Dressing down, gown, or up?

In which roughseas goes shopping.

Wrapping myself up in my Russian countess coat, because it is freezing here in Gib, something below ten earlier today, and only around 13 degrees now, I skipped off dawdled leisurely to the health food shop for a jar of seitan.

Coping with these extremely cold temperatures means comfort food is called for, ie any sort of casserole and potatoes, invariably mashed. I had run out of tofu and so has Morrisons (nothing new there), so the health food shop beckoned.

There was an old dear in there with an andador/walking frame so I waited patiently in the doorway for her to do whatever she was doing. I know she was old because she was older than me. A bit like an alcoholic is someone who drinks more than me.

‘That’s a very sensible length of coat,’ she said, admiring the Russian countess coat which goes down to my ankles. I preened myself, or my feathers, or my coat. Take your pick.

‘Thank you,’ I replied. ‘It is very warm and hides my scruffy trousers.’ I’d pulled the coat on to conceal the totally faded and worn-out leggings. Yes, I know leggings are the fashion disaster of the last century, but not when you are tall and skinny. Possibly, if you are short and fat, but that is not my problem.

‘Is it a coat or a dressing gown?’ she asked. Innocently. I think. I gulped.

My Marella wool and cashmere coat that I bought for around £400 when I got rid of my lease car for work due to a) sciatica arse b) I wasn’t doing much mileage and c) I figured catching the bus would be cheaper? Not necessarily in that order.

Standing at the bus stop in the north-east of England merited a decent coat. ‘We’ll see how long you last without a car,’ said my secretary sagely. Not that sagely, as I lasted until I left work. Wearing a warm coat and boots, I wasn’t cold standing at the bus stop in freezing weather, chucking it down rain, ice, snow, whatever. A damn sight warmer than standing at school bus stops with a stupid short skirt and silly tights or socks plus feeble leather shoes.

But a dressing gown? It’s hardly pink or blue. I should add that Spaniards, and maybe Gibbos, happily wander around outside in dressing gowns in winter because they are the warmest clothes they own. And they don’t get up very early either. My neighbour goes out to the bread van in his dressing gown. Another wanders up the street in hers to put the rubbish in the bin.

‘It’s a coat, Italian actually, and I bought it 15 years ago,’ I said in my nicest voice which doesn’t happen very often. Patient roughseas. [An extremely rare occurence].

The Russian countess.  Seems to have been assassinated in the Revolution. Headless. Turned into a waxwork model.
The Russian countess. Seems to have been assassinated in the Revolution. Headless. Turned into a waxwork model.

The shop assistant had arrived at this point. ‘How can I help?’ she asked the old dear.

‘Well last year I had an operation on my anus….’ at which point I thought it was discrete to excuse myself and disappear up the shop. Her anus wasn’t my business. I think I heard her saying she thought calendula would be good for it. Not sure what it would achieve.

I had now found not only the desired jar of seitan, but also some fresh tempeh. An excellent result. This is an extremely good seitan, made by a Dutch firm – Yaks – and is organic, in small pieces, tastes superb in casserole or fried. Cost: £7.15 for 400 gms, and the liquid it is kept in is great for stock/gravy.

Seitan and tempeh
Seitan and tempeh

Off I skipped, buoyed with my successful shopping, to the cheapo shop to buy some cleaning liquid for our block which my partner is now cleaning.

Couldn’t find it. Went off to ask the assistant for the fregasuelo and lejía español (Spanish floor cleaner and bleach). Oh yes, she said, in Spanish, we’ve got the bleach, and showed me some extremely expensive bleach which I didn’t buy.

‘What about the floor cleaner, the blue one?’ I asked.

’75 pence,’ she said.

‘Yes, that’s right,’ I replied.

‘No we don’t have that.’ [Although they did have some expensive rip-off Pledge products that I also didn’t buy].

So I gets back home to prepare the comfort food casserole, using a mix of organic veg from ghastly Morries and some veg from the local Roccie van.

My Indian neighbour had told me about this Moroccan who comes in a van on Friday evening, parks in a car park and sells cheap veg. Off I went to investigate on Saturday morning.

All veg vans in Spain are white. No white vans in sight. But then I noticed a load of Moroccans hanging around a blue van. I approached. The novelty value for the day. The tall white guiri (foreigner – or to be more accurate – wog).

