Arctic blizzards are set to battle the UK this week, the north is blanketed in snow and even here in the soft south there’s a wintery chill in the air.
Bearing all that in mind, it seemed perfectly reasonable to ask my son whether he planned to wear a coat to school this morning.
“No,” he growled, hardly glancing up from his bowlful of Frosties. (At least he eats breakfast – a survey published this week said only one in two of us eat before leaving home in the morning.)
But teenagers’ aversion to coats is a mystery to me. My daughter was exactly the same when she was at school. Even on the coldest, wettest days she’d head for the bus wearing a threadbare jumper and short school skirt and insist she didn’t feel cold at all. “I’m fine,” she’d mutter, “really warm” – oblivious to the fact that her chattering teeth and blue lips gave the game away.
My son can’t protest he hasn’t got a coat either. I’ve spent a fortune on the blooming things. Last year I figured that if I bought him an ultra-chic Superdry one that he really liked, it would do the trick. My plan worked for a few days but then he met up with friends at a pizza place near Magdalen Bridge and carefully hung his coat by the door. When he went to retrieve his coat at the end of the evening it had gone. In its place was a flimsy cotton jacket – obviously left by the person who’d nicked my son’s lovely, warm coat. The following day the temperature dropped to minus degrees so, worried he was going to freeze, I went out and spent my week’s earnings on an identical one. An identical one that he never wears.
I just hope that he’ll eventually follow his big sister’s example and wake up to the wonderfulness of coats. One day my daughter announced out of the blue that she was off to Topshop to buy a winter coat. She came back a few hours later with a stylish navy number that she still loves. Result!
PS. I mentioned last week how I can’t wait to see Steven Spielberg’s War Horse when it opens here in January. But considering I cry at anything (apart from that John Lewis ad), I was worried by the Times reviewer’s verdict on the New York premiere. “If you don’t cry in War Horse, it’s because you have no tear ducts,” he wrote. We have been warned.