Petite…a little on the small side…a wisp of a thing….sure God love her, she can’t help being lanky. These are the words of future wisdom that my daughter will be hearing at intervals throughout her life. It has gotten to the stage where we can’t get a stitch of clothing to fit the poor thing. It doesn’t help that she has latched on to her favourite pieces of clothing which always end up being in tatters…..disgraceful pieces of clothing that the Oliver Twist gang would have thrown in the bin….not my CLodagh….she embraces those pieces of clothing that would otherwise have been thrown in the shredder to be used as compost or for the roads in Louisiana ….useful for the dirt in the road and worn by Clodagh.
When I think of myself at her age….yes… there were moments that I had my “no way am I wearing that…do you want me to look foolish” those kind of days. I remember an occasion when my mother returned from a shopping expedition laden down with clothes for myself and my brothers. Amongst her treasured finds was the brightest red of overcoats. The moment I laid eyes upon this most disgusting of garments….I knew that it would not be gracing my shoulders. Even the most abundant gasps of “Red is your colour”…”Look how well it fits you”…”It makes you look so old…your a big boy now!!!”. How thick did they think I was. If they thought that I would wear this monstrosity to school…or mass….or anywhere for that matter…..no……no…..no!!
Back in the day ….the late 70’s and early 80’s, there was an abundance of second hand shops in Cork and my mother was a regular in most of them. She just loved to spend hours perusing the rails with me and my brothers hiding amongst the clothes rails. These shops were usually hidden away above larger stores ….walk through the side door all stealthlike…through a long hallway and up a creaky stairs to be greeted by the most flamboyount of shopkeepers….they always wore bright red lipstick to emphasise their eccentricity. I slowly began to know each and every doorway of Oliver Plunkett Street. Maybe most familys of that genre frequented these places to supply them with the families supply of clothes for the year. My mother certainly did. Don’t get me wrong here now people. I have worn new clothes in my time but those were the times we lived in. Those same kind of shops have made a gradual ressurection on the streets of Cork of late and you can be guaranteed that this is the case of many’s the town!! Another institution which has arisen from the ashes like a Phoenix is the tailor or alteration shop. Popping up here and there. Why? Because there has been a demand for these services once again. People can’t afford to spend the amount of money on clothes that they have been spending for so many years. The time has come for each and every one of us to mend and repair our tattter clothes…fix that hem and sow that button…..darn those socks and stitch those ripped jeans.
That is why…..getting back to my story of Clodagh……. that I took it upon myself to bring those jeans that have risen above her lanky ankles to the Alteration Shop on lavitts quay called The Zip Yard to transform them into 3/4 lenght trousers ….tadaaaaaa…..a wonderful transformation has occured. Once where there was none and now we have an abundance of newly adorned pants with cool turnups and pockets on the side. I could have done it myself but not as good as this darn work….ataior is a tailor for a reason….as the Sultans of Ping once said “brand new wool with perfect stitches”. As I have said before about Clodaghs unwillingness to wear any decent trousers….now she has slightly shifted position due to the cool pants that have been produced by her loving father.
To finish I will play a song by The Kinks due to the untimely death of Pete Quaife from a long term battle with cancer. A great bass player who has had a lasting influence. Thank you