I waited my turn. ‘Pase,’ I said to a bloke who I thought was in front of me. Turned out he was one of the staff.

I pointed to the potatoes. ‘Papas,’ I said, helpfully, in case he didn’t know what they were called in Spanish.

Oh, English wasn’t on the agenda. At all. Spanish wasn’t doing too well either.

‘Dos,’ I says, as in dos kilos. Everything was pre-bagged so he brought me another bag. Did I end up with dos kilos or quatro kilos? Who knows.

Did they have chicarros (peas)? He ripped open a bag of cabbage and gave it to a Moroccan woman and then asked the younger bloke if they had chicarros. No, none left.

OK, I’ll have some nabos (white turnips). But I want menos (less). This caused a major problem. I can’t eat a huge amount of white turnips, this bag must have held at least a dozen.

He dived into the van and brought out a bag of carrots. ‘Zanahoria?’ he asked. ‘Do you want zanahoria?’ Since when did zanahoria sound like nabos? Just like carrots don’t sound like white turnips.

Luckily a Moroccan woman came to my rescue and offered to split a bag of nabos with me, because after all, we only use them for stews/soups, she said. I wonder if I paid for her nabos?

I don’t know whether I will go back there again. If I do, I need a crash course in Arabic.

Comfort food casserole

Throw chopped onions and garlic in pan. Add tempeh, and then seitan. Add veg – carrots and white turnips. Add dried or fresh mixed herbs at some point, liquid/stock and a couple of tomatoes.

Served with mashed potatoes and some fresh parsley or coriander or whatever you have. Easy and delicious.

Onion, garlic, tempeh and seitan sautéing in the casserole
Onion, garlic, tempeh and seitan in the casserole

Edited to add A couple of people have asked what tempeh and seitan are, so I have added a new page to the recipe section on the top bar to explain more about them.


60 comments on “Dressing down, gown, or up?

    • We don’t put all our eggs in one basket. I moved to Spain because the life was cheaper and like the Spanish lifestyle (although not the late nights!), he probably moved because it was warmer, and er, cheaper. Gib isn’t too different to Spain in terms of temps. It was tongue in cheek talking about freezing temps. It is just cold in comparison with summer. The sun is blazing right now. Gib weather is good, believe me.


  1. It used to be once you were out on your own and employed, one of the first items to purchase was a long “nice” coat. (Odd considering it’s rather warm here and “cold” weather is often Jan-Feb) I found a rather nice one on close-out at a exclusive store fallen on hard times and changing demographics – it was warm and soft – didn’t weight you down – and I felt like a NYC jetsetter. That winter was brutally cold. And someone at work stole that coat! I spent the reast of the winter wrapped in an ugly cheap red one – which I had to wear because I had gotten such a terrible winter cold trying to do without. I have a wool coat now – but rarely wear it – and still miss that wonderful “first coat”
    If this grim damp fog doesn’t lift soon, I’m making something warm for lunch. Yours looks promising. (despite the adventure in purchasing)


    • I never had a long coat before this brown one. I must have been nearly 40! And because I spent a lot of time jumping in and out of cars (gotta have a car yes?) a long coat was a no-no.

      Your cold weather must be similar to ours. My fingers and toes have been cold today. (No heating).

      But, the truth was a coat that lasts, using public transport (in a city) was far cheaper and sounder than leasing a car. I got a monthly transport pass, knocked spots off my monthly car costs plus fuel. And, I still have the coat.

      My partner had a down jacket stolen from a social club, so we know where you are coming from. Not good.

      Lovely sunshine here, but chilly (relatively) so off to dish up our casserole, potatoes and croutes. Buen provecho.


      • Always had to remember to “sweep” that long coat in to keep it out of the mud when getting in a vehicle. Down is so much easier…my fav now is a rescued puffy one that was “out of style” from a relative. Mud, rain, nothing fazes it! (but this fog is getting old)


        • I did make a knee-length coat which was OK for the car. But even so, I usually tended to take it off first and throw it over the back. Plus I usually had fairly low-slung cars which didn’t help, and I was into short skirts long legs syndrome at the time. We do have a lot of down and hollofil. I wouldn’t buy down any more, but I’m sure not chucking out my 20+ year old purchases that are still warm.

          Fog is good. So spooky, especially in The Fog (Carpenter).


