Summer is…

icumen in, time to change your wardrobe over.

Is a line Shakespeare only wrote a bit of, the rest is mine.

Or how about:  For lo! The winter is past, time to change your wardrobe over.

It’s that there global warming, I expect.  Unexpectedly causing rain and more rain with rain to follow and cold.  Cold wet rain is what there has been in plentiful amounts.  So I was huddling around in a nice warm jumper over a long vest under a nice thick cardigan  and the sort of hefty trousers that make rushing tricky without causing friction sparks.

Then, suddenly, summer.

If I ever won the pools (unlikely because not only do I not do them, I’m not sure if they even exist anymore)  I’d have the sort of bigger house that has two walk-in wardrobes to every bedroom.  A winter one and a summer one.  As I do not have this I have to do what many others do, which is to pack away the winter stuff and get out the summer stuff.  The OH says this means I have too many clothes.

Yes, I probably have.  For more years than I can remember I did not.  Back in the Fifties my grandmother gave my mother £5 to buy a dress for me for my birthday present.  I had that, and school uniform, which I hated, and a pair of trews and a skirt.  Amazingly, this was the era of the washing machine that had to be wheeled out from under the worktop and connected to the tap in the sink via a hose.  Filled with water, which the machine heated, the agitator paddle was inserted and the clothes and the washing powder.  The agitator paddle agitated, the soapy water was syphoned off, clean water was added and agitated,  and the miraculously fairly clean clothes were fed through the mangle, sometimes twice until thoroughly squished.  Then the machine was emptied, dried off and returned to its place under the worktop for another week.  If your one dress got dirty midweek, tough luck.  My mother was expert at scraping muck off woollies with a fingernail and believed that if you rubbed a clean piece of clothing against a dirty one it would clean the dirty bit but not dirty the clean bit.  And we only had a bath once a week and the advert for powder toothpaste in a tin sang :You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you clean your teeth with Pepsodent.

Yet it was sufficient.

Now I chuck stuff in the washing machine every day and, in general, people don’t smell.  This is definitely progress.  I had an automatic washing machine when we got married and quite a lot of clothes, until along came the S&H and I only needed clothes for him.  The OH needed to be smart in suits for work and had clean everything else except the suit every day and we had a shower over the bath to enjoy every day, which was a bifurcated hose jammed on to the taps. At this time I was back to a dress and a couple of pairs of jeans and some tops.  A mere twenty-odd years later and the OH has left home for the five year holiday that is Uni and a slight four or five years after that he finally has a job.

So now I not only have clothes, I have a choice of clothes.  Then along came shopping channels and I have a lot of clothes, and a proper shower.  I’m so clean I wonder if new me would speak to old me, if I met me.

It may be sad that the only time most of us have plenty of clothes to swan around in is not when we are young and gorgeous but when the mortgage is paid off, the children are self-supporting and there’s a bit spare to decorate the expanding middle aged soul we have inexplicably become with a leg at each corner and a gut in the middle.  Or you could have gone the other way, and rather than being the promise of scrumptiously rounded, you could surprisingly be mistaken for string, with wrinkles.

Nature is quite cruel sometimes and having a laugh the rest of the time.

Whether too fat, too thin, too short or too tall, your best chance of having more clothes is the point three quarters through your life when your responsibilities to others are shed.  Having said that, in the years when I was carer to my mother there was no time to shop for clothes but every need of them.  Gardening in high heels and pearls might make your mother complain less at having you about the place, but it doesn’t do much for your heels or your pearls.  By the time I’d finished the job my ankles had turned to cankles and the heels were right out.

So here I am with more clothes than space (though still, naturally, with nothing to wear.)  I take a day for each type of clothing and take as much as possible to the charity shop, having tried much of it on in order to wonder what possessed me to buy it in the first place.  I imagined that having clothes at home to try on with everything else would circumvent mistakes purchased in cramped fitting rooms with grey mirrors carefully placed to afford an unflattering view of your own backside.  This just goes to show that I have a wonderful imagination.

I’m not buying anything currently.  Not until I have finished the ‘this is not a diet, diet.’  I think it’s possible that I’ve spent more time in my life dieting than eating.  Like Winnie the Pooh I am the short portly type designed to survive on an ice flow.  Every now and then the probability of getting stuck in a rabbit hole looms and I miserably restrict food until it wanes.

Meanwhile over the course of a fortnight, with days to rest between, the wardrobe has been changed and I can at last shiver in thin tops and let the wind whistle through my light summer trousers, raising goose bumps on my legs.  Glamorous, summer, characterised by the hum of wasps and the chattering of teeth.

Only got to change all the bedding and the duvet now.


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