I went to a Macmillan coffee morning on Friday, which was bizarre enough in itself, but the thing that stood out most, in that country house, with its stone-flagged kitchen floor and fine stairwell, was….er… me.
Having just returned from a week in the hills, I was still favouring my Scotland kit: walking boots, a (bright green) waterproof jacket and a pair of cleanish jeans. Everyone else was wearing designer clothes, perfect hair/nails and names like Felicity. I have a lot else in common with these women, but I didn’t cut the mustard in my semi mountain garb; they didn’t recognise me as a middle class, middle-aged, country-dwelling mother, but rather as some tramp who had wondered in off the Downs. Despite knowing half of them by name, no one spoke to me. The coffee was good though.
Conversely, if I’d turned up to Corrour Bothy last weekend with anything other than a pair of Zamberlains (or similar), hair awry and broken nails, they’d have thought I’d taken a wrong turning at the carpark (the souvenir shops are ten miles the other way).
I confess I felt a little at odds while searching for a friend amongst last month’s Thunder in the Glen gathering (Harley Davidsons R Us). Despite being a biker myself (Moto Guzzi), and being in a pub I know well and love, I didn’t fit; I was wearing the wrong uniform. But I didn’t mind. Besides, bikers are much nicer than the snobby-mothers brigade.
I feel all right in my ten-quid jeans and a pair of boots. I’ve tried and failed to smarten myself up over the years, invariably reverting to my own uniform, that one that says “ME” and the one in which I feel most comfortable. I reckon if people don’t like that, I probably didn’t want to talk to them anyway!