just at the bottom of our street, they've started building four houses, placed at right angles to each other and in the format of two semi-detached buildings. it has always seemed akin to dr who's tardis (time and relative dimensions in space) that the foundations (or foonds as everyone hereabouts is prone to refer) seem to amount to little more than the space required for a rabbit hutch, yet when walls, windows and roofs are added, all seems comparable to a replica of downton abbey.
with winter fast approaching, the two brothers who are constructing these houses have been keen to move on as quickly as possible, adding every level of substantiality that will keep both buildings precisely where they were designed to be in the face of often fiercely inclement weather. i confess i know little or nothing about the processes inherent in growing everything from a pile of bricks to a collection of quality homesteads and it has thus been an education to watch a parcel of land become populated with buildings that have obscured my former view across the loch.
however, one aspect that is all too clear and effectively undermines one of life's great fundamental sayings/cliches is where the ground floor meets the upper structure. naturally enough the upstairs bedrooms require sturdy floors on which both adults and offspring can impersonate clydesdale horses when necessary. this is separated from the lower floor by means of the rafters; beams of wood stretching from the rear wall to that of the front (i know you know this, but i just wish to make sure we're all singing from the same hymn sheet). to remain in the realm of the blindingly obvious, this means that there are floorboards on top and gyproc plasterboard ceiling panels below, separated by the aforementioned rafters.
it is thus nor longer a tautology to state that one man's ceiling is another man's floor for that is plainly not the case. were it so, it would not be for long, as i am led to believe that gyproc or plasterboard is not renowned for its weight-bearing properties. yet another myth dissolves into the annals of semantic pragmatism.
a similar level of semantics concerns the strikingly stylish and fashionable and recently released long-sleeve merino t-shirt from nick hussey's vulpine clothing. not only the vulpine website, but the safety-pinned labelling attests to its premise as that for which it was named. a t-shirt. i am well aware that nick is not one for untrammelled speed and sleekness that might clothe a member of the pelotonese. not for him the smell of carbon fibre and silk tubulars, but more positively and distinctly that of the everyday cyclist, intent on visiting a local hostelry, coffee shop or place of work without appearing to have signed a two year contract with liquigas.
thus, when vulpine proffer a t-shirt, it is surely not unseemly that i acquiesce and treat it as such? except, like many a modern day man of the road i have a cleated foot in each camp. requiring to attend a consultation meeting only the other day, much of which involved sitting at a desk wondering why folks still use powerpoint in this day and age? at which point, i really rather enjoyed the fact that i was clad in a dark blue, merino t-shirt. my secret identity could, therefore, be still occluded from those around while i basked in the smug self-satisfaction that, even at a moment's notice, i could be selecting any one of the eleven gears on the shand skinnymalinky thoughtfully parked outside.
wishing not to unsettle a doubtless carefully crafted marketing strategy however, i had e-mailed nick on the garment's arrival to ask permission to call it a baselayer when the opportunity presented itself. which, in fact, it had done so only the previous day. though my outer cladding on that occasion remains to inhabit these pixels, suffice to say that its mentoring was impressively enhanced by using the vulpine t as an interior baselayer. thus for the price of only a single garment, a dual-purpose can be readily satisfied. and in fact, was satisfied.
though the augmentation of its smooth merino-ness with a single buttoned rear pocket on the lower right is perhaps the sole representation of its true designated purpose, to all intents, it makes an excellent, cosy, odourless baselayer, even when adversity in the face of the elements tests its mettle to the extreme. if i can hint that the outer shell was a single layer winter jacket, worn during a thoroughly cold, wet and windy three hour ride, you will garner that i have given it no easy ride. add to the latter the fact that an inopportune puncture by an ill-equipped member of the peloton enforced a lengthy stationary period in the middle of nowhere, and its baselayer-ness is indubitably enhanced.
that only a day or so later i could be seen impersonating a civilian in close proximity to a cup of coffee and a biscuit, voguishly wearing the selfsame merino, now masquerading as a t-shirt, and i think it only correct that i use the word versatile in its true sense. i hasten to add at this point that my request of mr hussey that i have his permission to willfully misconstrue his labelling was met with a resounding but of course. baselayer away! demonstrates just how amenable and pertinent is the customer service at vulpine.
as i write, en route to scotland, it has reverted to the t-shirt formerly known as baselayer and i am hoping that the distinction between celings and floors has been dynamically taken into account on calmac ferries.
the vulpine merino long-sleeve t-shirt is available in sizes ranging from xs to xxl in either grey or blue and at a cost of £65
wednesday 7th november 2012..........................................................................................................................................................................................................