Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ok, I''ll say it

The cold weather has you thinking spring clothes doesn't it. It does me.

It's much like escapist literature. You're caught in the moment, but the moment is unpleasant. It's cold, you don't want to be outside, you're sick of being inside and the new magazines won't show up until the end of the week. So what do you do?

I've been rummaging through my closets, looking for what I need for spring.

I've stated before, my closets are full. Consequently, I've done very little shopping over the winter. A few replacements, nothing major.

Spring shopping, were I brash enough, would be a major boon to the economy. I'm not that brash.

This coming spring, like many before, will find me swaddled in my daily go to uniform of Gurkha shorts and either a chambray or polo shirt. I like military clothing. It's durable, cheap, and looks good under most conditions. I wear a lot of it around the house. Unwittingly, so do you.
I have several pair of Bill's Ghurka shorts that I have just about worn through. Today I purchased 2 pair from an importer of British militaria. These are the real deal. In military parlance, Shorts, KD, 1949 pattern.

I'm old enough, or perhaps fat enough, to have the sense to know not to leave The Park in shorts. Perhaps to the hardware or feed store, but not much farther. If I were more a Higgin's I'd don long British uniform socks and give it a go, but not yet.

Besides 100% wool socks are itchy, and I'd shrink them first time. Maybe if I were a few stone lighter.

I also picked up a couple of pair of British Army drill shorts. Tough to beat Khaki.

Which finally gets me to where I wanted to go in the first place. A while back, buddy ADG, wrote a long piece on the Ghurkas. It was up to his usual standard of greatness,and then some, but he left the gurkha story unfinished. I expected he would eventually get to it. He will, but I'll prod him with this tid bit.

The Gurkhas were justifiably known throughout the British Empire for their courage in battle. Their regiments distinguished themselves from the Crimea to Gallipoli.

This story is told by a young British officer serving in North Africa during WWII.

"Well, North Africa was a sticky bit of business, and one day it was decided that we had to air drop some fellows behind old Rommel's lines. It was a dangerous mission leaping into the desert in the black of night-so it was decided to ask for volunteers. Now, I'd heard what asking for volunteers was all about-it meant that the Gurkhas and a pigheaded Yorkshire man or two would go, while the rest of the chaps stayed home and played gin rummy. So volunteers were asked for, and to my great surprise only about half the Gurkhas signed on.

"It was damned discouraging, actually.

"All my life I'd been hearing inspirational tales about Gurkha fearlessness, and here they were, being downright prudent. I mean, it was dangerous, but not all that dangerous. So I thought, another legend tarnished. These guys aren't that tough after all.

"Disillusioned, but determined to find out why the legendary fighters had fallen so short of their reputation, the officer made a number of inquiries. What he discovered, was that none of the Gurkhas, including the 100 or so who did volunteer to jump, realized that they'd be given parachutes".

Now for ADG to finish the story.


All photos : What price glory, except Higgins(ABC) and the seated man (ADG)


ELS said...

My grandad spent his life in these shorts; he'd be tickled pink to read the acres of panegyric they inspire over the pond. Lovely.

ADG, now THERE's a sticky bit of business...

All best, and hopefully warm enough soon for shorts, wishes to you for 20101


ADG said...

I'll get right on it.

Mrs. Blandings said...

I'm so glad you guys let me eavesdrop on this boys' club.

LPC said...

You all know that whenever I read you guys talking about clothes I think about my dad. And I'm not sure he even WEARS shorts any more! How can this be? We live in California after all. But he's 79. Maybe it's true.

Patsy said...

There'll always be an England.

My father wears safari shirts - long sleeved in the winter, short sleeved in the summer. If there is ever an impromtu safari, he's your man.

James said...

Toad .first ADG and now you! Must have Gurkha shorts!

Toad said...

James, I'm much older than ADG and have been doing them longer.

The Blushing Hostess said...

Marvelous tale, I was heretofore an ignoramous (not wholly owing to the threads, either, I must admit)... Happy new year, Toad!