Joy! After months of relentless lurking in charity shops I finally landed myself an authentically smelly, wrinkled and grubby fake Barbour Jacket! Hallelujah! The search is over: with my new jacket, straggly beard and filthy flat cap I am, at long last, the very image of a bona-fide Hackney Farmer.
A Hackney Farmer? Just so: one who affects the full trappings of rural work-wear and yet can be seen to do nothing but lounge around all day in Starbucks with a Mac on their lap, cradling, in their moisturised, callous-free hands, naught more burdensome than a de-caff soya latte.
C'est moi! I might now look like a scion of the rural working community, but I've been nowhere near the fields for... well, for what seems like months.
Anyway, now fully outfitted for appearance in the country I, of course, headed straight for the city (with the ever-lovely Mrs. Hubert)...
...and strode around proudly in the crowded streets, resplendent, so I felt, in my new-found, very becoming, son-of-the-soil, rural garb.
Out for a meal at my brother-in-law's place in the city, the three of us were just finished with the first bottle of wine each and, swaying somewhat, I struggled into my new coat and went out into the garden for a smoke.
As I left the warmth, my brother-in-law elected to bring his fluffy and adorable pet rabbit into the cozy, wine-and-roast-chicken perfumed snug of his lounge to warm up a wee bit. All very nice.
Fag finished, I came back inside, dropped everything and said 'yes please!' to another glass.
The rabbit ate my bloody jacket.
In a flash, in the space of a minute the damn thing put about a dozen holes in it; big holes, not little nibbled scratchy marks, dirty great big inch-across holes.
Now, I'm very happy to pretend I'm a farmer but I'm less happy, far less happy, to appear like someone who lives in a bush and talks back to his voices (obviously, since this is actually who I am, and the whole useful and enjoyable point of costume is putting on the orthopaedic mask of someone that you're not). So the hole-riddled jacket went on the peg in the hall and stayed there for a month while I contemplated it in passing every day with a grumpy scowl on my face.
Pedalling back from the giant charity warehouse on the outskirts of the town where I live the other day (where I'd gone to try and find a cheap fridge, since my old second-hand one has chosen this helpfully chilly part of the year to finally break down) I spotted a mouldy green lump in a ditch which, on inspection, turned out to be another filthy fake Barbour.
Joy! (and thanks, God.)
I cut the less mouldy strips of the waxed fabric from the discarded wreck of the coat and, over a few nights, stitched them onto the rabbit-wrecked remains of my own.
Job's a good 'un.