I bought the trousers one summer, several years ago. The label said 'medium length' but when I first wore them, the hems smothered my shoes, dragged along behind me like two recalcitrant children, and yelled to the world, 'This is a shortarse if ever there was one. There's enough spare material here to cover a three-piece suite.'
I turned the trousers up to a more reasonable length but, that day, didn't have any black cotton. So, I
Wouldn't show? Wouldn't show? Perhaps if I was to needlework what Donald Trump is to verbal gaffes they wouldn't have shown. But -
I wore the trousers to school the next day and taught the first lesson of the morning to teenage cool-dude A level English students. Until you've been a middle-aged plumpy teaching a roomful of fresh-faced cool-dudes who can throw chopped and irregular layers of garments in different colours and patterns on top of a hangover and still look fabulous, you may think I'm exaggerating about how one's confidence can be destabilised by a touch of amateur needlework. Some of the students were no doubt future fashion designers who'd learned at the feet of mothers who'd hand-sewn their ivory christening gowns in tiny elegant Jane Austen fully-matching-ivory-cotton stitches, with sequins, beads and all.
The lesson took place in a classroom with the sun crashing in at the window, its beams focused on my trouser legs, cruelly lighting up those silvery stitches as a car headlight picks out a cyclist's fluorescent jacket or strobe lighting picks out dandruff. My fumbling, clumsy stitches, quite clearly sewn in by someone with pork chops for fingers, dominated my thoughts and I tried to keep my legs tucked under the chair. No doubt some students were thinking, 'She looks tense. Why is she curled up like that? I hope that's not a diarrhoea bug she's trying to keep under control.'
I put the trousers in my wardrobe that night. 'I'll re-sew them tomorrow,' I said, 'with black thread.'
There they are now, lying on the bed.
I really ought to get round to taking out those silver stitches and re-sewing them.
I really ought.
After all, it's my half-term, and I'd have the time.
On the other hand, there's a nice lady in a shop fifteen minutes' walk from here who does sewing jobs and repairs for a very reasonable fee.
It would surely do me good to get out for a walk tomorrow ...