I don’t often shop for clothes for myself, tending only to do so when anything half-decent has deteriorated enough to be consigned to the dog-walking collection, and desperation forces me to look for something I can be seen wearing in public. But now and then I spot something I actually like but might not really need; I yield to impulse, but seem remarkably unlucky with the outcome.
A couple of years ago (or maybe it was three – don’t you lose track of time as you get older!) I bought myself a straw sun hat, a rather nice one that doesn’t crush, can be rolled up, and that was perfect for the blistering heat we’d enjoyed for a few days. I am not a hat person, really, but I liked this one, and intended to wear it, if only in the garden.
And the weather promptly changed, with heavy and persistent rain continuing throughout the summer, and into an equally wet and dismal autumn. I never had the chance to wear my sun hat at all. It was put away and forgotten. In a ridiculous way, I sort of blamed it for the disappointing weather that year.
Last year, I bought a lovely dress in the late summer sales, a heavy cotton-linen mix in a dusty rose pink, simple and cool, perfect for those balmy warm days that early autumn can bring. And at once the weather turned chilly; the dress remained unworn and was put away for this year, should summer ever arrive.
A few weeks ago, in dismally wet weather, I bought a rather nice raincoat. A smart grey raincoat with a snazzy striped yellow and grey lining; perhaps a little young for me, but cheerful, and functional too, with usefully large pockets, a detachable hood, and – for a change – not instantly identifiable as part of my motley collection of dog-walking clothes.
And my luck has changed. I have worn it often. I have had to wear it often. The weather forecast assures me that I will continue to wear it often. I will get my money’s worth out of that raincoat.
I am not grateful.