I GET my years, as readers
might expect, tailor-made. Around this time, when my days have become
worn, when the weeks have gone baggy and the months have sagged heavily
like half-filled cement sacks, I go to my favourite bespoke time tailor
for what could be termed a first fit - a try-on of the new year for
A lot of people I know are careless about their years and will fling on
any ready-made time-rubbish with second-rate minutes and weeks
inexpertly stitched into sartorially styleless months without a thought
for designer comfort and durability, but I am not like that.
I have, you could say, the gift of the garb and people have often
remarked that I wear my years well. That is because I employ the almost
uncanny, aeons-old expertise of the Anno Domini factory, run by F Time &
Co (www. hourglassfittings.co) who can, with snip, needle-thrust and
attention to minute detail, hack out from the most ill-suited material,
a form-fitting ensemble for discerning wearers of year gear,
characterised by its second-to-none chic and its triple-strength,
Harris-tweed-type hard-wearing quality.
As soon as I entered the factory, I was buttonholed and bespoken to by
Father T himself. Although we were not boys together, we do go back a
bit and I remember wearing his factoryís anti-rusk-stain bib,
gripe-water-resistant tucker and storm-proof pantaloons that were the
envy of my fashion-conscious, nursery peer group.
"Albert," he cried, laying down his cutting-room scythe and glass and
sand tea-break timer, "Itís never fitting time again. It seems only a
century since I saw you last."
We crisply creaked into an old palsí embrace as all around us the time
fluff flew and moment-pressers, week-pattern-shapers and month-stitchers
plied their crafts, almost as old as the fig-leaves self-tailored by
Adam and Eve which so needled the Great Universal Stitcher. "How did
2002 wear?" asked the ancient time assembler, as he regarded the
discarded detritus of my days.
"Not too badly," I said, as the new year template was fitted onto me and
temporarily pinned together with spare seconds. "The hours tended to
drag, there was slight fraying at the themes, sometimes I lost the
thread of my off-the-cuff remarks and friction of life in Britain often
made me hot under the choler."
FT shook his head sadly as he brought down sample year cloths and made a
barely-perceptible nick of time in those I might select.
"Thatís because we canít get traditional materials nowadays. Once, we
could knock up years that not only lasted a full 12 months but, since
they were weave-flecked with old-fashioned Scottish Sundays, seemed to
go on a lot longer. We used to say they could last for ever, although
even for ever doesnít last as long these days.
"Now," he added sombrely, as he time-tacked in a row of crowded hours of
glorious life, said to be worth an age without a name, "you get a lot of
computer-generated muck that time-heedless youngsters like but can start
unravelling almost as soon as you leave the fitting room."
Then he brightened as he surveyed my typical Edinburgh and district
bearing. "Itís always a pleasurable compensation in these ill-suited
times to fit-out a gentleman who stands tall though only five feet six
inches on tip-toe, we have listed as Ďsmall, portlyí yet still has the
look of a titan among men, feared yet loved, stern but just."
"That figures," I thought as I examined time fabrics. I fancied a
stylish 1927, Charles-ton-flecked, Al Jolson-streak-ed,
Lindbergh-flying-the-Atlantic, pre-Depression weave and the one in which
I emerged as a year-wearer although the loin-cloth outfit was barely
That material, highly dur-able, was no longer available and, looking at
a colourful range of cloths, I was about to choose something exciting
like a bolt from the blue when FT reminded me that a man of my quiet
tastes but with an eye for fashion changes in the fleeting hours should
choose a watchful grey so as to blend into background shadows at the
first sign of upset at home or abroad.
So I picked a fitting outfit especially useful for foreign holidays in
seersucker and travellersí check with silver lining, and stepped out in
my small, portly year. So far, I am glad to say, it is wearing nicely,
and I wish a happy and well-fitting one to all readers.