Friday, 23 November 2007

German Trousers

The social secretary has bought some German hiker's trousers. Some trousers for hiking made in Germany, that is, not the trousers belonging to some German hiker. It is not the time of year for selling your trousers when you are hiking, not on the North Downs.

Although they are German trousers, it is inconceivable that they are intended for indigenous use. Germany has, after all, one of the highest standards of living in the world in terms of per-capita income, and in Frankfurt, Munich and Stuttgart it has three of the top performing cities in Europe. Whatever a performing city is. London, on the other hand, is 34th.

The trousers are completely shapeless. They are like those swagged, ruched curtains you might see in personnel officers' houses in Ilford. I imagine they were designated as hikers' trousers because you wouldn't be seen dead in them in a built-up area. They shouldn't really be worn in public at all.

They are, I believe, a cruel joke perpetrated on the British as revenge. I can't think what for; we've always been jolly decent to the Germans. Mostly. By and large. (I know 5-1 was overdoing it a bit, and hacking into that Enigma code was unsporting, but we've atoned for all that since. I mean, 34th. What more do they want?)

Apart from being made out of surplus Soviet parachute rayon and cut to a generous, lifelong, one-size-fits-all pattern, the trousers have a very weird feature. There is a zip pocket at the back. Not a hip pocket, but one dangling internally in the middle of the wearer's bum. Why? What is it for? What do hikers need to keep so unreachably behind them that other people don't?

If the pocket was made of clear vinyl, I suppose it could be a useful map pocket. The hiker behind could navigate by peering at the bahookey of the person in front. The trousers' owner suggests it might be for money, but groping blindly down the back of one's trousers to pay for a pint or whatever seems less than ideal - the Scot's idea of storing money in a sporran and hanging it in the place every man instinctively protects seems far sounder. Natural selection wouldn't favour hikers who clutched their bums when faced by attacking dogs, or bulls, or bandits. (Well, it would depend on what the bandits had in mind, I suppose). For sandwiches? I wouldn't take one if offered. And supposing you sat on them? And they were egg mayonnaise?

Any suggestions would be welcome. I feel there may be something pocket-sized that we are not taking hiking that we ought to be, and we do want to be proper hikers, up with the best. Not 34th.

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