Goodbye to my favourite jacket!
Date Posted: 14.24hrs on Fri 14 Feb 14
Back in the 90's we lived in the fair city of Kingston upon Hull, where folk like a bargain. That's probably why a chain of shops called Boyes did so well in the area. Know to all as "Boyses" they specialised in buying up stock from catalogues and knocking 'em out at at amazing prices. If you timed your visits right, you could ( and still can) pick up some amazing bargains.
My wife, being a Yorkshire lass, was a regular visitor. One day she called me at work and told me to get down to Boyes. "They've got some great goretex jackets there" she said . And then she laughed.
So I paid them a visit in my lunch hour . Sure enough there were the jackets. Gore-Tex,storm cuffs, fold-away hood,the real thing.And the price? £15.
But( and there was a big but) the things were a bit different from your normal mountain wear. They put the "f" in flourescent. BRIGHT orange slashed with reflective strips on front back and sleeves.And just to set it off, on the back were the words "HAVEN VAN ANTWERPEN" in large black capitals. Mr Boyes had excelled himself, picking up a job lot of Antwerp Docks Board kit and was now offering it at a bargain price.
I couldn't resist it and decided to call my wife's bluff by actually buying one.Burrowing amongst the extra large ,and extra extra large sizes I found a medium to fit. As I remember, I then bargained the shop assistant down to £10 and walked out of the shop in my bright orange jacket.
I skied all over Europe, including Scotland, in "HVA". Mostly on my own because my wife and kids refused to be anywhere near me if I wore it.It was brilliant, keeping me warm and dry in some awful conditions and in flat light.......It was useful in other places too. On several occasions I got mistaken for a steward at football matches and once I got into the members enclosure at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground.
Sadly, though, HVA was supplanted by other, less visible jackets.In the end HVA was kept in the boot of the car, "just in case".At the weekend, though, I finally gave in and recycled the old thing. I like to think that maybe a S.African miner will wear it to work in a cold morning on the Veldt, and, who knows, get through to the managers car park because they think he's a steward!