  2. Oh, I had a lovely long black wool coat once, and yes, it was very warm.
    I had a fit of clearing out almost all my wardrobe into one of those charity bags about 5 years ago, and guess what went in :-( I still regret that moment of madness.
    I will also join the ‘coat theft’ club. When I first started work (August 1966), I saved and saved for a longed for sheepskin coat, eventually buying it just in time for that winter. I’d left it in the cloakroom of a local school where I was attending night class, finished the class…..no coat.
    Your comfort food looks and sounds extremely yummy, I wish I’d read your post a couple of hours ago, I’ve just been into our local health food shop, it would have prompted me to buy some tempeh and seitan and had a go at doing it……..logged in brain for next visit. :-)


    • I’ve got a long black one too. Bought for a funeral for a work colleague – sudden death in tragic ski-ing accident. Think I wrote about it on Clouds. Ah yes, and you read it: http://wp.me/s22GQH-funerals

      There was an interesting last comment on there though that you may not have read. Check out the blogsite for Y ;)

      Why has everyone had their coats stolen? Must have been a thing at the time? Or maybe people were lacking money? *Note to self* Do not leave coats unattended in these times of current hardship.

      I’ve added a page about tempeh and seitan: http://wp.me/P1XwsS-1et
      will add recipes later, although read my reply to restless as well because it is a different type of food and you need to choose the right recipes to start with.


  3. My daughter has one of those coats you might put in the posh dressing gown category. It’s huge and velvety with frogging. Bit warm for a Gib day, I suspect, but great for a White Russian.
    Your food fascinates me! (I’ve led such a sheltered life) Never heard of half your ingredients, (don’t mean the tunips) and not sure… would I like them? I’m not wild about meat.


    • Hey, I wouldn’t call anyone’s coat a posh dressing-gown! I think I can tell the difference, but obviously the old dear in the shop was confused. I mean, who has a brown dressing gown? Oh, I suppose my grandmother did, come to think of it, before the days of pink and blue. But she never wore it with knee-high boots :D Your daughter’s coat sounds very exotic. After seeing the wedding photos I can vaguely imagine what it might look like.

      As with Gerry below, I’ve realised I blithely talk about ingredients thinking the world now knows about them, so I suspect I haven’t actually said what they are (thought I had, but obviously not). I’ve mentioned them loads on my Clouds blog too. Anyway, I’ve now added a page to explain on my recipes section, and will add some actual recipes later. http://wp.me/P1XwsS-1et

      I’ve been vegetarian for 20+ years, so I’m well past the lentils and cheese omelette stage. Seitan, tempeh (and tofu) are protein-rich products, which is why ‘Where do you get your protein from?’ is the most stupid question to ever ask a vegetarian: http://wp.me/p22GQH-4

      I tend to forget as well that while a lot of my (totally non-veg) readers visit my ranty Clouds blog, not everyone does. The previous – short! – link is a much older post that obviously my current readers haven’t read, but saves me wittering on further.

      As for whether you would like them, depends what you are expecting. If you want to eat less meat, it’s not what I would start with tbh, even though they are a major part of my diet. But maybe I’ll write a post/page about eating less meat – if I put it on Clouds, I’ll let you have the link.


  4. I once had a long black coat,, it was trench coat that many of us from the period wore, it did not stay with me too long, nice and warm yes, but clumsy, and I left it in a pub one night and never saw it again. I have since stuck with bomber styles or jackets. There seems to be a trend around here, of woman walking about in PJ;s lately. PS my ignorance showing here what is seitan and tempeh,, I might have missed it..is it just a gravy flavour or more to it..;)


    • The world is full of missing coat stories! My partner had a knee length brown coat he bought dirt cheap in Prague in Iron Curtain days which I always thought looked extremely old-fashioned so it found its way to the clothes bank. He’s been jacketed ever since. I think long coats for men really only go with suits.

      Walking around in jim jams sounds a bit like a variation on tracksuits or those ghastly shell suits.

      More to it with tempeh and seitan. I write about them from time to time and have realised I’ve never said what they are, I thought I had. Here: http://wp.me/P1XwsS-1et


    • Hah! I tells you, it was just so cold. I mean not cold enough for me to consider putting on the heater and spending money on electricity. And I should really have been wearing more than a T-shirt and a big woolly pully. But still, it was cold. Nice in the sun though.

