Despite many Southampton trees clinging on to some of their anthocyanin-dyed leaves, it is hard to deny that winter has laid its wintery cloak upon us.
I have yet to turn on the heating in the flat, but I have stopped flouncing around with my torso clad only in a t-shirt – I have moved to longer sleeves or added a cardigan – so it is definitely growing colder. Soon, I may have to stop journeying to the gym wearing shorts – though seeing lasses wearing even less in the way of leg-covering at the end of last week has sparked the last gasp of my manhood into continued resistance to the lure of long trousers. In my (admittedly limited) experience, whilst the fairer sex tend to have colder flesh and a greater desire to run the heating when indoors, when outside they seem much better able to resist the cold than we members of the weaker sex.
I, of course, have a long history of wearing shorts all year round. As a young lad, I tended to fall over quite a lot (some would say that little has changed) and this tended to destroy the knees of my trousers. Given that trousers do not grow on trees (surely a project there for the genetic engineers among us), for much of my primary school career I was dispatched in shorts right through the depths of the Kentish winters of the 1970s – and in those days, we had proper winters! For, as my mother quite rightly said, “Your knees will mend the trousers won’t”.
As I approach middle-age – apparently they’ve moved the goalposts and I have yet to arrive (I assume this is linked to the receding retirement age) – I find myself far less reluctant to wear a vest than I did when younger. I still hate to wear a jumper – I’d rather be cold – so I use the layers approach and I’ve realised the vest can play a useful role as layer no. 1. As a result of my recent vest-wearing, I have noticed that I seem to have a rather abrasive navel given its ability to erode the inside my vest and deposit the results within’t. Should I be moisturising more thoroughly?
However, the biggest joy brought by the return of winter is the ability to wear a scarf without appearing overly affected or victimised by that fickle jade, fashion. I nurture the illusion that I look rather good, raffish even, wearing a scarf. Readers should feel free to help me to maintain this illusion despite all the evidence. I suspect early exposure to Tom Baker’s Doctor might have something to do with this, though my own scarves are very modest in both length and colour-scheme compared to his. The scarf doesn’t really work on the bike, so I’ve had rather more chance to wear it now that I live within walking distance of the city-centre: which is a definitely plus to my new life on the south-coast.