Friday, March 14, 2008

car-cruncher, herrings, red cardigan

I read with satisfaction about a the fossilised remains of a 50ft long marine reptile found in Svalbard in the Arctic circle. The creature, which lived 150 million years ago, apparently had teeth the size of swords. According to the paleontologist Dr Jorn Hurum of the University of Oslo, it would have been able to pick up a car in its jaws and crunch it in half.

Surveying the label, this lunchtime, on a container of sweet pickled herrings (one of my favourite things to eat, because, in the right mood, they make me imagine I'm a sea gull), I read, under the heading "Allergy Advice", the simple statement, "Contains fish".

The story of the red cardigan. I have, for many years, owned a red, woollen cardigan. It is a comfort garment for cold evenings. For a long time, I could not bring myself to use it, because it reminded me of an unsympathetic sub-editor, who, on arriving in the office, would, every day, put on a garment, which happened to be of the same colour. I think it must have been to save wear and tear on his suit, an indication of his Dickensian malignity and compulsive meanness. As time went by my memory of the sub-editor faded, and I went back to my cardigan. It has since become a favorite again. So much so that a vast hole has appeared in one of its sleeves, something I am prepared to live with. Not Heidi. She can see the hole while I, the wearer, can only feel my elbow sticking through it. So last night she cobbles the hole and can look at the me without shuddering at her ragged consort. Now she threatens to look for a new one. But new clothes are never the same. Old ones with their associations and familiarity, their knowledge of your protrusions and inclinations, are irreplaceable.

1 comment:

Lucy said...

That cardigan piece is a meal in itself!

I rather like darning, but most modern clothes aren't really up to it...
(It's good to be a ragged consort, I think.)