      According to my adorable Hal (mac) weather widgets it looks to be colder in Spain, four degrees brrrrr. The good thing about Gib is that the temperatures are quite, well, temperate. We don’t have a lot of difference in winter between day and night. This is about the coldest time of year. My partner was working on scaffolding last year at this time and was absolutely bloody frozen ten floors up.


  5. 13 deg C, here in the UK we call that summer. That said I may not now put my quilted red coat on E-Bay, I might need it if I go out any mid-winter nights. I also have a long leather coat I bought at ‘The Mall on St John’s Hill’ which is in New Jersey. I was staying nearby and they had a sale on, good value at 75$ I thought.

    Looked at the recipe, if you replace the tempeh and the seitan with chicken and bacon its looks very much like something I might cook.


    • Oh come on, it does rise above 13 degrees. It certainly did when I did a long distance walk and for some reason there was a wretched heatwave. I thought I was just struggling uphill with a heavy pack until we reached the village, dived into a shop for a couple of cokes, and the woman in the shop told us there was a heatwave. I felt so much better after that! I skipped merrily on.

      Partner wears shorts nearly all year round as does our neighbour. I think that is silly Welsh bravado myself. The Spanish start dressing up in furs before Christmas. It’s all relative. When summer temps are in the 40s then below ten is cold.

      I’ve done a page about tofu, tempeh, seitan and will add recipes, but basically I swap chicken for tofu, tempeh for ham/bacon and everything, and seitan for beef. But yes, it was actually a chicken-style casserole, or maybe a beef one. I didn’t bother looking up a recipe to adapt, I just used what I had in the fridge. There’s no difference in the style of cooking, just the ingredients, so pretty easy really.


      • Yes it does rise above 13 deg, but that’s about the temperature I ditch the coat so its the low end of summer. I’m not a shorts person, don’t own any, but I did see a bright red pair of Bermudas today which are atleast in Gib colours (the white provided by my stick like thin white legs).


        • Oh dear, 13 is still big coat weather for me. Actually, weather is either warm or cold. Now is cold. We tried to buy some shorts for national day last year for him, far too expensive. Stuck to the appropriate colour of T-shirt. Thin legs? He had polio so one is well thin, bet he would beat your thin legs!


  6. Got a good laugh when I read about the old dear and the anus. I worked in medical administration before I moved, lived in a small town. The old dears could never make the distinction between administrative staff and health care, so in the grocery stores I was constantly confronted with stories like that … defecation and gawd knows what.

    It looks like a very nice coat, judging from the photo … not at all like a dressing gown LOL. The winter of 2007/08 in Quebec was extremely cold. I bought a long black coat, with fake fur on the inside. It has a hood too. I wish someone would steal it. It’s so heavy and when I go into a shopping centre, I almost get cooked because it’s so warm…


    • When I worked in PR (public relations) in the health service, one of the PR officers was a former nurse. She bored everyone endlessly by reminding us that PR in nursing terms is per rectum. I don’t know if it was to reinforce her clinical credentials, but who cared? I guess when you get older though, you aren’t so squeamish to telling a total stranger about your anus maybe doesn’t matter?

      Well, there seem to be plenty of tips on here about how to get it stolen!


  7. Too, too funny… one of the benefits of attaining aged status is forgetting where you put your edit button :) I’m guessing the old dear was a little short sighted.
    I have a variety of serviceable coats of varying age, weight, length and material as is required for the east coast of Australia but your beautiful coat would rarely get an airing in Sydney, and only maybe in Melbourne. Beware the stolen coat anecdotes and keep it to hand.
    The seitan reminds me of a memorable yum cha lunch I had with Mrs S. quite some time ago in the southern end of Sydney CBD. As we were paying I thought ‘that was the weirdest yum cha I’ve ever eaten…’ Glancing at the menu (for the first time) on the counter there were the words that explained so much… ‘meat free’, ‘mock pork’, mock duck… the restaurant was possibly a long ago incarnation of Bodhi’s which is now both fashionable and controversial. http://www.vegansydney.com/vegansydney.html
    I’m reassured to hear the shopkeeper’s mentality ‘you get what I’ve got’ is universal…
    Your comfort food casserole looks lovely, and anything served with mash, which after eating it regularly with the G.O. who makes it beautifully, I now have an affection for.


