Thursday 18 June 2015

My guilty secret

Well, it's probably not that secret if you've ever met me. However, as this conversation is taking place in the blogosphere, it is possible that you don't know, dear reader.

There are many things that we find shocking about other folk, depending upon our own value judgements and circumstances. It is arguable that the most astounding examples occur where there is a juxtaposition between the persona which one projects and the reality of one's life.

For instance, from this blog you could infer that I am inspired by Nature, am reasonably environmentally active (in work and play) and have a no frills, 'function over form' attitude to my wardrobe.

This is mostly true.


  • Yes, a day without wildlife feels like a day trapped in some kind of soulless, concrete, windowless Hell.

  • Yes, I work for a charity whose aim is to reduce waste in all its forms.

  • Yes, I give of my free time to various wildlife organisations, to help with citizen science, to inspire others and because it's generally better than being trapped in the afore-mentioned soulless, concrete windowless Hell.

  • Yes, my wardrobe is functional, outdoorsy and mainly in a range of earth colours. And to be fair, the blue dress and red tights phase was ages ago and just for charity (No, Second Born, that isn't a good enough reason to rush to post photos on Facebook!).

Why only 'mostly', then?

Hmmm, there's no easy way to explain this, so I'd better just come out with it.

I'm a designer label junkie. There, I've said it.

Despite my loathing of large shopping centres (generally), massed throngs of shoppers (usually) and my overwhelming apathy for clothes shopping (particularly), it came as something of a surprise to me too.

So, the question is... why?

Predictably, there's not a simple answer, but a conveniently-located retail emporium and a range fit for purpose figure highly amongst my reasons.

It has been noted on many occasions that I bang on about the weather a great deal. This is because I overheat at the drop of a hat (usually a sun hat) and have trouble keeping warm in cold conditions. So any clothing range that can provide suitable layering and wicking options is going to be near the top of my list.

When we moved to the original Tense Towers in 2002, we soon learned that a few hundred yards down the road (and a quiet, leafy, tree-lined road it was too), was the factory shop for outdoor and travel clothing manufacturer Rohan. This presented the opportunity for bargains to be had, both from regular in-store discounts as well as 'seconds' clothing that had some small imperfection. It also provided, and this may well have been the clincher for me, a pleasant amble to the shop from home, either down the afore-mentioned road or, alternatively, along a canal towpath. I don't think clothes retailers have generally cottoned on to the fact that ensuring your potential customers arrive feeling quite chilled out is a big loosener of the purse strings!

So over the years, I built up quite a wardrobe by taking advantage of bargains and discounts, not to mention birthday and Christmas presents.

Coupled with wildlife watching, for which I find the range very suitable, I rarely wear anything else these days. Does that make me a designer label junkie?

And is it faintly ludicrous that I used to live in a inland English city, around the corner from an outdoor clothing shop, but now live on a Scottish island where sea and weather mean outdoor clothing is not only practical, but flippin' necessary?

Well, perhaps the joke is on me, because here's the up-to-date graphic:

And that includes about 8 miles of sea, courtesy of the Pentland Firth!

However, I still have online shopping (to be honest, I lazily used that a fair bit in MK too), but my next challenge was of a whole different order.

First Born and her beau are to be wed in September. Wondrous news!

The wedding is taking place on the Greek isle of Rhodes, where temperatures are likely to be double those to which I'm currently acclimatised.


I wondered about wearing a kilt, but 8 metres of woolly material is not going to win any medals for temperature regulation in hot climes. Nope, what I really needed was a smart version of what I normally wear.

And so, on our recent trip to the west coast of Scotland, we detoured into Inverness, clutching several vouchers, to buy a suit. On selecting a... er... suit-able one, I was taken along the street to a tailor so that the necessary adjustments could be made. A week later, on the way home, we popped into Inverness again and collected the suit (the tailoring was included in the price!). Several weeks earlier, I had managed to buy a shirt, discounted online, that goes rather well with Our Lass's outfit, so I think I'm now sorted. Yay!

Apologies if this has seemed too much of a promotional post for a certain retailer, but it's more that I consider myself a savvy shopper who has found clothes that work for me. Please be reassured that I don't wear their knickers and socks.To put that another way, I DO wear knickers and socks, but not theirs.


Anonymous said...

Tut Tut MK a city GRRRRRR! from Northampton,as it's still just a town.
Nerve being scraped !!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Number Two
surely a simple toga and sandals would be more aposite!!!!
Temperature control easy and no"bulling" required on footware.
This I can see you in

Imperfect and Tense said...

1. Is that a bite, Capt S?
2. Maybe you can see me in a toga and sandals... doing a Frankie Howerd impersonation, by any chance?

Anonymous said...

Better than a copy of David (Blush Blush) i suppose as it's greek it should have been a chiton!!! More like a gym slip!
Sandals mandatory
Cpt Sundial.
Yes was a bit bitish!

Imperfect and Tense said...

Oh! The garment not the mollusc! You had me going for a minute :o/