Friday, 12 June 2015

Farm couture

One of the challenges I never, ever expected to face when I moved here was just what to wear.  I thought my days of standing, perplexed in front of a monochrome wardrobe of suits, wondering which shade of blue shirt to wear with which grey suit, and which pair of killer heels to wear for the *critical* sales meeting in the morning were long gone. I was secretly looking forward to being able to spend every day in my favourite pair of jeans and fleece and not give a second thought to my outfits ever again. Wow. How wrong can a girl be?! I can’t believe she is going to spin the topic of clothing out for a whole damn blog post I hear you groan, but bear with me on this one.

So first up the weather. I think North Wales must have its own micro-climate in its ability to go from minus 5 degrees celsius in the morning to plus 20 degrees in the afternoon. I mean how the hell do you dress for that? Add in a good dose of the inevitable rain showers at some point, maybe a dash of hail and a soupcon of scorching hot sun and you have a typical spring day here in our little corner of the world.

Ok, then you have to consider the types of activities you may be undertaking that day. Anything relating to livestock and which therefore runs the risk of being shat on will require a separate outfit in the interests of trying to maintain some level of health and hygiene around the place. Tinkering with the rotavator or having a play on the tractor? That will require a whole other set of clothing on account of the copious amounts of diesel and two-stroke that seem to end up anywhere but in the fuel tanks. A walking firebomb waiting to happen. And as for working up on the veg plot, any item of clothing with the vague hint of a pocket or a hem or a fold redistributes soil and crap all around the house in reverse Shawshank Redemption style, so separate outfit required for that too. Finally I don’t think there is any set of clothes that can take on the waist deep water of our ditches. With this one you just gotta take a deep breath baby and dive right in.  So on any given day you can be looking at up to five changes of outfit, at least. Naomi Campbell had feck all to complain about compared to this!

Tackling the drains...

And that’s before you multiply all that by approximately five again to wager the child factor of a puking baby and your average mucky toddler. Then divide the number of clothes that you actually have available in your wardrobe by eight to account for the fact that you are too small for your maternity clothes now and way too big for anything that fitted you before you had kids. Oh and don’t forget you need to wear something that is ‘easy access’ so you can feed you baby twenty times a day. This basically leaves you with bugger all to wear, spending each day in a frenzied tango between washing machine, washing line and yet another semi-dry selection of mismatched, ill-fitting clothes. You just hope and pray that no-one you know, or indeed anyone at all, rocks up unannounced to see you wearing your ancient jogging bottoms and your husband’s holey shirt. I swear to God it’s only a matter of time before baling twine becomes my accessory of choice…

But vanity and sheer pragmatics aside, with all this daily re-costuming it is a truth universally acknowledged that the very thing you need at that exact moment in time (phone, lip balm, tissues, pocket knife, essential piece of string, toddler’s favourite toy of the moment and hence only thing to silence their incessant whingeing) will absolutely, without fail, always be in the item of clothing that you are no longer wearing. Every bloody time. It’s uncanny. And very freaking annoying.

And don’t even get me started on footwear.  Before I arrived here I thought a pair of wellies was just a pair of wellies. Oh-ho no. There is a whole other level of welly etiquette around here that I never knew existed. None of your high-falutin Hunter or Le Chameau rubbish round here. What you need for dealing with the great Welsh weather and mud are some good, honest Dunlops.  Straight out of the farmer’s mart and straight into the cow pats. No messing about. Unless of course you are dealing with anything remotely dangerous. Then of course you need your steel toe caps of course. But not the chainsaw because that merits a whole pair of boots all for itself. Oh and if you are doing anything in the sun trap that is the veg plot in the afternoon you best wear short boots to avoid the rivers of sweat pouring down your legs and the immediate onset of athlete’s foot. It’s an absolute podiatric minefield I tell you!

Trusty Dunlops 

However, we may have found a solution… Anyone who has secretly envied their child’s all-in-one suit for romping around outside prepare to be very, very jealous. We found these bad boys at the local farmers’ mart and they are a-w-e-s-o-m-e. Put em on, zip em up and off you go. The only thing you have to consider is whether to wear anything underneath them or not. No pissing about with coats or waterproof trousers or sun cream or farmer’s tans. You just zip and go. It may not be the most flattering of outfits but I tell you what, I’m considering getting a whole load of them in different shades of blue, so that I may, of a morning, scratch my head and wonder which one to wear to meet my adoring animal fan club. 

Overall chic

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