastic necklace of the type that swings disastrously into your soup when you are trying to impress gentlemen with your debonair wit over dinner.  And today, just to mix things up a bit, I'm not wearing black boots.  I'm wearing pale tan suede boots.  And very grubby they are too.  No wonder they were in the sale at Clark's a few years ago.  Nobody else was stupid enough to buy pale tan suede.

So there we are.  Let me know if you're bored and I'll start telling a pack of lies instead.  I am, after all, a novelist.

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