It’s on mornings like this, in the English mid-winter, when the temperature is sub-zero and the toilet seat’s covered in frost, that I'm thankful to be an ageing mod who never quite grew up, and, like any old mod who is proud of his heritage have – somewhere in the subterranean byways of my wardrobe – a second world war fishtail parka.
Actually, the parka that’s currently hanging in the cupboard isn’t an original American-issue fishtail parka at all: it’s a copy of the one on the Quadrophenia album cover, made by that largely awful and totally un-mod clothing manufacturer “Lambretta”. I bought it from this horrible boutique in the centre of town called Ashes, which is full of gay shirts and limp wristed trousers. How I found myself in this shop I don’t know. How the Lambretta parka found its way in there is even more of a mystery. But it was just so iconic that I had to have it.
I didn’t really think I’d ever wear it, to be honest. I mean, I’m nearly forty. I’m a bit old to be tearing round Boscombe in a parka. When I was a teenager at the Isle-of-Wight rally I expected the oldsters to have grown out of those sorts of shenanigans and set an example by wearing camel-hair overcoats, having plenty of cash, and slightly less off-key haircuts. None of them did, of course. They just got more outlandish. Now that I’m that age myself I kind of understand why. Forty is the new twelve.
Last night though, the temperature had fallen to minus five and my woollen bridge coat just wasn’t cutting it, and as any forty year old who is proud of his heritage will tell you, these days it’s all about warmth and comfort.
And I’ve got to say, my Lambretta non-American non-second world-war non-army issue parka is probably the warmest and most comfortable coat outside of the Arctic Circle. In fact it’s not so much a coat as a tent. And not just any old tent, either. A kind of Bedouin tent of the desert; the kind that’s big enough for your whole harem.
You could sleep in this coat anywhere, and be completely indoors. You could set up home in this coat. It’s faster and more spacious than a VW camper, that’s for sure. You could probably declare it a principality.
So, as you can see, I am pleased with my coat. Now that I have a suitable outer garment I can take up space travelling again. If you don’t see me, that’ll be why.