As we continue to fall headlong into winter after the wettest November and early December since er, last year, I’ve been busy tidying away my shorts and T- shirts, linen trousers, and all manner of other exotic gear that I have been wearing as part of my contract to look just like a Brit abroad - as in, mostly unsuitably dressed whatever the provocation. Because of this, every year, at about this time, I have had to do some rummaging around for long forgotten winter clothing.
I have to say that much of it I didn’t realise I still had, and when I found some of it in the hidden depths of my wardrobe I greeted a number of jumpers like long lost friends. Blimey, I even found a sturdy, brown, wax jacket, that would be ideal to put on when gassing badgers on a freezing cold and wet night in the country. Also, best of all, a long stylish, blue coat, that looks like it might be Armani, but is most likely to be a C&A creation.
Wearing proper winter clothing again, is a bit like when I went to ‘big school’ at eleven years of age; I was so excited to be wearing long trousers at last. Shorts are okay, but they are somewhat childish aren’t they? I mean, nobody who wants to be taken seriously or exude gravitas wears shorts all the time like a slightly dim British postman. It’s a bit like the other day when I had to wear a proper tie for the first time in ages. I had completely forgotten how to tie the knot; I stood there in front of the mirror with my tongue stuck out resembling a candidate for care-in-the-community, until I managed to do it by mistake.
I reckon if you started classes on the island for a refresher course in how to tie a Windsor knot you would make a fortune. However, the biggest shock to my system is just how early it gets dark nowadays.
Yes, indeed, the evenings now start at approximately 4.30pm and I don’t like it do you? Why do the powers-that-be make it light in the morning when I have no intention of getting out of my pit until 9pm at the earliest and then add insult to injury by making it dark just past teatime, so as to ensure that I don’t go out in the evening?
Now, that is something of a fib, because at this time of year I am rarely tempted to leave our warm and comfortable home at night. Indeed, I sometimes hear friends discussing what they are doing over the weekend, the younger ones among them are always talking about meeting at a bar at 8.30pm and then going for dinner at 9.30pm, perhaps a club afterwards - whatever!
Are they mad; don’t they have homes to go to? Personally, I can’t be doing with late nights anymore; in fact if I am not in my favourite chair in front of the television by eight at the latest, my girl would call the cops. In the summer I suppose I’m alright, but in the winter months I am afraid that Her Majesty the Queen would get short shrift if she were to invite me for a late supper at the palace, especially if there was something good on the telly.
Like most couples we get our fair share of invitations to go out of an evening, but I have to confess to always trying to turn dinner into a lunch date.
I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not alone in this regard, as an invitation to lunch usually gets a quick affirmative response, dinner is a different-kettle-of-fish altogether.
I always think the thoughtful, chin stroking technique that indicates that it could be possible that we might have something on that night particularly useful; but I am just trying to work out if it clashes with ‘Strictly - It Takes Two’ on the box.
If it’s a proper evening function that you are committed to attending, I find that dancing really badly, getting loud in drink, or sulking all evening is a good way of never being invited again.
If agoraphobia is the fear of open spaces, I wonder what the fear of the dark is called - as I might have to have it properly diagnosed and named. Anyway, dear reader - where do you stand on lunch versus dinner? To answer this - just ask yourself - why is it that dinner is always more expensive than lunch for practically the same food?
However, when I am invited to go somewhere, it seems that nothing can ever start before 9.00pm at the earliest and by that time I am usually past caring.
To be honest, it seems that anything socially worthwhile has to commence well after good Christian men and women are in their own beds. Anyway, apparently I am so obsessed by this issue that my friends now ignore me and think me pathetic; but if you think I’m going out in the middle of the night to get fed in a completely empty restaurant by a surly waiter who doesn’t want to be there either, you have another thought coming.
Then there is the business of getting a taxi home late at night - this can be a little trickier than expected, as the resentful cabbie is either outraged that you only want to travel just a couple of kilometres, or - rather confusingly is very cross that you want him to leave the confines of Palma for a journey into the dark outskirts of Andratx. In short - lunch is the best option in winter - you know it makes sense.