Susan Morrison: Still seeing red after 15 years

My winter jacket is a tough, no-nonsense red sailing anorak I bought when my son was in his buggy. He’ll be 15 come May.
Susan and her time served friend. Picture: Jane BarlowSusan and her time served friend. Picture: Jane Barlow
Susan and her time served friend. Picture: Jane Barlow

Heaven knows, it’s not fashionable. It’s too big for me, reaches down to my knees and the hood flops down over my eyes. It makes me look like a particularly belligerent garden gnome.

That old jacket and I have had some adventures together. It can take whatever the elements throw at it. We’ve battled through snowstorms and howling gales, run for trains, raced through airports, stood on the deck of the MV Clansman on the way to Tiree, and made the dash to Tesco, sorry, across Great Junction Street on days when the wind whistling through Leith makes the Banana Flats sing. She’s been pillow and blanket on occasion, and sheltered cats, puppies and even a tiny baby from the cold.

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We’ve been together longer than a celebrity marriage. Oh, we’ve had our differences in the past. In moments of sheer temper I stomp off to the outdoors shops staffed by the relentlessly cheerful mountain climbing types and eye up other all-weather jackets, only to sigh and admit to myself that there is nothing wrong with the one I have at home, and the spirit of John Knox will not allow the replacement of a working piece of kit just because I’ve fallen out with it.

And so, every autumn I sigh and I pull her on like a carapace and that’s where she stays.

She also has deep pockets and, as winter grinds on, they fill with useful things. So when these balmy days arrive and finally I get the chance to pull on the light wee trench coat I bought last year, half my life just vanishes.

Where’s the packet of hankies? The half roll of Polos? The useful bits of paper to scribble notes and phone numbers on? Come to that, the pen to do the scribbling with? The pencil I picked up in Ikea? The paper measuring tape, also Ikea? The nasal spray that doesn’t work, but I keep using it anyway? That mysterious Post-It that says “Angela. Wed. Not Thurs”? The cute wee bulldog clip?

Not forgetting the possibility of finding a cheeky wee fiver I shoved in there and forgot about?

I tell you, it’s like losing life support in deep space.

Morning jolly gets the bird

Dear Dawn Chorus. I do realise that poets have written odes praising your morning song, and composers emulate your musical glory, but these, my feathered friends, are false PR.

For one thing, all the poets I know are still under the duvet when you start belting out your cheery little ditties, and as for the great composers, well – let’s put it this way – I doubt very much that Beethoven ever heard you. I don’t think he was a morning person. That’s the face of a man who needs a double espresso and a roll and sausage (square) with brown sauce inside him before he can even think about knocking off a minor symphony.

So lip it Tweety Pie & Co, or I’ll let my cat out earlier.

His namesake caused a flap

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When I worked for a large telecommunications company out in the Gyle, the staff were briefly terrorised by a huge black feathered fiend.

It took particular delight in swooping on female staff, and decorating the cars of senior management during precision avian bombing raids.

It was the original angry bird.

It was a crow. We nick named it Russell.

He’s here on Saturday. Just thought I’d mention.

Won’t catch me napping with this mornings malarky

Morning people baffle me. I know they exist. I’ve seen them. They can talk the minute they wake up.

On the other hand, my brain, being old and slow and full of information about the Titanic, as well as sundry other clutter, a bit like my old jacket pockets, actually, takes a fair old time to fully engage with the world.

It’s a bit like the good days of the properly massive television set. It takes time to warm up.

Somewhere, deep inside my skull, the tubes begin to glow, and the picture slowly emerges.

Sound follows. Eventually. You have to wait.

There is no point, incidentally, thumping the top of my head like the old telly in our living room in the 1970s.

Cheery morning folk work in coffee shops and they try to converse with me. One of them asked me how my day was going. It was 8.03 in the morning.

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Well, I’d managed to find matching socks, caught the bus, remembered my glasses and was on schedule to make my train and still have time to buy coffee.

Hey! Suddenly I got this morning thing. I had a whole raft of achievements under my belt and it wasn’t even lunchtime.

It wore me out. Nap time, I think.