Driving like a Grandad

I bought a pair of slippers the other day.

Normally one can rely on Santa to provide a steady supply of slippers, but Santa has been overly focussed on sock provision these last few years, neglecting to notice that perhaps the reason for all the socks wearing out is because they are regularly doing the job the slippers should be doing. A classic case of focussing on the symptoms rather than the cause, I would suggest.

If Santa were the Scottish Government, he’d be providing free socks for all right now.

Anyway, this is not a political blog. Nor is it a fashion blog, which the discerning reader (ie one that has read the last two posts) might be tempted to think. Be reassured that, what with my recent coat and bag purchases, and now a pair of slippers, I have completely drained my Personal Clothing and Accessories Fund for the period 2016-2020. If I need a new pair of underpants in, say, 2019, I’m probably going to have to misappropriate monies from another Fund.

NOT the Empire Biscuit Fund, for obvious reasons. I expect the Internet will agree with me on that one.

Earlier this week I found myself in discussion with my friends Peter and Pete. We were discussing commute times. As neighbours of the Finance Director, they are similarly dislocated from most of modern civilisation. However, when I mentioned my inability to make it from the Finance Director’s house to the office in Balerno in less than 30 minutes, there were raised eyebrows and questioning glances aplenty.

Then I remembered that I not only wear slippers, I drive like a grandad these days.

Most of my life, I have enjoyed driving cars with decent-sized engines, and mostly, I’ve enjoyed driving them in the outside lane on the motorway, breezing past those people driving at 57mph in the inside lane. Who ARE these people? Why do they do that?

Well, my current car is not over-endowed in the torque and acceleration department, it must be said. It contains an engine advertised as a 1.4L, which really is closer to a 1.3L.

(Dear America, engine sizes smaller than 3.5L are available! Who knew? And America, while we’re at it, why do you use metric measurements for your car engines, but nothing else? Curious.)

Accordingly, early on in the ownership of my slightly-underpowered car, I decided that, rather than trying to drive it fast, patently against its will, I would play to its strengths. Or, strength, really. Fuel economy.

Rather than getting frustrated when I get stuck behind a slow-moving truck on a narrow road, I now give thanks when this happens, as it forces me to drive more economically.

In general I find myself tiddling along, mostly in the inside lane, trying find that fine line between easing my foot off the gas enough to light up all six of the green ECO lights on my dashboard, without also grinding to a halt. Grinding to a halt on the motorway is, I’ve found, fairly economical, but relatively unsafe.

I’m now that guy on the inside lane, doing 57mph for no apparent reason. And I wear slippers. Somewhere I have a pipe too, must look that out…

Coats and Bags

Last Tuesday I went to Ocean Terminal, looking for a coat. My Mother and my Sister had clubbed together at Christmas and given me some money to buy a new coat with.

“Take a photo of you wearing the coat” had been my Sister’s parting shot, perhaps fearing that no money would be spent on said coat, and that her generous gift might instead be frittered away on Empire Biscuits and perhaps some nice new audio gear.

As an aside, I’m not sure investing money in Empire Biscuits could ever be considered “frittering”. However.

Last Tuesday was the day. I must confess, gents, that I somewhat let the side down in the shopping department. Instead of employing the classic “enter shop – buy thing – leave shop pronto” male shopping technique, I wandered round aimlessly, not only around one store, but in and out of several, no less. I even tried multiple things on.

I found the coat. It was perfect. Just a fraction on the “neat” side. I looked at the label. XL. Not a good feeling – finding an XL garment a little on the neat side. I enquired of the youthful sales assistant, who, in a flurry of touchscreening, confirmed that larger sizes were available. I said I’d think about it.

I retreated to a coffee shop to lick my wounds and consider the options. Texted Mother and Sister with pictures of me in various coats. They agreed with me that the slightly neat XL coat was the One. I returned to the store, where there was no sign of the youthful sales assistant. Probably away on an attention-span break, checking Twitter. I attempted the touchscreening, but couldn’t find the XXL version to order.

Dismayed, I switched tack and moved on to the Superdry store to find a replacement bag. My much-loved bag’s zip had recently given up the ghost, taking the ironic non-waterproofness of a Superdry bag to a whole new level. My much-loved bag was a courier bag, I discovered. Courier bags, it seems, have gone heavily out of fashion since I was last bag-shopping. All the kids, it seems, are using backpacks these days. Couple of messenger bags also available, but almost all backpacks. I briefly entertained the messenger bag notion, but decided they were overpriced. Eventually found a like-for-like courier bag replacement, but decided it was overpriced too, and went away to think about it.

(It would be fair and reasonable to question the rationality of my behaviour in entering a Superdry store and leaving it empty-handed because things were expensive…)

Considered looking for a new pair of shoes, but having already tried on coats and nearly purchased a bag, decided I had probably already exceeded my Ladies’ Items Allowance for the day.

Having later found an XXL version of the coat online, and arranged for it to be delivered to the Livingston outlet, I duly appeared there Friday morning, walking steadfastly past the nearby Krispy Kreme outlet. Picked up coat. Buoyed by this unusual shopping success, nipped in to the Superdry store there, having decided to get over myself and my poverty mindset. Nary a courier bag in sight. Wall-to-wall backpacks. Plus a few messenger bags. Consoled myself by not walking past the Krispy Kreme outlet on the way back.

Cue a return to the Ocean Terminal Superdry store. The courier bags had disappeared, behind a sea of backpacks and one or two messenger bags, but a friendly youthful sales assistant found them for me, hiding behind a raft of trendy jackets.

Five minutes later I walked out of the store clutching my brand new messenger bag. Obviously.

The last few days have been mercifully free of shopping expeditions and the associated confusion and distress. After a week’s hiatus I made it back to the gym yesterday morning, in an attempt to regain XL sizing. In the middle of 3 sets of sweaty ab-crunching I looked up to see an older lady, pedalling away on a cross-trainer. Wearing a fur-lined coat.

I must be doing something wrong…