    • She was wearing glasses actually. I suspect it is the odd practice here on the Med that people have of wandering around in their nightwear in winter. Probably due to the fact that they spend a lot of time in bed as it is a cheap way to stay warm. So therefore, she wouldn’t have been surprised if it had been a dg. Even thought I’ve never seen anyone in central Gib shopping in a dg!

      It was a bit nippy early in the mornings when I was going to work at Kawasaki (packing motor bike parts) and Gordon and Gotch (awful place). I think I could justifiably have worn it then, although maybe not for the jobs I was doing. It may well have got nicked.

      Yes, I was reading up about seitan and about it being mock whatever.

      That is a brilliant website. I see I could eat out quite happily in Sydney. The Bodhi’s write-up was seriously funny. I liked the sound of the South Indian place and the Thai one – before I read the asterisked comments about it changing the menus to include dead animals.

      I quite like Chinese food, but …. often too sweet for my taste (as you can imagine) whereas Indian, Thai, and Indonesian too cater more for hotter desires. So to write. The ones in Bondi and Bondi Junction sounded good too (you can tell I was looking at the places I used to visit) – and the write up about the class war for the Bondi Junction one was, well, class really. I seem to remember we had this conversation about labels and pretence around veg food on another of my posts.

      I’m relinquishing control of the mashed potatoes and let him mash them. He thinks he is the carb king, ie he cooks rice, pasta and mashes potatoes better than me. He probably does. His rice and pasta are to die for – top tip, spend time working for a Chinese chippy! But mashed potato and casserole really are good – they just go together, and the gravy just gets whoosed into the pots.


  8. Cold to the Honkies means 15C or lower. Then the winter glad rags come out. It’s a fashion show mainly. Most of the clothing wouldn’t survive real cold weather. Shorts in winter is fine here. Maybe the odd week when something longer is called for.

    I have a long black coat. My colleagues used to refer to it as the undertaker’s coat. Cashmere. Harry made in a day for me. It was 1997. I was in HK. No coat. Crisis time in Korea so my flight was booked. I wondered en passant what the temperature was in Seoul. Minus 11C said my secretary. Before windchill. I was off to see Harry in a flash. Flash Harry they don’t call him. By evening time I had a fine warm heavy coat. I forget what I paid. Not much.

    Anyway, it looks very elegant, Katya Karenina. Just the ticket for a bracing Gib morning. But I’m still looking for red meat in my diet. Dao fu doesn’t do it for me. I’ll have mine medium rare please.


    • I’m not sure what cold is to the Spaniards or Gibbos. I tend to use below 10 (not 10 below extreme brrrs and frostbite at the thought) as a totally arbitrary measure. Cold is usually when there is a bloody cold wind blowing from somewhere, in Spain often from the north (ie from the mountains) or the west (up the med coast).

      Hal’s weather widget says we are currently at 12 degrees, with an amazing variation during the day of low – 11, and high – 13. Looks rather nice where you are though, sort of spring or early autumn temps.

      Spanish winter clothing is a real mix. The rich people have affluent and extremely warm looking clothes. The poor people wear an odd mix of polyester/nylon that wouldn’t keep a flea warm. And dressing gowns of course. I’m glad I hung onto my Brit clothes. Gibbos tend to be slightly better dressed. No idea where they buy their clothes as there aren’t any decent clothes shops here. Spain or London I guess.

      Lawyers often have long expensive coats here. Yours sounds nice. Perhaps you should go work in Seoul again and then you will have an excuse to dust it off.

      There is such an advantage in having an old-fashioned name that translates across so many languages – French, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Russian for example.

      As I said to EllaDee above, Chinese veg food isn’t my fave. I like it, but.. And stop trying to teach me Chinese. Arabic will be more use TVM.

      Why haven’t you told us about the office? Or don’t you want to say until you have finished? And got paid?


      • What is there to say about an office? Nobody is wearing a Russian greatcoat. Does that help? I find myself struggling to concentrate for a full day. Not used to it. I have concluded that much as I like being paid, it’s not worth working for it. It’s too much like, well, hard work.
        I can relax now before I head out to the airport for a flight one in the early hours. I think I might apply for the job of running Italy next. Only clowns need apply, the ad said. I shall paint a big red smiley mouth on my face (where else?) and promise everybody a free gondola. Or I may just sleep for a week. In my Seoul overcoat.


