John Lewis – never knowingly underprepared…

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I’d ignored the signs for days.  Everybody sneezes a lot in December and cold air makes for red noses.  The chill that had settled between my shoulderblades was surely to do with the fact that sometimes even five layers of clothing* isn’t enough.

I was in the coffee shop in John Lewis just before Christmas, ostensibly to enjoy the atmostphere but really to get warm.  Everyone around was shedding coats and looking cosy and I was shivering. The cold was now in my bone marrow and growing colder. Eventually I hit on a plan. If I could make it to the warm air driers in the Ladies I could pretend to have spilled something and just stand there till something thawed.

I made it halfway across the haberdashery department before passing out. It was only for a moment but when I came to a very determined JL ‘partner’ was trying to pull my coat off. ‘Quick,’ she urged her accomplices, ‘she’s burning up!’

I wasn’t – I was freezing to death.  She grappled with the coat; I held on because my life, and warmth, depended on it.  But JL partners on home territory are a determined crew. They got the coat and the scarf and were gearing up for the first wooly jumper layer when the exertions made them stop for a breather. One of them handed me beaker of water and the other fanned furiously.  It wasn’t a real fan but what appeared to be a pile of knitting patterns.

Honestly, the things you can achieve without needles.  Inside I warmed up; outside I cooled down and after ten minutes normality was restored to a fairly acceptable level – at least acceptable for her to let me put my coat back on.

I didn’t need the air drier.  A wrestling haberdasher and a pile of knitting patterns did the trick.

Good old John Lewis, never knowingly underprepared.

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