Monday 22 June 2015

The Toastie Cyclist

"Maybe I need a pair of those leg warmers for Britain", I said to Judy the Stoker, imagining myself in a pair of sleek Lycra tights with a fluorescent strip on each calf and a well known logo plastered down my thighs.

"How much?" Judy asked.

"I saw them on the Internet for £19 but they might be more expensive in a real shop."

There was silence and I let the matter drop.

Practicing an Irish jig ahead of my bound-to-come invitation to join the Riverdance crew.

It wasn't until we were in London a couple of days later that Judy brought up the subject herself.

"How about a thick pair of women's leggings? I'll bet they would be just as warm and they won't cost £19. And if it's never cold enough to wear them it doesn't matter."

So that's how we came to spend most of a precious afternoon in London visiting a succession of department stores.

At first nothing was suitable. It was summer and no-one was selling heavy duty winter leggings.

In each shop - Boots and Marks and Spencer and a couple of others - I hung back, reluctant to be seen in the women's tights department and even more reluctant to let it be known we were shopping for me - the Captain of the Beast of Bridgwater.

But in H & M in Oxford St, things looked more promising. Judy was rummaging on a shelf when she held up a packet triumphantly. 

She turned to a woman who was doing something with shoes on the next rack

"Would these be very warm, how big is XL?"

The woman looked nonplused but did her best. English was clearly her second language. Eventually she spelt it out.

"I don't work here. Maybe that man over there help, but what you think of these shoes? You think they suit me?"

Triumph turned to confusion, then bewilderment on the woman's part when she learned the leggings were for me. I looked for the emergency exit.

It took a certain amount of persuasion plus my share of a bottle of cheap Spanish wine to climb into my new leg warmers.

But there was no stopping the Stoker. The man at the counter agreed that 200 denier leggings would be very warm, even in an English Summer. And he regained his composure quite quickly after learning that they were for me.

So now I have my leg warmers. They don't have a stripe or a fancy logo, but It doesn't matter really because it's not cold enough to wear them.

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