        • Well it could possibly be very interesting and incredibly motivating. Alternatively it could be a load of boring old shit. Imagine my dilemma if someone offered me a job after so many years off. Although judging by the calibre of interviewers I find that unlikely.

          Perhaps you could consider running Spain, or at the very least a Spanish bank. They seem to deal in the world of low finance and high salaries so you could hardly do worse job. We have gondolas too, although they are in the aire.

          Sleep for a week after months of work? I think I would be sleeping for the reciprocal number of months. Coated or otherwise.


          • Tap, tap tap,….. waiting for next post. In the meantime, the idea of running Spain is quite attractive. Does the government have offices in Donana? I am “panelling” people for 3 days next week – any questions you think I should ask the victims? This will all be about “soft skills” – my speciality.


          • Mine, Pippa’s or both? You know I don’t post daily. Although it is normally every two or three on here. I’d drafted a Treaties post for Tuesday (Treats on Tuesday) but it got overtaken by the woman with the – er – problem in the HFS and her dressing gown comment. I’m currently distracted by pulling out a couple of white hairs that I have suddenly noticed. Must have a cull.

            You wouldn’t want to work in Doñana, no dogs allowed so no Lulu. One of the reasons we only drove through but never entered the real bit.

            Soft skills huh? My speciality too, so much so that I had to look it up to check it was what I thought it was. Perhaps I will make a post out of it. ‘Twill be on Clouds though, as it fits that better than on here. And I need to go to the paint shop. So in the meantime, I suggest you browse around older posts on here or there if you are lacking entertainment from white-haired roughseas (nearly pulled most of them out now).


          • Will comment on the post later but chuckled a lot at it. At least nobody asked you “how would you move Mount Fuji?”, apparently a Microsoft interview question to test creativity.


          • If it gave you a laugh that’s enough. A sixth form friend was asked about the elasticity of treacle (for an engineering place) which I thought was unfair because we didn’t learn about treacle at school. But it was a good question, I realised many years later.

            As for Mt Fuji I am afraid I would launch into a big env rant about not messing with nature which wouldn’t quite get me the job.


  9. I was going to comment but anything I might have said has already been said. I’ll have to try and get to your posts sooner – late today on account of early golf start – about 4 degrees by the way but it soon warmed up!


    • Do you mean:

      a) that I look like a glamorous Russian countess, seeing as you have been to Russia, although maybe not mixed with aristocracy there
      b) you’ve had a long coat nicked
      c) you really don’t want to hear about older people’s rectal problems?

      Wondered where you were when no posts popped up today. Thought you had them all pre-scheduled. Fourteen allegedly here, previous forecast high of 13 :D Never trust a computer weather forecast.

      Oh, and I wrote this yesterday! (I think!)


      • Well, you certainly look glamorous in that coat, it is rather like those that I saw all the top people wearing in Riga on a winter visit.
        Nobody is going to steal my coats that’s for sure! Anoraks aren’t that fashionable any more even in Grimsby!
        Medical details I can live without!
        I have just transferred an old post to my archive!


        • Well tyvm, must remember to go take my coat when I go to Riga. In fact, when I went back to the UK some years ago in autumn I wore the long black coat, which worked extremely well, not too hot, but warm enough. Plus I looked smart enough to get porters grovelling on the train. Gone were the days of cagoules ;)

          I never pegged you for an anorak though.

          Ten years in the health service and medical details are like water off a duck’s back, (no waterproofs needed).

          So what is the significance of the old post in your archive??


          • I thought the archive idea was a clever way of beating WP at their charging policy. Just clearing down space – I was down to less than 10% but have now recovered to 25%+. I keep the original post and a link without taking up any space!
            I can’t wear long coats – too short!


          • Neat move. I’ll beat that in mind for ten years in the future, just as well I don’t post every day :)
            Sounds a bit like clearing out my gibtel email very minimum allowance :(
            My coat is probably longer than you are!


    • It’s perfect, although interesting it works well in a warmer climate than the one it was originally bought for, which just goes to show that temperatures are relative. Guess it might work ok in your part of the world too.

