It happens every year. I remember from childhood that first day in the year when Mum advised “You won’t need your coat today”, and then walking to school feeling slightly insecure and bare without the protection of my trusty but bulky waterproof coat. The worry during the day that it might rain before home time was a ridiculous amount of stress to place on a primary school child!
I remember one day the inevitable happening with the sky pouring down its trusty rain, and me fretting about getting cold and wet on the way home. My mother of course brought my blue hand-me-down anorak with her when she came to collect me, and the relief was beyond description. So much angst in one day could have easily been prevented had I owned a Cagoule.
Yes a Cagoule!!!
The most unflattering, rustling and uncool garment created - unless of course you’re a Stone Rose. Yes this invention changed my life. Though first patented in 1965 with a history born across the English Channel, the Cagoule did not reach my world until the mid-seventies when at last the second year of senior school I found weather security in my navy blue nylon waterproof raiment, designed to eradicate no-coat-day stress forever.
From now on, when the seasons change I would leave my coat at home without a care, because rolled up into its very own pocket and then tucked into my school bag was my practical solution to the unpredictable British weather. The weather forecasts after the news in those days, were more of a rough guide than accurate advice, so being prepared for any lowering of the weather front was essential.
Since then, apart from a phase when I was far too cool for anything other than an army surplus raincoat and that smelt bad and weighed a ton if more than a smattering of raindrops befell its khaki exterior, there have been many Cagoules. Hiking types – expensive and branded. Floral, for my brief yummy mummy phase – (I didn’t fit in with the coffee crew). Itty bitty ones for my toddling children some with matching trousers, and even one with Hi-Viz inserts for jogging in the dark. I have relished the confidence felt, when striding out on the school run with my offspring carrying their generic rain protection in various colours and sizes, and I have felt loss when a favourite design has been outgrown or rendered not fit for purpose by a stray thorn (or two) when picking blackberries.
I have a poncho style leopard print number, but I wonder now if this will be my last. Is it wise now to consider the purchase of more environmentally unfriendly fabric? Though waterproof jackets made from recycled plastics are available, I haven’t found one that squeezes down to pocket size convenience, and as I strive to remove plastic from my life, the nylon outerwear will too be excluded.
How will I cope with no-coat-day when my last water resistant outer garment succumbs to wear and tear?
I will trust technology and believe in my weather app, and I will learn not to lose umbrellas.
Or…………… I will simply get a little soggy on the way home, dry out, and learn not to worry about raindrops.