Thread The Needle

Following a recent cold snap Mrs M and I decided to bring out our winter
coats from hibernation. There is something both concerning and comforting
about such an event; concerning because I become all too aware of another
passing year. Comforting because I am reminded how much I love to wear my
winter coat.

As I pulled from its pockets old train tickets and a selection of receipts
I was reminded of some of the things we enjoyed during last winter. A trip
to York to visit our youngest daughter. A day out with our parents to
sample real ale and country fare in a Yorkshire dale’s village.

I tried the coat on to make sure that my summer intake of beer and pork
pies hadn’t enlarged my frame too much. With a gasp of success I exclaimed
that it still fitted me ‘like a glove’. But only just!

As I displayed my victory over the calories to Mrs M she reminded me that
there was a time when growing out of our clothes was seen as a normal part
of life.

We reminisced about the last few days of school summer holidays when our
parents would prepare for our return by buying new uniforms. My mother, as
with most other parents back then, would always buy my jacket a couple of
sizes too big.

Then, as I complained about it not fitting she would announce, as if
offering a timeless truth, ‘you will grow into it’.

And so I would turn up for that first day back at high school to meet all
my friends and compare how much of our hands were showing from beneath our
coat sleeves.

That was then, and this is now. I don’t need a new coat every year. I can
make my old faithful jacket work a treat. As I expressed this last
sentiment to my bride a button popped off as if to puncture my elation.

Not to be defeated I found the family sowing box and began the repair

It is some time since I last tried to thread a needle and I don’t recall
having any difficult with the process. In fact I always prided myself on
being able to offer my mother support for such things.

Now, however, this seemingly simple exercise has turned into a major test
of my grown up abilities. No matter how much I squinted I could not get the
needle threaded.

I donned the reading glasses that I only need for ‘the smallest of
writing’ and still could not find a way to complete my task.

Not to be beaten I tried to find a bigger needle hoping that the eye would
be larger and give me a better chance to thread the cotton.

I am nothing if I am not a tryer and I swear that I missed several TV
programmes before I followed my mother’s example and asked for help from my

Almost without taking her attention from the TV she threaded the needle
and handed it back. In an instant I realised what my mother felt like when
she had to rely on me for such tasks.

Once the job was done I put the coat to show the result of my work. As I
inhaled in order to fasten the buttons Mrs M offered me the following
comforting words ‘don’t worry you can slim into it’

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