      I like to be discrete occasionally rather than listening to someone’s rather intimate details, although having worked in the health service I was actually mildly interested to know what her operation was! Move on up the shop roughseas and leave it all alone :D


  10. That looks a smart coat and makes me regret donating my cashmere old faithful when I moved to Costa Rica. It was ideal for commuting, for standing about in draughty places and for making people pay attention to me; swathed as I was I looked, for some reason, taller and thinner. Pairing it with a hat with a brim as i did once was a big mistake, making me resemble a mushroom in mourning.

    Women in France seemed to live in their dressing gowns in the morning…up to about 11,00 am, but there was no way that those pink floral horrors could be mistaken for a coat.


    • It is smart, despite the waxwork photo I took which was really to show the length, couldn’t get a head and length shot in together with a computer pic in the bedroom, the coat is longer than the bedroom is, so to speak.

      I nearly chucked warm weather clothes when we moved to Spain. Am I glad I didn’t. In fact when we travelled down through in the Series III Land Rover I wore the other long cashmere wool coat (black and funereal) and it was an extremely good idea, as driving through northern Spain and over the Madrid meseta was rather chilly.

      Long opulent coats are extremely good for attracting attention, especially from little men, ie porters, railway guards, waiters. I’m not sure if they made me look any taller as 5’9″ is pretty tall to start with. I do wear wide-brimmed hats, and pair the brown coat with an Irish waxed cotton hat when it is raining, better than an umbrella and leaves both hands free. I’m more the leggy toadstool than the stunted mushroom I suppose.

      Needless to state, Spain surpasses French women. As they often don’t get out of bed until midday, the dressing gowns appear well after noon, they eat lunch post 2pm and then natch, go back to bed for the siesta still appropriately attired.


  11. Very glam Roughseas. Nothing like a bit of dressing up to add a spark to the day, or hide the leggings or pj’s for that matter! Had lots of fun and giggles reading this. In Iceland when the temp would hit 12+ , and us Saffas would still be complaining bitterly about the cold, the local ladies would strip down to their bra’s and hang out in their gardens, quite a sight. I think I would have prefered them in coats or dressing gowns.


    • Thank you mbl. Just dressing really! And so convenient to have a posh coat to hide the terrible leggings underneath. I don’t wear jimjams, but if I did I may well fall into the trap of putting the coat on over the top! So pleased you had a laugh, I’m often serious so it’s nice to write a light-hearted post from time to time.

      Twelve plus – I’m guessing that is fahrenheit or however it is spelt (and I grew up with F not C) – sounds a bit too chilly for me to be almost nude. Although I have stripped down similarly in my Spanish patio (enclosed, I add quickly) in winter, but it was more like at least 12 C.

      I won’t even ask what you were doing in Iceland!


  12. I like your coat.
    Couple of useful things with turnips:
    1. Hide them in mashed potatoes. They cook a little longer than potatoes, but if you cook potatoes for a long time, they’re easier to mash anyway. One medium turnip to four or five big potatoes; mash them up with a bunch of dairy like regular mashed potatoes. The turnip gives an unexpected piquancy to what is commonly an unexciting dish.
    2. Root vegetable stir-fry. I started with some fresh garlic and ginger in ghee, and when they were looking well done, I added chopped carrots and turnips and stirred them around until soft. Some salt and pepper, maybe some other spices wouldn’t be amiss. It was really good. After the roots, I tried to fry some ageing bell peppers in the same oil, but the flavors didn’t mix well.


    • Thanks – re the coat-that-isn’t-a-dressing gown.

      I’d forgotten about a mixed root puree, my mother used to do various combinations of swede, carrots and potatoes.

      I do veg stir fries from time to time and if I’ve got them in I’ll add them because I like their clean slightly sharp taste.

      Thanks for reminding me about other options though, and as my partner particularly likes them anyway, I should probably have got the whole bag. They looked like a lot but they were quite small. I’ll know for next time.


      • I hadn’t thought of adding carrots to the puree, though I’ve done a combination of sweet potatoes and white potatoes before. It sounds very good.


        • We sometimes get sweet potatoes from our neighbours, interesting that they are not a root veg but get used like potatoes. I get sick of them after a while, but using them with potatoes is one of the best ways to eat them, that and making them into chips. As usual I have written about both of those:

          Scroll down to the bottom for the pix: http://wp.me/p1XwsS-f


  13. So I want to talk about what it’s like to be tall and thin (because I am thin, but short). What is it like to go into a shop and whatever you need is on the top shelf — because it always is when one is short — and you can just reach up and get it for yourself? I have to ask someone taller to get it, or scale the lower shelves to get to it, praying that the shelves are bolted down and I won’t send the whole thing toppling over like on a television commercial.


