Country(ish) Mouse Waxes Lyrical
Tuesday, 18th November 2014
Today, as on Friday, CM is in the grip of the terrible plague that is nasopharyngitis. Yes, CM has a cold. Obviously, I am dealing with this by being very brave, having taken to the sofa and built a small but functioning nest of tissues, Olbas Oil, lemsip pills and coffee, and am hardly moaning about it at all, and not only because the only person at home is a dog who doesn't care so long as the kibble gets doled out on time.
That said, there is only so long a person can spend sniffling and looking at Facebook before sick-day insanity sets right in, so a task was needed. One that was productive, but also low-energy, and that could be staggered between coughing fits. Enter - the Official Autumn Rewaxing of the Jacket.
I love my wax jacket. There, I have said it out loud. It's a proper one, bought from a feed merchants as a gift one Christmas from the CM Parentals. Since then, it's seen some hard service. It's been worn for diving into hedges to retrieve naughty spaniels and shoving through brambly woodlands out beating. It's been laid over barbed wire fences so that people can climb over without being spiked. It's had innumerable sets of paw prints plastered up and down it, had the pockets stuffed with all manner of nauseating dog treats, balls, dummies, leads and poo-bags (both full and empty). It's had a puppy in the poacher's pocket (to see if he'd fit - he did) as well as sticks, Mars Bars, and even a dead pigeon (cold game retrieving). It's got battle scars. I like to imagine it looking askance at the sort of pristine, neat, clean wax jackets you sometimes see taking the Tube. It is a Very Fine Coat.
That said, it does need some TLC. Not of the washing kind, certainly not. Putting your wax jacket in the wash is a quick way to ensure that you will need to buy another wax jacket.
However, as happened every year, being caught in a recent rain storm demonstrated very clearly that the jacket was not repelling water as well as it should, and some of the rips on the sleeve seams were getting beyond a joke. Of course, the good thing about these coats is that you can just buy spare wax fabric and patch them up. Barbour don't make repair kits any more (mostly I think because they sell many more coats for travelling on Tubes now as opposed to for shoving through hedges and they'd much rather you bought a new coat anyway) but you can get the fabric cheap from eBay. You can still buy new tins of thornproof dressing though, which you start by softening up, through standing the tin in a bowl of hot water.
Once the contents of the tin are sufficiently squishy, you can get a cloth and start daubing the stuff onto your coat. The instructions on the tin firmly tell you to work it well in, not just to paint it on (I imagine this instruction being boomed at you, in the manner of an old-school riding instructor). Once you have done this, paying extra attention to the seams and dry patches (there's that riding instructor again), you can gain a 'professional finish' by getting a hairdryer and blowing it over the coat, to remelt the wax and spread it out evenly. Then you hang it up overnight to set, and now your coat is waterproof and ready to be worn for your next hedge-diving episode. Also, your hands will have acquired a light coating of wax too, so you can fill the next ten minutes or so trying to scrape it off. i have to say, once you do get it off your hands are lovely and soft - bonus.
It is one of my favourite Autumn jobs.