Margaret Gow: Losing will to live in the hunt for a frock

Did you know that your waist size should be no more than half your height, and if yours is over 80 per cent of that your life is likely to be 17 years shorter?

My waist size (which I would rather forget) forced me into action. We both know that, really,”cuddly” means “fat” and a forage in my wardrobe showed that the wearable-dress front was sadly lacking.

The horrible weather of 2012 lasted right through,and I realise that I spent the entire time bar one weekend wearing trousers and tops: it doesn’t take a mathematician to come up with the fact that what I have hasn’t been worn for two years!

What’s more, I noticed that even then I’d sewn tiny hooks and eyes at the (supposed) waist line of two of them: this, combined with Comfort Eating, shows me how bad the situation has become. Admitted, both frocks buttoned right down the front and some idiot thought it great to make the holes slot up and down so any strain pulls them open; but that’s not the only problem.

It’s the length. In earlier days there used to be a thing called a shift dress.

These pulled over one’s head, ended just below the knee and were absolutely perfect. Nowadays it’s almost impossible to find such an item.

Since in the past I have been called the “Rutland Dwarf”, just about all dresses stop around my ankles. If this lovely weather is to continue, I was going to have to bite the bullet and find something new which won’t look silly under a short shower-proof coat.

I know women are supposed to adore shopping for clothes - damn it, some even like housework! I am not fond of either and the thought of popping in and out of umpteen shops filled me with horror, so I went to what is known as an “outlet” where they sell just about everything; quite posh, but cheaper, so you don’t need to cut off any downmarket tag and can pretend you bought 
at premium price 
. . . a revelation! Acres of tops, skirts, jackets, trousers, dresses of all kinds and lengths, about ten thousand pairs of shoes, bags, hats - you name it.

Two hours later, I had almost lost the will to live. One woman had mislaid her husband: I asked if it was carelessness or on purpose, but in this case it was by accident (or he was hiding somewhere) as she needed him to pay up.

At six o’clock wine and nibbles were on offer, and a huge wave, a tsumani of humanity rushed to the far corner of the building.

If it hadn’t had good foundations I would suspect the building to be helping the tilt of the British Isles downwards toward the North Sea (did you know that Bourne is only about 30ft above sea level?)

I tiptoed out in the opposite direction, having acquired two new frocks and a jacket, into the peace and quiet of the furniture area where an elderly gentleman was availing himself of a superb armchair. I told him he had the best seat in the house.

‘I know’, he grinned, ‘and it’s cost nowt!”