суббота, 15 сентября 2012 г.

Perspective: The growing sport of poking fun at dad over lathering leather.(Features) - The Birmingham Post (England)

Byline: John Duckers

She's back - for a summer holiday that lasts until September.

Yes, my 19-year-old daughter has completed her first year at Southampton Institute doing a film studies degree.

The only down side was that everything had to come back with her because she is moving from a university study bedroom to sharing a house with three other pals. And my worst nightmares came true when we got down there to discover how much stuff had to be shifted.

I had fears we would never get it all into the car.

We've got an ancient estate and by the time I had lugged the contents of a student's world into the back you couldn't have got another thing in there.

All the coat hangers got dumped because there was simply no room for them, an Italian current cake got presented to the hall wardens, but she did insist on saving the cactus, which I have naturally named Spike.

The foot wells of the car ended up stacked with stuff and Kirsteen and the 15-year-old prop forward, Jonathan, sat on pillows, a duvet and various other items spread over the back seat as we began the journey back to Birmingham.

I'm saying never again, but it has to be hauled back in the autumn.

I don't even want to think about it. The exit from Southampton took in her new house - a sturdy if somewhat elderly semi-detached in a long road of similar properties.

It looked all right, even if the weeds were a foot tall in the front and the alley to the back garden was gateless and open to the world.

She says it's quite nice inside. And who am I to take issue with her choice? In my student days I stayed in some of the worst slums you would find anywhere in Europe.

Anyway, the car somehow made it to Birmingham, staggering up the hills at about 50mph, and all I can say is - thank heavens for wing mirrors.

And the kids are back to their old squabbling ways. Must mean they have missed each other. When they are not poking fun at their old dad that is, a growing sport.

Currently, I am taking stick over my new leather coat.

The coat is a by-product of the well-known Italian scam, albeit it wasn't me that fell for it.

A couple of years back I described the hard sell, but it is worth repeating because it is still happening. I forget the exact details of the con, but it is something like this.

You get approached by an 'Italian' - he's probably really some Del Boy type from Peckham - who claims to have been over for a fashion event at somewhere like the NEC, and it is simply not worth while taking his samples back home to Italy.

The first coat you get free, the second you get free but for the third coat you pay 'a mere' pounds 250.

It looks a great deal and the leather, if it is leather, appears incredibly soft.

In fact, it is some inferior type of material which only feels soft because it has been dosed in detergent. It was my father-in-law who got done.

A lovely man who would do anything for anyone, who always looks for the best in people, but on occasion is rather too trusting.

Not only did he agree to buy the coats but he took the bloke back home and gave him a meal.

Except the guy must have some sort of conscience about taking pounds 250 off a pensioner because he threw in a couple of extra coats. So grandpa ended up with five.

Partly because I quite fancied a new leather coat, even if it was a con, and partly taking pity on grandpa, I gave him pounds 70 for two - one for me and one for the wife.

And, once I got them home, I experimented by standing out on the front lawn during a rain shower.

As I suspected the thing started leaking detergent bubbles - a quite surreal experience.

It subsequently took two rinses in the washing machine before I stoppedlooking like a walking advert for Fairy.

Since then I have tentatively introduced it to the world and so far it is holding up. Indeed, I quite like it.

None of my chums batted an eyelid when I walked into the pub with it on. Nobody said 'what a fabulous leather coat' but then nobody inquired 'where did you get that load of tat from?' I took this to be a good sign.

So, until proved wrong, I have decided to claim it is indeed top quality Milanese couture and, anyway, at pounds 35 it has hardly bankrupted me.

But all the same, if you get approached in the street by an Italian bearing leather coats, be very cautious.

Unless you too want a coat that is as soft as your face.