Loved the opening paragraph of your report of the Stanhope Classic, but I have to tell you that not everyone wore waxed cotton riding suits ‘back in the day’. As you can see from the attached pic (below) some of us couldn’t afford Barbour’s or Belstaff’s finest, we had to make do with what we could find in the Army and Navy Store.
Boots were ex-WD Don-R, as you say. If they were good enough for Dave Bickers, they were good enough for me! Lovingly dubbined before every event of course, and worn with my school football socks turned out over the top of the boots…
Above the boots was a sort of rubber dungaree, a bit like waders with the feet cut off. In fact, they might have been waders with the feet cut off! Completely waterproof, but you still finished up soaked inside with (rather smelly) sweat. The coat was ex-US Army, about as waterproof as a sponge, but at least it doubled up as my winter coat for going to work on the bus. The hat was my older sister’s brownie beret (she probably still wonders what happened to it, but I’m fairly confident she doesn’t read CDB), anchored by a pair of German tank driver’s goggles. That’s about all the goggles were good for, ’cos they had tinted lenses for desert use and you couldn’t see through them in an English winter. Clear lenses were extra and I couldn’t afford those.
Finally the gloves… string-backed driving gloves at one shilling from the church jumble sale, also doubling up for everyday wear. The whole ensemble probably cost a couple of quid at a time when a Barbour suit cost a month’s wages for me.
When shown the picture, a child of the 21st century said it looked cool. I can tell you, it wasn’t cool, it was bloody freezing, especially on the long ride home!
Hmmmm, how long is it since someone said you looked cool? Nice pic though.
Read more letters in the Spring issue (No.46) of CDB – out now!