Monday, 16 November 2009

Nick's New Clothes

It’s Monday. Radiotherapy will now be every day, five days a week, for five weeks. My concern is that, because I really don’t want to do it at all, I will subconsciously sabotage the whole thing by forgetting to go. Hence I’ve set multiple alarms on my iPhone and laptop for every appointment.

Nick was previously one of those guys who pretend to be contemptuous of nice clothes. I once suggested that I might follow his sartorial lead, forsake my bulging wardrobe and adopt a simple down-to-earth ensemble of fleece and Ugg boots. Ha!

My cousin Ben was the same. I am pleased to say that both of them are beginning to come around to my way of thinking. Last time Nick was here in London his friend Bernard and I teamed up to drag him round Selfridges. On that occasion he bought a smart jacket from Paul Smith, a pair of Nudie jeans and some t-shirts from All Saints. But it was hard work. For all of us.

So today I suggest that we go shopping in Cos on Kensington High Street. It’s a good move. The shop is empty on a Monday so it doesn’t feel hot and hassly. And I know that Nick will be able to buy everything he needs in one place.

“Can I help you?” asks the young salesman. “Do you have a cashmere hoody?” I enquire. He shows us a lovely soft, dark grey one. “I don’t need that,” Nick informs the salesman, “I live in Australia.” I groan silently. Round one to Nick.

“Honey,” I wheedle, “I think it’s really useful to have one garment that you can take with you anywhere in the world and just throw it on and be warm and comfortable.” He throws me a look that says: “I don’t know what kind of a fast one you’re trying to pull but you won’t get it over on me.” “How about a t-shirt then?” I sigh. I finger a pale sage green skivvy. Then something strange happens. Of his own accord, Nick picks out a grey-green cotton sweater and tries it on. I pass him the long-sleeved t-shirt. “This would look good under that sweater,” I say. He takes the t-shirt. He picks up a grey cotton jacket. “I think I’ll try these on,” he says. He turns and walks toward the changing room. I am left gawping at his receding back, goggle eyed with disbelief.

I snap to and rush after him, grabbing a pair of smart grey flannel trousers and an indigo shirt on my way. “Since you’re undressed honey,” I cajole, “why don’t you try these on? Just to see...” Oh my god, he’s doing it. Sensing my advantage I thrust a fine wool scarf in indigo and black into the cubicle. “This would finish that outfit off perfectly,” I exclaim. Nick tries it. It works. Whilst he is changing I set up a little rail outside the cubicle door. I start loading it with carefully coordinated pieces. “You, see baby,” I explain, “If you wear this shirt with those trousers that’s a smart look for a business meeting. Then if you wear the same trousers with this t-shirt, it’s more relaxed. Then you can swap the trousers for jeans, add this scarf and you’ve got another look.” Nick tries each piece in turn. He puts the outfits together. He goes out onto the shop floor and picks out a pair of boots. He gets it! Soon we have assembled a complete capsule wardrobe for Nick.

Whilst the salesman packs it all up I whizz upstairs to try on a pair of boots for myself. A few minutes pass and than I hear Nick yelling from below “Hey Lily,” he bellows. “Oh no,” I think, “what’s gone wrong?” I scurry down the stairs. There I behold Nick modelling the soft grey cashmere hoody. “I think I’ll just wear this now,” he informs the salesman and hands over his credit card.


An alarm is sounding. “What’s that?” asks Nick. “It sounds like it’s coming from the car.” I gaze around the dashboard and then fumble in my handbag. I pull out my iPhone. “Radiotherapy, 16.30.” says the message. Off we scoot to Harley Street.

Later on we meet Cindy up in Soho for tea. Then we do a trip to Sainsbury’s for the weekly shop. I’m quite tired by the time we get home. “You cook the dinner and I’ll empty the dishwasher,” offers Nick. “That’s a deal,” I reply. “But first,” he says, “how about I give you a little fashion show?”