kids. what can you do? you bring them up as best you can in the hope that they will inherit some of your better traits, going on to live safe and purposeful lives. you hope that some of the tiny nuggets of wisdom you're able to impart will save them from future heartache and headache. that's what life's all about.
but that's not always how life works out. despite many words of unwarranted advice against becoming parents for a substantial number of years, my daughter, after less than one year of marriage, is about to confer grandfatherness upon me within the next month or so. i am surrounded by well-meaning friends and colleagues who are delighted for both her, for mrs twmp and myself, telling me that life won't be the same again and that i'll love every minute.
the former i know, but as to the latter, i remain to be convinced.
and yet, the portended practicalities and demands are well known to me. mrs washingmachinepost has been a childminder for nigh on ten years, during which there have been a whole gaggle of children of grandchild age scurrying about underfoot, mostly desperate to play just once more as i arrive back from work. to be honest, most of them are delightful in a 'can hand them back at the end of the day' sort of manner, but i cannot deny that they've brought hours of fun and joy in the process.
however, despite the protestations listed above, those are not the real reasons as to why i am a recalcitrant grandfather to be. nomenclature being as it is, the father of the daughter of the grandchild may expect to be referred to as grandad, grandfather, gramps, grandpa, or as i have nominated myself in more appropriate manner, grumps. disappointingly, in this case, i am resident in gaelic-speaking country, where the indigenous appellation is that of seanair, pronounced shate-ner.
and i hate the word.
there is, however, something of a silver lining to my impending purgatory, a lining that may only be apparent or indeed relevant to yours truly. i am not, you will be surprised to learn, regarded as a paragon of sartorial elegance. it springs from the last remnants of an art school education where a mixture of pragmatism conjoined with anarchic insouciance laid little, if any, emphasis on the couture one had in one's wardrobe.
do not for one minute misunderstand me; when on the bike i am likely better dressed than was ever ferdi kubler, but in regular civilian, pedestrian life, you'd be hard pressed to pick me out in a line-up of the young ones audition candidates. and that is where there is obviously substantial room for improvement. thankfully, there are knowing chaps like nick hussey at vulpine clothing who have my best interests at heart, would that he knew it.
it is necessary for me as a scotsman to begin with national tradition, one that encompasses the so-called ghillie shirt, an often collarless shirt that adopted a criss-cross lacing style as also apparent on scottish brogues. it's also known as a jacobite shirt; its irish equivalent is known as the grandad shirt, a style released in cycling mode as part of vulpine's opening launch salvo. they, not unnaturally describe it as a button merino jersey, but both you and i know it is really a grandad shirt fashioned from aircraft grade (tasmanian) merino.
i think it yet again a throwback to my art school days that i rather delight in this particular style of garment. i know there are those who think it only appropriate when appearing in period dramas on bbc2, but i find it indescribably funky. and it single-handedly aids my laconic dress style by allowing me to impose my velocipedinal character on the inside, while apportioning a stylish civilianality to an ignoring world.
up till these past few days, islay's weather has disbarred all from wearing short sleeve anythings on the bike, therefore it was consciously necessary to place a vulpine long-sleeve merino shirt below and a lightweight harrington as a foil to the wind. however, when languishing innocently atop a tall stool at debbie's coffee bar, the innocent passer-by would have all but taken me for a normal person. well, assuming they failed to notice the adjacent helmet.
one of the tasks for which i felt it appropriate to dress thus was by way of mobile technical support (of a computing nature), an indoor situation that decried the wearing of photochromic rudy projects. i was therefore obliged to take with me a pair of regular spectacles and in a hard case to protect them from any inadvertancies during prior froth supping. while a standard cycling jersey, adjudged inappropriate for such an occasion, would offer those three rear receptacles, it was a pleasant surprise to discover vulpine's button merino did likewise. except in this case, one shallow but wide-zipped version in the centre is balanced by smaller versions on each side.
the middle pocket was equal to the task of spectacle receptacle, sensibly placed low on the back to avoid any interference when pedalling. i doubt it's necessary for me to point out that vulpine's grandad shirt can not only be worn al fresco when the weather is fine, but the long-sleeve underneath can be dispensed with to offer a more cosmopolitan air to proceedings.
it is a hard garment with which to find fault; other than that the style may not be entirely to your appreciation. the fit is relaxed but excellent, the construction exemplary and the colour much to my liking. the only bit i don't fully understand, and i recall making the same point in my review of the original offering, is why oh why haven't they made a long-sleeve edition? i would practice riding no-hands for one of those.
the vulpine button merino jersey retails at £80 and is available in claret, fern green, astral blue (reviewed) or grey and in sizes small to xxl. it is also available in a women's version.
wednesday 29th may 2013