The Banker's Niece

Read exclusive extracts from my new novel The Banker's Niece. Click here for Chapter 1.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011


I'm a bit shaky today as our cat died yesterday so I thought I’d do a nice easy post. It’s one I’ve been planning for a few days, inspired by Nina’s lovely blog ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ ( ) in which she lets us into the secrets of her wonderfully practical life.

As I say in my profile, I enjoy customising my clothes. This may be partly because of my height (five foot ten) which means I can never get clothes to fit, and it may also be because I'm a perfectionist (unfortunately) and like things to be right.
    Last year, because they actually fitted from bum to knee, I bought a pair of dirt-cheap jeans. Below the knee however they were shapeless so I put a flare in the bottom, as we did in the ’60s and ’70s, to give them a bit of kick. (Dreadfully unfashionable, I know, but who cares about fashion.)
    I then, as I nearly always do with trousers, added an extra waistband at the top, so that the trousers didn’t stop right in the middle of my stomach (uncomfortable and unsightly).
    I wore them like that all last year but then this year I thought I’d dye them. They were pale blue and showed every muddy dog print as well as being fattening. As you can see, I dyed them royal blue.
    As I went to put them on however, the first time after I’d dyed them, I discovered that the zip had broken. Bother. I'd spent more on dye than I had on the trousers themselves so I wasn't going to abandon them but nor was I going to attempt to put a new zip in a pair of jeans. So I cut the zip out and put buttons and buttonholes up the front instead. I'd never done that before but it worked well.

Now, a year and four modifications later, and just as they are beginning to wear out, they are my favourite trousers.

I discussed this post with Frog, as I do most of my writing, and he said he thought the sewing bit sounded of limited interest. What the heck. And, coincidentally or perhaps synchronicitly (is that a word?), I see that Nina’s just done a blog about altering clothes as well. Weird.

Felicity arrived in the garden fifteen years ago, a starving feral kitten covered in lice. She dominated our previous dog, walking over her if she was in the way, but didn't seem to have the strength to stand up to Ellie (I know the feeling) and aged rapidly once Ellie arrived. She had to be escorted through the kitchen (where Ellie lurks) each time she wanted to get to her food in the utility room or to go out.
    Yesterday morning she had a fit. We took her to the vet, who did some tests and said she was reasonably OK, so we took her home again, whereupon she had another fit. Probably a tumour on the brain, said the vet. Best to let her go.
    Frog dug a big hole in the garden and we buried her with some catmint.

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