Terry Pratchett uses the term The Trouser Legs of Time in a couple of his novels to denote an aspect of Time Travel.
One reaches the point of bifurcation and it’s a case of one leg or the other.While this tale of tailoring woe is not strictly about time travel it does speak of another era.
Yesterday was Father’s Day in South Africa. I qualify, being a father and a resident of South Africa.
My son was away for the long weekend, fishing at St. Lucia, where he saw rhino, hippo, deer and various other types of buck and countless birds and even managed to catch a grand total of three fish. He also mentioned seeing plenty of crocs which, he claimed, were much more fun than spending time with the Old Crock … moi! Cheeky bugger. But I forgave him.
So the duties of Father’s Day were left to Ems.
I was taken shopping for ”New Clothes”.
I loathe shopping. This is the main reason why the itinerary bordered on being classified a state secret and why the only info I was able to winkle out of Ems or my wife was the phrase, ”It’s a surprise! ”
So, bundled into the car it was Off to The Mall.
On the way the purpose of the outing was announced and being as it was Father’s Day and I was being taken for a treat (sic) I felt it would be a poor show to voice my well-known aversion to shopping.
Oh, well. It cannot be denied that I needed some new gear, and being the Worst Shopper In the World this was definitely a case of having to Visit the Mountain ‘cos it sure ain’t ever coming to visit me!
On the menu. Trousers. Good. And if I found something I liked, a couple of shirts too.
After visiting such stores as Woolies ( Somewhat like Marks and Spencer in the UK ), Mr Price, Edgars, Stuttafords and a couple other places we found nothing even remotely worthy of the name Trousers.
All I wanted was an ordinary pair of chinos and an ordinary shirt. Even Woolworths, which has, in the past , been my Clothes Mainstay Store for practically everything in my wardrobe, and especially underwear and trousers, let me down.
The quality was shocking, the fit dreadful, from everything from 200 bucks up to 500.
It was so bad that I was politely asked: “Maybe we could look at pants with elastic!”
What! I have enough sweat-pants thank you very much and I am not that old and still in pretty good shape!
Numerous inquiries of Woolies sales staff and endless scouring of racks upon racks turned up nothing, and I mean nothing but Made In China labels.
With one exception – Made in Swaziland, which at least is almost local. But it was a single pair and not my size!!
It seems obvious that Chinese models must be anorexic men with pipe-cleaner legs, a non existent crotch region, and a backside flatter than a billiard table.
What happened to Woolies?
I gave up, and we came home. I was fuming.
But I know we have a clothes industry somewhere. I think? ‘We do, don’t we,’ I asked. A shrug and a blank look was all I received.
There was still some daylight remaining and being fully intent on not ending Father’s Day Trouserless, I was determined to find somewhere I could buy an ordinary pair of pants.
I had an idea! Ha! Why didn’t I think of this before? Ah … yes … they didn’t tell me why we were going shopping, of course. Oh well. Easily remedied.
On arriving back home I marched into my bedroom and pulled out my favorite pair of comfortable chinos that are goodness knows how old and were almost like a friend. They fitted like a glove and even though I’ve put on a pound or two, are forgiving enough to remain comfortable to wear. These days, though, they are torn and although patched up here and there are not really suitable for anywhere but bumming around in the garden.
They were bought by the wife many, many moons ago and she couldn’t remember from where.
Looking at the faded label I was mortified to just make out the words: Woolworths. Fine Tailoring. Made in South Africa.
It’s the end of the civilized world I tell you!