Faithful readers with long memories may remember a photograph of me wearing a suit, after which Davids Mansergh (friend from church in the UK) and Warman (brother's father-in-law) helpfully discussed whether I was leaning to the left or the right.
Anyway, that picture was taken as part of a photoshoot at work, aimed at building up a library of photos for brochures, website, posters, etc. It was pointed out to me that that wool suit, ideal as it is for the UK when it gets cold, is less than ideal here. So the photographer, Paul, was kind enough to give me the contact details of his tailor, Jitu, with a view to getting a suit of my own made up. And with graduation for last year's students coming up soon, now seemed a good time.
Of course, from a UK perspective this is terribly exciting - my own tailor made suit! Way outside my price range up to this point, the preserve in the UK either of the very wealthy or people going a long way out of their financial way to have one. Of course, here things are somewhat different, with much bigger discrepancies between the equivalent of the minimum wage and the kind of income I'm on, so employing people to do these things become much more viable.
I started the process before Christmas when I went to see Jitu. Before he got going he asked me to do two things. The first was to go to another shop to buy the material which surprised me slightly. But the bigger surprise was still to come. Did I have, I was asked, a suit which fits? Well, yes, I replied, slightly puzzled at the reason for the question. OK great, comes back the response, bring it in and I'll take the measurements from that.
You'll appreciate that I was considerably nonplussed by this. Surely the measurements for my tailor made suit should come from me and not an off-the-peg Marks and Spencers suit, however close it might be to my heart, bought as it was originally for my PhD graduation? But I'm reliably informed that this is how it's done here, and there is a certain logic in terms of people liking different things re: length of trouser and so on. When I did go back with this suit, Jitu did a few checks before then getting on with it.
Well, you can see the end result for yourself. I'm aware that this self-portrait is not a great piece of photography, I did consider trying again to get rid of the shadow but didn't for two reasons - I'd taken the suit of by then and it's really too hot at the moment to wear one unless absolutely necessary. And I thought friends, particularly in the UK, would like the reminder of the warm sunshine even as you're under 2 inches of snow - and the Indian Ocean was lovely to swim in yesterday, by the way.
So, I'm very pleased and look forward to showing it off at graduation shortly. And yet another example of something which feels both similar and different to the UK.
Just to say also, the number of visitors to this website has just gone over the 5000 mark, and the number of page visited just over 10 000. So thank you for coming, do leave a message and / or get in touch with me privately, it would be great to hear from you. I'll be back again soon!