My husband Andy used to have a duffel coat. We called it his ‘Paddington Bear coat’. It was black and far too big. It really was quite shapeless. But for some reason he loved it.

“Hey, do you remember your old duffel coat?” I say. “You used to look quite sinister in it, especially when you pulled up the hood.”

Andy grins. “The police thought so too. One evening…”

Andy looks to see if the girls and I are listening. We are. It seems he is about to tell us a clothes story. (He has lots of them.)

“… I was walking home, wearing that duffel coat, swinging my black gym bag, minding my own business. It was very dark and quite late. Suddenly a police car appeared out of nowhere. It drew up alongside me and a burly policeman climbed out. He cleared his throat, looked me up and down and said, 'Excuse me sir. Would you mind if we checked your bag?’”

(Would a policeman have been that polite to a teenage boy? Probably not, but as I have forgotten Andy’s exact words, these ones will do.)

Andy grins again. “Check my bag? They thought I was a burglar!”

“What was in your bag, Dad?” asks one of the girls.

“My sweaty rugby gear.” We all wrinkle our noses even though those smelly old socks and shirt disppeared a long time ago. (30 years or more.)

“What happened to that old coat?” I ask.

“I stopped wearing it during our last year at uni…”

“So you decided you wanted to be a bit more stylish?”

Andy ignores my interruption. “I left the coat at home while I was away studying. Then when I came back, I suddenly thought about it. I went looking for it and couldn’t find it anywhere… and then I saw it... somewhere unexpected. Mom had given it to the dog. The dog was burrowed up under my coat. She was using it as a blanket.”

“Dogs need to keep warm too, Dad," says one of the girls. "I bet she appreciated it.”

“It was my coat!” Andy shakes his head. “Sometimes I think my mother loved that dog far more than she loved me. Do you remember when she gave my favourite green jumper to the dog?”

I do remember. We came home from university for the holidays one year, and found the dog snuggled up on the sofa beside Andy’s dad. She was wearing Andy’s jumper. I mean, really wearing it, legs threaded through the armholes. She was grinning at us, really grinning. She was saying in her own doggie way, “Think you’re important around here? Think again! I’ve taken your place!” 

The dog turned towards Dad and looked up at him with her appealing, pleading, puppy dog eyes. She cocked her head to one side. She whimpered just a little, until… Dad broke off a square of chocolate and held it out to her. (He didn’t offer us any.) A long wet tongue appeared. The chocolate was gone in a flash. (Did that really happen? Did Dad really share his chocolate with the dog? Probably not. Chocolate isn’t good for dogs. But I shall let the words stay.) Yes, that was one pampered dog: Chocolate, a jumper and her own duffel coat blanket.

I’ve been thinking a lot about duffel coats this week. I Googled ‘duffel coat’ and all these images of attractive coats appeared. It seems a duffel coat can be a wonderful fashion item. They’re not all like Andy’s oversized shapeless Paddington Bear coat. So I was thinking… I need a new winter coat… Why don’t I get myself a duffle coat? So I did some more Googling and soon…

“Andy, I’ve found a duffel coat on ebay. It’s my size: small. The starting bid is $100. It’s nearly new. It was originally $400... a real bargain!”

“Buy it,” says Andy.

So I rush back to my computer (There’s only 23 minutes and 10 seconds left until the end of the auction)… 

Wait a minute! This has turned into an ebay story. And ebay starts with ‘E’ and I need an E story next. I shall tell you whether I bought that duffel coat tomorrow!

Image: Those Eyes... by Jonathon Willier, (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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  1. My husband had an army duffel coat, it was brown and very ugly, it was however very warm. So he was allowed to wear it around the farm in winter. It got passed down to his nephew when we left, good thing as it does not get cold enough in Perth to warrant the cupboard space it would have used.

    1. Natalie,

      I guess it doesn't really matter what a coat looks like as long as it's warm! Andy certainly needed his duffel coat when he was a student at university. We both spent 3 years in Wales and it was very cold.

      I understand why your husband no longer needs such a warm coat. My eldest daughter lives in Perth. She tells me your weather is beautiful. When it is freezing cold here, she is on the beach in her shorts! I've been told that everyone who goes to Perth loves the city and doesn't want to come home. That's certainly true in my daughter's case!

  2. Great transition from D to E! I bought some boots once because they looked just like some that I had as a teen. It was so cool that they'd come back around and were in style again and it gave me that bit of nostalgia every time I wore them!

    1. Stephanie,

      I'm glad the transition worked. I'm going to try and link up all my remaining posts. Trying something new! It's good to experiment when writing, isn't it?

      I love your boot story! I wore some strange things as a teenager. I don't think I could ever wear them again, whether they came back into fashion or not. I think I'm too old!

      Thank you so much for visiting my blog again!

  3. I might laugh all day at the thought of the dog wearing Andy's jumper. I can just see it. And for the 900th time, I must tell you how much I love the way you write dialogue. I love the way you write everything!!!

    Now waiting to see if you got the coat on ebay.....

    1. Nancy,

      Thank you for laughing! I don't think Andy's mother could understand why he was so upset when he discovered the dog had his clothes. Andy hated that dog!

      I love writing dialogue. We always enjoy silly family conversations and sometimes I try and capture them in my journal so I can remember them forever. It's strange how we tend to forget things so quickly.

      The ebay story is up. I hope you enjoy it!

  4. Poor Andy. I so feel with him losing a well-beloved duffel coat to a pampered dog. My only thought on duffel coats was Paddington Bear!
    And you found a word for E. Hoping for tomorrow to come soon.

    1. Uglemor,

      Funny how we love our old and worn clothes so much, despite their appearance. I suppose they are comfy. Yes, I did find my e story! And it has been published. I hope you like it!

  5. I begged and begged for a duffel coat when I started High School - all my friends had them you see. I FINALLY got one but wasn't allowed to sew footy numbers and badges all over it, like my friends had ... I was devastated ... lol (BTW I was an Aussie Rules, Richmond supporter! ... Go Tiges!)

    1. Lisa,

      You had a duffel coat? I'm jealous! Andy and I were talking about the clothes we wished our parents would buy us when we were children. Both of us were finally given what we wanted and both of us were disappointed. But that's another story! (My N story!) I hope you enjoyed your coat despite its lack of badges. I might have tried pinning the badges on!

  6. Oh my, I had to look up pictures of duffle coats to realize that I am owning one! :D

    1. Miu,

      You have a duffel coat? I bet it's warm and comfy. I'd love one! I will have to keep on searching for the perfect coat.


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