Thursday, 10 December 2009

the joy of socks

I recently visited the Land Girls exhibition at Brighton's Pavilion museum. It's a vivid illustration of how a group of people respond to a sudden change in circumstances. The general message was that although life was tough for the young women volunteering to feed the nation during the wars, good times were had. Freed from the binds of domestic life, some women, certainly, seemed to come into their power, driving huge tractors, managing teams of workhorses, barrowing muck from dawn to dusk. There are some hilarious stories, some from videoed interviews, of sharing bath water between several people and parties at the local officer's mess.

The girls were issued uniforms, with strict instructions about how to maintain them. Along with three pairs of socks came the advice to darn them using the gusset of old pairs of socks. Those well-worn socks looked so robust, so much better than the flimsy socks I get from M&S, on which darning hasn't worked, and which need constant replacing. So when I walked past Cathy Darcy's excellent Vintage Shirt Company on Mount Place, and saw some very fine pairs of English socks in the window, I had to buy a pair.

Made of Shetland wool in subtle colours, these socks are a wonder to behold and, frankly, I haven't taken them off since buying them. Along with a warm head, warm feet are important in winter. And although they cost £22, they are eminently darn-able, so these socks and I, we're going a long way together.

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