a lack of vitamin d is not the only casualty of an endless period of sunless days. the rust spots on strategic points of the cielo's frame pay testament to the number of millimetres of rain that have infested the principality since around september last year. and the fact that there's still a roof tile sitting in the back garden of the croft, means one of two things: either the weather has prevented our nominated repairer from carrying out duties of service, or we've yet to nominate one.
i'd like to admit to the former, but i think i'd need to put my hand up to the latter.
the lack of any appreciable sun for other than the odd single day up until the last week of may, has entailed the winter clothing being still front and centre, rather than stowed away in a backroom till november looms on the horizon. so scared are we of missing out on that cote d'azur mentality, that when blue skies become even periodically the norm, there we are out and about in shorts, t-shirts and dark glasses.
as i made my way to the post office only the other sunny but chilly day, i espied a neighbour hard at work in the garden dressed just as i described. "positive thinking" she said, to which i mentally added the word 'hypothermic', before carrying on about my postal business. it may have been envy or even an acquired pragmatism, but i've been continuing with long-sleeve jerseys and bib threequarters; even occasionally a winter hat.
one of the small children in the care of mrs washingmachinepost regularly carries what i believe is described as a sooky blanket, an item that she plainly doesn't need, but obviously still desires. my considered reaction would be to suggest that her age somewhat mitigates against the carrying of such a blanket, but even when the weather turns for the best, it seems i still have need of my own.
i am less than discrete regarding my preference for long-sleeves, so in the moment when temperatures have scarily reached double figures, i am caught like a rabbit in the headlights. what exactly is one to do? i'd love to be dressed in diaphanous short sleeves, advertising my faux desire for hot, hot, hot. but in truth, i'm happier in the less meritorious winter weather, if only because i have had ample opportunity to spend much of my life drenched in it. what i need is a jersey of stubborn constitution, albeit enhanced with short sleeves, yet advertising summer as one of the joys of spring.
at this point, enter cafe du cyclist's henriette jersey, the one with four colours (black, white, teraccota and yellow hoops).
the jersey is of a polyester knit, a slightly open-weave, but with a remarkably high collar and a quarter zip. a truly funky feature on the henriette are those white hoops; it is not quite white, and all the better for it, removing any suspicion that i may have been run over by a deckchair. this off-white is also featured on the collar as well as the sleeve cuffs. leave the zip slightly lowered and the jersey takes on the persona of a cycle jersey cunningly disguised as a polo shirt. if i have any comment at this point it is to point out that i think the collar to be just a tad on the loose side.
of course, i realise that my summer aspirations ought to encompass any advertised influx of cooling air, but i'm willing to suffer for their art.
the three rear pockets sited just above the drop tail are joined by a zipped fourth outboard of the centre. all of these have the ability to contain quite some amount of stuff; an extra inner tube, a stowable windjacket, digital camera, multi-tool and compact digital camera. oh, and some pennies for a cheese and tomato roll and more than just a single coffee. it seems that summer subterfuge is merely the attractive outer garb of pelotonic practicality.
in affecting my devil-may-care outward personality, all the while hoping that the mercury fell not into single figures while i was out pedalling, i felt i exuded my best cote d'azur persona. so much so, that the jersey elicited favourable comment from a civilian, and it's hard to see how that can be improved upon. though designed for a close-fit and not a race-fit, the comfort is guaranteed to retain the polo-shirt impression that makes it not at all out of place in the coffee shop.
i'm too much of a big jessie to take a peek at any long-term weather forecast lest it deny me the joy of looking forward to continued wear of my henriette, even though 'tis a rather bizarre name for a cycle jersey. however, france's mediterranean coast may have differing traditions and nomenclature than our own, and it's eminently possible that something has been lost in translation.
not, however, more than just a few welcome rays of sunshine.
the cafe du cycliste s/s henriette jersey is available in sizes xs to xxl, in the four colour edition reviewed, or in grey or burgundy at a retail price of £95 ($150) from the cafe du cycliste website.
sunday 2nd june 2013