Friday, 15 January 2010

"I think I need a new one,"

my father tells me. He is standing there with a singlet in his hand. The singlet now has a large hole in it. I had noticed a very thin point when I was hanging the washing out.
"Why do you wear a singlet in such hot weather?" I ask him. It is not the first time I have asked this question.
He shrugs. He has always worn singlets. He wore singlets to bed as a child. Why? I do not know. My mother apparently managed to break him of that habit in early marriage. He still wears singlets under shirts.
I can understand the need for the extra layer in winter but not in summer. Putting a singlet on is habit. He does not think about clothes. His wardrobe is testament to this. He keeps clothes until they fall apart at the seams. Can they be mended? Patched? Altered? Why throw out something that is 'perfectly all right' because it is 'not that old'?
I hold up a pair of grey trousers to the light and show him they are so thin that you can see straight through them. "These are house trousers. You wear that pair when you go out." It seems he cannot see the difference. "They both look the same to me." Aagghhh!
The truth of course is that he can see a difference - when it is pointed out. He just hates spending money on clothes. He hates that sort of shopping. It is to be avoided wherever possible.
I do not like it myself but I will bow to the inevitable. I will take Ms Whirlwind with me for her school supplies. She needs new school shoes. Her father could do it but she prefers it when I go instead. He is like my father. Shopping is to be avoided wherever possible.
There is however one thing in my father's wardrobe that neither of us will part with. It is old, older than I am. My grandfather made it for my father before my father even married. It still fits. It looks old but it is in remarkable shape. It is his Harris Tweed jacket, genuine handwoven tweed from a crofter's cottage on the other side of the world. It is worn along the edges and there are leather patches on the elbows. One genuine leather button is just slightly lighter than the rest. I keep meaning to give it a little shoe polish.
Now if that had a hole in it....


Old Kitty said...


Oh I hope not! It's a classic piece of clothing. These days clothes just fall apart after one or three uses - but never a Harris tweed jacket!

It's such a shame that in this day and age things tend to be so easily disposable. Your dad is a great example to us all.

Take care

catdownunder said...

No holes yet, although it is a little thin in places!

Rachel Fenton said...

I wear my clothes until they fall off my back. Generally I look like a scruff and I don't feel comfortable in new clothes...I like to break them in around the house before I go out anywhere in them. I have the same swimming costume I had when I was sixteen (on account of my not being able to swim to wear it out), and a many other things from my teens, and I have my shoes cobbled beyond all reason. Patched my favourite boots with a puncture repair kit! In my case it comes from having a poor upbringing I think - same reason I don't waste any food.

catdownunder said...

A woman after my own heart Rachel!