... unless I'm in a garden centre of course.
So the Scrooge in me was quite happy to go to Agen today and wander round clothes shops and come back without spending a penny.
But I have this problem. In fourteen days we are going to a Valentine's ball, and I've nothing to wear! Well that's not strictly true. I've got this satiny deep orange evening jacket that I bought aeons ago and I have this image of a long, under-stated, but slinky black evening dress to wear underneath the jacket. (You note that I have this misguided mental image of looking like Helen Mirren on the catwalk.) Many years ago, I had such a dress, but I made the mistake of washing it and it fell apart, or shrank, or something (well I did only pay about two and sixpence for it in House of Fraser).
This being France and the home of the LBD (the little black dress) I thought I'd have no problem in finding something tasteful. Unfortunately this year the LBD is not much larger than a curtain pelmet. If I put the jacket on, you won't see the dress.
And I'm somewhat disconcerted to discover that my modest "on a good day, holding my breath and pulling my stomach in" size fourteen, is designated LARGE in France. And that my "feeling relaxed after a good lunch want to wear something comfy" size sixteen is designated EXTRA LARGE. And most dress rails only have two things in size sixteen right at the back - both of which are a strange purple colour and look like a dressing gown - and nothing larger.
I now understand why it is that our robust, start at size eighteen local farmers' wives when dressing up for summer parties choose to do no more than put on a clean pair of dungarees.
So I turn to the internet. And yes there are long slinky black dresses to be had. And a few even are to be had in LARGE and EXTRA LARGE. But which size to choose? Go for the tight across the hips, can't eat too much and may not be able to sit down look? Or the baggy, there must be a set of boobs in there somewhere look?
And interestingly, black doesn't photograph too well, so I can't really see whether the neckline plunges to the waist or stops demurely under the chin. Maybe I'll do what I did all those years ago in the House of Fraser - go for the cheapest. Just remember this time not to wash it.