Quite simple really; tell him he’s going shopping. His eyes bulge, his mouth moves wordlessly as he is unable to bring himself to utter the awful word ‘shopping’. Then his teeth start chattering as his body goes into shock mode and what was a fine six foot something, built like a barn door Yorkshireman dissolves into a shivering mass of gibbering jelly. The tears stand in his eyes as he contemplates the prospect of brass, (as money is known in Yorkshire) flowing out of the family coffers.
I suppose it would be a kindness not to tell him at all, but needs must. After all, clothes and footwear don’t last forever and periodically have to be replaced - even for him. I suspect my spouse is typical of most old-school Yorkshiremen. Mention shopping for new raiment and the response is always the same ‘there’s plenty of wear left in this yet’. This phrase will apply to trousers, pullovers, socks, pants, vests. shirts, coats … that about covers everything I think. The same goes for shoes. They have all been for repair several times and are lovingly polished to a military shine, but the day dawns when the shopping trip must be undertaken, the wallet must be opened, the moths finally liberated and new clothes and shoes purchased.
It’s not that he deliberately wishes to walk around looking like a badly dressed tramp, come to think of it, I really have seen better dressed gentlemen of the road. He’s a Yorkshireman and that’s enough. He’s from God’s own county, the best. He doesn’t have to impress anyone with fancy clothes, he’s his own passport to the world and all its classes. Dressed in his favourite patched and darned trousers, ancient working jacket on his back and gaffa-taped shoes on his feet, he is as happy as a Yorkshire pig in muck.
Next shopping trip I may well leave him at home with said pig. Dragging a protesting Yorkshireman around department stores is not my idea of a good time. Last week was the straw that broke this camel’s back. It didn’t matter what item he picked up, the exclamation was always the same:
‘How much? By heck, I’d want half a dozen for that price.’
Where has this dinosaur been during the 20th and 21st centuries? A Sleeping Beauty lain down upon his couch whilst the world moved on? No, just a Yorkshireman living in Yorkshire.
So when those old clothes are finally consigned to the bin, (when he’s out), forcing him to either go naturist or visit the local clothing emporiums, either I buy some more gaffa tape and apply it to his mouth or ... no, I think I’ll leave it there. I think I’ve just stumbled on the solution. Where’s the gaffa tape?