Monday, 29 November 2010

Winter Revisited!

Last January, my beloved went to Las Vegas on business...why am I already imagining the quizzically raised eyebrow of my reader?... anyway he did. He drove to Heathrow Airport with oldest child (on way to Dublin where she was working at the time) in the only 4x4 vehicle possessed by the family. That was the first day of what we describe as 'The Terrible Snow'. Obviously he couldn't get to Heathrow through the prevailing weather conditions without the 4x4 so he left me at home with my lovely mini and middle daughter's yaris.

Day two of TTS was spent with our delightful and hilarious next door neighbour (he of the enormous aircraft hanger-type barn construction, dear reader) who kindly towed the mini up our lane with his tractor so that I could drive it to our local and leave it in the car park there - thus confirming to the rest of the village that I am, indeed, continually in the pub and therefore have a drink problem. Practical and useful boyfriend of daughter 2 and I drove, pushed and generally cajoled the yaris to the pub as well - cue for more speculation about full scale drink problem chez moi.

Thereafter, children 3 and 4 were walked the mile through thick snow morning and evening to the school bus which stops on the village green together with trips to the supermarket by car which were followed by mile-long walks back down carrying heavy bags of essential grub (note to self: do not buy potatoes when you have to carry them a long way - pasta and rice are lighter!)

Finally, after some ten days of this activity during which the lane changed from snow to sheet ice, proving equally difficult to drive on, the weather conditions finally improved. This blessed event was, of course, neatly combined with the equally popular return of the man of the house. Words like: 'Well, it doesn't look too bad to me' and 'Are you sure you couldn't get the cars up the hill?' went down like, well, a lead balloon and resulted in major hostilities.

Imagine therefore, my joy yesterday when, having driven back from Twickenham (remind me to have a word with those boys about waiting for the word 'engage' after the words 'touch' and 'pause') and later collecting my man from a snowdrift where his van was stuck about 5 miles away, he announced he was driving to London today and needed the 4x4 for the whole week! As ever, he kindly managed to get my mini up the lane and lodge it in the pub car park. I could sense he felt he had done his vehicular duty and all that remained was for me to walk the mile to the pub through the snow every day as I had done last January until he returned.

However, I pointed out that I would be happy to help him dig the van out of the snowdrift (slight artistic licence here - it was only about eight inches deep) this morning, load a dozen or so tellies plus associated bits of kit into the van so he could take that to London. And yes, dear reader, I did!

So whilst the Stout One is driving to London in the slightly less luxurious van this afternoon, I can see the 4x4 from my office window and I WILL be driving it for the rest of the week - hurray!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Men in Hats - Yes Please!

When I am sitting at my desk, I have a photograph of my lovely late Dad in my eyeline. His presence often makes me consider what he would think of this strange world we live in now - when he died, computers were still the size of houses and mobile phones were larger than bricks! But it also makes me think of how life was when he was 'in his pomp' and, today, the significance of hats.

When I was a schoolgirl, my father regularly worked in London as well as in Coventry and Leamington where his offices were. I could always tell when he was going to London as he would be wearing a bowler hat. Indeed, my father had a range of hats - each of which had its own particular occasion for wearing. He wore a trilby (greeny-brown) for normal working days which he would take off immediately on entering any kind of building - home, office etc. He had the black bowler for London days - very smart. Recently Genevieve (oldest child) wore one in the television serial she appeared in and it so reminded me of Dad. 'Girls in bowlers - never!'

He also wore a flat cap for all sporting occasions: rugby - which we all went to with Dad, point-to-points, racing etc although, thinking about this, he might have put the trilby on for anything horsey. (Dad never actually went anywhere near any kind of horse, including my pony, ever. 'Kick at one end and bite at the other!') And, of course, he had his own top hat which we now have. This was for weddings, with morning suit, and Royal Ascot. Since finding a home with us, I fear that the top hat has made two appearances in Oliver on the head of the Artful Dodger - possibly not a suitable end to the career of a fine hat.

How sad that hats are not worn so frequently now. I love that JK in Jamiroquai - the Cat in the Hat - always wears one though what my dear Dad would have thought of him wearing it inside, I don't know. However, he probably would have liked the fact that my lovely husband is particularly fond of hats and purchased a turban only yesterday! He has a whole range of dressing up hats (the dressing up thing is one of his particular interests - and not in a pervy way, really) and is very fond of his Jamaican woolly hat complete with dreadlocks. In fact, when he was presented with it by the aforementioned daughter Number 1, he immediately suggested he wore it to the pub! Why not, he went to the pub dressed in a toga and laurel wreath the week before! (I pointed out that we were going to a Roman Orgy, not just the pub!)

Anyway, bring back hats for men I say! No fear of helmet head for them - always a problem for us girls. I love a man in a good hat - any takers?