As I inch ever closer to retirement and adjust to the idea of staying at home, I am starting to realise what a psychological comfort blanket dressing for work is. My ritual is the night before I select my suit, shirt, matching tie, pair of shoes, socks and they are all hanging there for me to put on when I get up.
But on my non-working days I’m all at sea. I have my shower and then realise I haven’t pre-selected what to wear. And then there is a desperate search through the drawers for something suitable and the realisation dawns on me that there is a major imbalance in my wardrobe in favour of formal attire rather than leisure wear and the majority of what leisure wear I have is holiday attire suitable for 30 degrees Celsius rather than 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Some serious shopping in store, methinks.
You will have noted that I included a tie in my list of work attire. I have never subscribed to the business casual look and I profoundly disagree with the Robert Peston view of wearing ties. There is something that transforms your mental outlook and approach, I find, through wearing a tie. The results of a financial institution I worked for went to hell in a handcart shortly after the introduction of a business casual regime. Coincidence or cause and effect? Peston and I will be on opposite sides in that debate!
What I find even more ludicrous is the sight of colleagues who feel the need not to wear a tie in the office but wear one when they are meeting clients. They are forever taking their tie off, putting it back, on, off again. It is one or the other, surely?
Regular readers will have observed that I managed to grow some passable pumpkins and achieved my first year objective of handing over one to the BoJ for his Halloween celebrations. There was a touching scene of a proud granddad handing over the pumpkin to a slightly bemused grandson. I was even prouder when I read that it was a poor season for pumpkin growers. Next year, my serious assault on some horticultural silverware!
What do you buy someone who has everything? If he has announced a new hobby this is the cue the anxious present buyers have been waiting for, So, following my recent birthday my collection of premium gins has grown. Hendrick’s dry gin comes in an unusual dumpy bottle with two grooves running along its side, making it easy to handle. It looks like a bottle you might have spotted on an apothecary’s shelf years ago. Made by whisky distillers, William Grant, it has a distinctive fresh, floral taste with rose petals and cucumber to the fore. It is very refreshing and at the lighter end of the spectrum of gins I have sampled.
Almost at the opposite end of the scale is Opihr (pronounced opeer, so the bottle says) which has a very distinctive taste of spices, bearing testimony to the mix of cubeb berries from Indonesia, black pepper from India and coriander from Morocco. Rather like taking mild cheeses before you move on to the stonger blues, I find the strength of the after taste means that a glass of Opihr should follow some of the other more mellow gins rather than the other way round.
A replacement bottle of Sipsmiths, still my favourite, means that I do not have to eke out the remaining drops in my original bottle. Alas, though, the Elemental Cornish bottle is exhausted and I have not seen anywhere near me that sells it and the bottle of Portobello Road No 171 has only one double left. Still it will give me an excuse to experiment with some other gins.
I am really enjoying this voyage of discovery!