Tuesday, 14 October 2008

26. Mulberry towels

Dan was quite alarmed when he heard where I’d gone on Monday. He’s gone where? He’s never done that. We should call the police.

I was in Brent Cross Shopping Centre and I can explain. For the first time in my life, I wanted new towels. Great big fluffy hotel-style towels that would grab you from the shower and give you a great big hug. And I wanted new sheets – expensive top-quality super-soft cotton sheets that you curl up in top-class American hotels. And I wanted new shirts and sweaters that fitted my new actual size and didn’t hang off me as if I’d borrowed them from a fitter, older brother. I may be getting smaller – but I don’t want to feel it. I would rather dress to kill than dress to die.

Mary, of course, was very good about this. Normally, she has quite strong opinions on bed linen and so on. She likes things to “match” – a concept I’ve never come close to understanding. But this time she was hugely generous in relaxing her branding policies – although she did give me the odd gentle steer by saying things like “by all means have the yellow, although it is slightly acidic”.

We’ve always had trouble with colours. Mary can tell the difference between literally dozens of different shades of a colour, every one of which I call beige. Well, not every one. Some are magnolia. Our whole house is a variation on beige and magnolia. Wear bright colours when you visit us or we won’t be able to find you. Our new towels, however, are bright purple – a colour faux pas I have finessed by calling them mulberry.

It was sunny at the weekend and I was virtually pain-free. I went to see my dad at his care home. It’s a nice enough place and it didn’t take him long to crack the system there. As he’s quick to point out, the staff love him because he’s never any bother. I gave him a printed copy of the blog. It’ll be the first time he’s seen it.

New emails arrived. Some are still the result of the radio broadcast. I’m amazed people have taken such a lot of time and effort over them. Others date back to my student days in Sheffield. They have a particular tone of voice. It’s the caricature drawl of the oh-so-cool 1967 stoned dead hippy and it resonates across the decades, apparently untouched by any intervening real life (whatever that means, man). I never did a lot of drugs at university. You should see me now.