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…

The Second of January

The Second of January is a really great holiday, celebrated, as far as I know, only in Scotland. After a late night at New Year, New Year’s Day is a write-off, and the Second arrives like a welcome tonic. How does the rest of the world cope going back to work on 2 Jan? I hope I never have to find out.

This year, I ventured hesitantly towards the sales at Ocean Terminal straight after New Year. After some fortification in the shape of lunch, Wiseman and I perused a couple of shops (literally a couple. One each). I found some very nice jumpers at ÂŁ13.50 in Fat Face, which I considered long and hard over, before a cursory glance at the label made up my mind.

I wandered back outside to where Wiseman was waiting.

“Couple of really nice merino wool jumpers, mate.”


“Didn’t get them.”


“Hand wash only.”

“Ah.” Wiseman nodded knowingly. “Single use only, then. Either that or you’ll have to get married.”

“Yeah. And that would end up costing me a lot more than ÂŁ13.50…”

Second Test, the (slightly delayed) Aftermath

Well, that’s the Christmas shopping just about done, following my annual visit to the Frasers cosmetics department. Confronted by an overly-made up girl who asks if can she help me, I present the Christmas Shopping Male Panic Look, which combines unspeakable fear and an obvious need to go to the toilet, urgently. The Look does work, I can recommend it. I was out the door in five minutes.

Speaking of urgently needing to visit the bathroom, the last 24 hours or so has seen me in there rather more than I would have liked. Good old stomach bugs, eh. I can provide further, colourful details, including angles of projection etc, but only on request.

But back to Christmas shopping. The only present that remains to be bought is Wiseman’s tin opener. I have tried numerous outlets without finding the specific model I was after, but am confident I can still get him one that even he can use. But not in Habitat, which surprised me with its apparently total lack of avant garde tin openers, until I remembered that people who shop in Habitat simply don’t eat tinned food, darling.

Cricket: It has been a somewhat depressing week. Am going to refrain from making statements about the imminent demise of anyone’s careers. Even Damien Martyn’s. In fact, am quite probably not going to comment on cricket at all until Boxing Day. However, will try to update the blog more frequently until then, if only to prevent a build-up of terribly witty humour-at-my-expense in the comments section, as per the last post.

Finally, a quick thank you to Mr and Mrs Friendy for hosting a little soirĂ©e on Sunday night to mark my leaving. I had thought I was only going on holiday, but it would appear some people consider it more permanent than that… anyway it was a lot of fun. Perhaps not for the hosts as they were stuffed with the cold.

I shall miss my Edinburgh friends over Christmas and New Year, not to mention my family. But it won’t be long until I see them all again.

Contrary to some rumours, I have every intention of coming back!