1 EAGLETON NOTES: My Dear Old Crombie

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Thursday, 10 December 2015

My Dear Old Crombie

I've got a pal,
A reg'lar over coater.
She's a dear good old gal
I'll tell yer all about 'er.
It's many years since fust we met.
'Er wool was then as black as jet.
It's greyer now, but she don't fret.
Not my old Crombie.

We've been together now for fifty years,
An' it don't seem a day too much
There ain't an overcoat in the shop
As I'd swap for my dear old Crombie

Okay. With lots and lots of apologies to Albert Chevalier.  I've never been any good at poetry but if anyone can replace 'too much' with summat that rhymes with 'Crombie' please feel free.

I bought her 50 years ago in George Henry Lee's in Liverpool (part of the John Lewis Partnership) and she's stood me in good stead for formal occasions since she went into business retirement when I left Liverpool in 1973. Now, as she did a few days ago, she comes out for funerals on cold days. That morning she got yet another complete soaking in a Lewis storm. But she'll be back.

22 comments:

  1. A great purchase which goes to show how wise it is to invest maybe a little more in a piece of good quality and classic style that won't look silly after a few years.
    I didn't know this type of coat is called Crombie (rhymes with zombie, of course, but that wouldn't fit the poem).

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    1. Meike I'm not sure whether the style is called Crombie. It's the make of the coat although the only one's I can remember are in this style. I've just Googled 'Crombie' and they actually now do a range of menswear but I think thy may have started in 1805 with overcoats - which they still sell in the style of mine.

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  2. With a name like George (Henry) Lee...how could your overcoat not be a good old girl? And furthermore...your dear old Crombie even looks like me...I, too, am greyer now! :)

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    1. Well, Lee, if you've worn as well and dear old Crombie you're doing very well indeed: there's not even a fray anywhere!

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  3. I have an old faithful Barbour, that is slowly falling to bits. However, I've not yet been moved to write an ode to the poor soul.

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    1. I've only ever had one Barbour jacket and although she eventually wore out she and I never really hit it off. My Berghaus on the other hand is still going strong after 20+ years but then I was away in the winter in NZ for 9 of those years.

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  4. They are wonderful coats, aren't they. T had one and rather liked the way it made him look like an old fashioned solicitor. It was so huge and was used so infrequently that in the end it had to go - didn't have the cupboard space - but it was a sad day!

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    1. Jenny I think that's the problem: they are large, heavy and they are not idea in which to drive a car. They are a bit of an anachronism. They are very good for funerals though or, as you said, being a solicitor because they have gravitas.

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  5. Too many names in this post to remind me I'm not really born and bred British :) But I guess I agree with Meike, with some things it does pay off to buy quality. Besides the fact that I could not always afford to, I have changed sizes a few too many times through the years (both up and down) to still have any really "vintage" items left in my wardrobe, though.

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    1. Monica one of the few advantages I found with middle age was that my neck filled out a bit and I no longer had to have my shirts made otherwise, apart from an inch or two on my waist somewhere around the age of 55 I've never altered size and could, until I disposed of it last year, get into the evening suit I'd had since 1965.

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  6. I have never managed to keep clothes that long but I'm afraid I look as if I have.

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  7. I've still got all my old coats as they were well made. Car coats I wore out as I used them everyday. Funerals and memorials are much less formal here so I wouldn't wear the old coat at all. You gave me a good memory.

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    1. Red, funerals on the Island are very traditional.

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  8. Excellent poem, Graham! Oddly enough, John might well have been rsponsible for that coat. Now in his eighties, he was for some time the buyer for John Lewis men's tailoring (although to look at him you'd never guess it. If it weren't for me, he'd go around looking like a tramp).

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    1. Well Frances judging by the success of JL's menswear department John obviously gave them a good grounding on which to build.

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  9. Thanks for enlightening my knowledge base...I now know what a Crombie is.
    Like a loyal old friend it has been there with you through thick and thin and will be with you for a while longer comforting you against the weather.
    That's what I call "good quality stuff".
    Your ode reminds me of an essay I wrote back in my university days about an old nightgown my mum had given me as a teenager and still wore.
    The opening sentence was "It was still my best nightgown despite what my mother said" and my professor used it as an example of intriguing prose to the class.

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    1. Yes Virginia good quality stuff always shows doesn't it whether it's clothing, food or ideas.

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  10. I bet George was looking down thinking "My oh my Gray Ham still looks cool in his crombie!"

    Apart from the obvious "zombie", "Formby" is almost there as a rhyming word.

    There ain't a coat in t'shops at Formby
    As I'd ever swap for my dear old Crombie
    OR
    I'm the image of that George Formby
    When decked up in my dear old Crombie

    BUT I liked your version anyway. Not many people write odes to their coats. I might try one to my blue cagoule!

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    1. YP an ode to a blue cagoule would be a challenge too far for me.I don't have your imagination (or ability) I'm afraid.

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  11. I asked Richard if he knew what a "Crombie" was and I am happy to tell you that he knew! You must take good care of your clothes. Even if this is a high quality coat it still must take some care to make it last that long!
    And I see it is 2 degrees for you today! Brrr.

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    1. Kay I am light on clothes as it happens but the Crombie ceased to be a really effective form of outer wear when I moved to the Hebrides where something much more waterproof and, to be honest, warmer and less formal was the order of the day. So the Crombie has only really been used for formal occasions for the last four decades.

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