    • It’s good and I’m always happy to pass things down to people who can’t reach. We’re born like we are and it was often a pain being a tall skinny young girl, especially being taken for a boy. Doesn’t do a lot for self-image. It’s also good for reaching into pesky wall cupboards. I don’t like wall cupboards but at least I can reach into them. And I can reach things on top of them. My partner is even better as not only is he a couple of inches taller than me, he has arms that go down to his knees. Well nearly, but they are incredibly long.

      My other helpful supermarket gesture is to read something out to people if they can’t read the small print. The one advantage of being short-sighted. Perhaps I should stop applying for clever jobs and just go for supermarket shelf stacking?


      • I suppose everything works itself out. Looking on the bright side — I’m one of the few people in the world for whom airline seats have enough leg room.

        Now I have a picture of Partner walking down a road, his arms swinging two inches off the ground.

        You’d probably get a lot of writing material from being a supermarket clerk. Lots of illuminating conversations about anuses.


        • Airlines were ok back in the 80s. Your picture of Partner is pretty accurate. Trouble is, I would have no time to write if I was working in a SM. I think all my posts would be ‘I hate this ***ing job’. Speaking to some of the cashiers, especially the ones who have left, they do hate it. We were only discussing their ordering (ie lack of) policy today. I wouldn’t last five minutes in there.


  14. I also love leggings, but it’s generally too warm here in Florida and also where I live in South Africa. I like the sound of your countess coat, and enjoyed your headless pics of it. :) That comfort casserole looks really good and healthy.


  15. Aha!
    You have a lock of hair that hangs in your eyes like mine does. But mines going gray and it’s not as long because it’s a former Audrey Hepburn pixie cut with 9 months of growth on it. Ye, it’s now the shaggy dog look, as you can see. I spend at least 10 minutes every day looking into the mirror and muttering grow – grow – grow. Well, not really but I do think it.
    You are slender like I am but you are tall and I’m 5’5″ and getting shorter as my spine compacts. I used to be 5’7″.
    You wear worn out leggings at home like I do and you are frugal like I am. I rarely buy anything new. I recycle and reuse and repurpose. Moreover, I can find great clothes at a fraction of the cost clothes in consignment shops when I need them.
    Dressing gown! You have a long coat like mine that in no way resembles a dressing gown.
    Not only that, but you eat turnips like I do, and like many folks I know – don’t.

    Hope you have a super weekend.


    • Called in my part of the world, a caul flick, calf lick, calflick etc It’s also basically a long fringe, although like you I have a side parting, that I cut from time to time when it gets too long. I don’t think my hair is going to grow any longer, it seems to have been the same length for years now, although I do chop the ends occasionally when I trim the not-a-fringe.

      I think everyone shrinks with age, my mum seemed to lose a couple of inches, but obviously your health issues will exacerbate that :(

      I’ve actually got a good pair of leggings on today, no holes! But I am planning to go to the veg van in a few mins, complete with not-a-dressing gown coat as it is a bit chilly today.

      Used the last turnip last night so may well be buying some more today. Hope your weekend is good too, relax and enjoy it.


  16. Hysterically funny piece ms. ( Hey. I just realized.We could be so confusing people with the ms. I actually think this is fun. Keeps ’em guessing, eh?)

    Funny post, Your women of means (age) certainly was holding nothing in reserve on this day You know old age is creeping to be certain when you are opening a conversation with my arse to a stranger, Or we hope it is the aging mindset anyway,

    Love the coat, And for the record not even in the photo does it resemble a dressing gown Really! Makes me wonder what this woman wore for her dressing gowns. I inherited an antique relic of a midi length fur coat from an in-law but had never been able to get past my personal reflections about wearing fur. Until I got cold. Real cold. All of a sudden my moral sensibilities meant nothing compared to freezing my arse off.

    There is a reason coats are made from fur and such fibers and ZI have come to appreciate them I think it is because I am getting even closer to old woman stage in my life. Then I will open a conversation just how I choose.

    I am in training now, How about you?


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