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As of this week I have officially achieved a lifelong ambition. I now own a gilet.
Okay, I get that this might not seem like a terribly lofty ambition, and you might wonder why I’ve never just bought a gilet, and honestly I can’t answer that. Suffice it to say that I now have one – a stylish emerald green number from the Land’s End women’s gilet range – and it is everything I ever dreamed of.
I wore it on its first outing on Saturday to Greenway – Agatha Christie’s holiday home near Torquay – which is now owned by the National Trust. I wanted to do their Christmas wreath trail around the gardens, see the house festooned in Christmas decorations and of course, walk to the boathouse and solve a murder.
‘Do I look rich?’ I asked as I put on my gilet in the car park. My children raised their eyebrows sceptically.
It became apparent as soon as we started walking from the car park up to the ticket office that I was a natural gilet wearer. My children claimed I had ‘let the gilet go to my head already’, and started muttering things about me swaggering along the footpath, but I imagine they were just jealous.
We were less than five minutes in and I was having such a lovely time that I started my usual moan about how much I wanted to be retired and that perhaps I would have a complete career change and open a forest school.
‘Look at mum,’ said Belle, ‘she’s been wearing a gilet for five seconds and suddenly she wants to open a forest school. What do you even know about the forest?’
‘I like trees?’ I suggested.
Not good enough apparently, but I was enjoying my new gilet life so much that I let their cynicism wash over me like a light rain shower over a gilet.
We had a spot of lunch in the cafe, obviously – a jacket potato for me because nothing says ‘casual gilet wearer’ like a jacket potato in a National Trust cafe – and then I made everyone follow me as I swaggered around the gardens, looking like I might be off to assess the pruning requirements of something or other.
It was perfect gilet weather – mild for December at about 13 degrees, but with a nice breeze. If anything I did get a bit too hot at one point, but that was when I was complaining in the ticket office because they had closed the house earlier than advertised and I was having a bit of a rush of adrenaline trying not to cry at the disappointment of not seeing the Christmas tree in Agatha’s library.
It all turned out okay though – the manager came down and let me in the back door. Either I looked like a woman on the brink or the gilet gave me such gravitas that I commanded immediate respect.
Let’s assume the latter.