In Praise of Stripes

Anyone who read Dick’s blog yesterday will know how jolly important stripes are to many, many lawn enthusiasts in this country. I don’t know why, I mean they certainly look good and they certainly help those football chaps with the flags work out if some overpaid tattoo canvas in shorts is offside or not but why do we love them so much?

And when I say so much, I mean that there are so many mowers that can make stripes they must be very popular indeed.  Dick was highlighting those shiny, silver Lawnflite ones, which I must admit do look smart. Anyway, I am, in my usual meandering way, getting to a point. I just can’t quite remember what it is yet. This is partly the result of  the party weekend I just had, just me and some friends, celebrating the final arrival of the summer sizzle with a bumper beano in my little town garden with some lovely food, music and more bubbles than the whole series of Absolutely Fabulous.

Ah, yes, I remember. Stripes. It’s not just gardens where we like our stripes. I know when you look at my main picture it looks as though I am going to follow Dick’s illustrious footsteps (can footsteps be illustrious? ) and do a whole blog on stripy lawns. As if! No. To celebrate the super stripy summer lawns of Great Britain (it is a peculiarly British obsession like marmite and the Battle of Britain) I am going to find some other stripes we all love. Some are very British, some very international, but anyway, here is my guide to the top five..er…favourite stripy stuff.

  1. Pyjamas. Who wants pyjamas with ducks, sheep, characters from the latest Pixar movie or Marvel franchise? (Well, children obviously) No. Who wants nylon nighties that cause more sparks than Nigel Farage at a UN meeting? I want good old fashioned stripes. Preferably men’s striped pyjamas. Everyone looks good in them, I know I do.There’s an iconic picture of Sophia Loren in striped pyjamas looking amazing… mind you she’d look good dressed in a bin bag. Then you’ve got Bananas in Pyjamas, they wore stripes, OK, Australian but very popular here and what about Tom in Tom’s Midnight garden, creeping down the stairs in perfectly striped pyjamas when he hears the clock striking thirteen, or the boy in The Snowman walking in the air, no doubt suffering from serious hypothermia but happy all the same.  There are only two colours, red and blue, nothing else is acceptable. Striped pyjamas are what all men in 70s sitcoms and Brian Rix farces wear, they are a retro style icon and there’s a damned good reason. They’re good to look at, and comfy. Nuff said.
  2. Toothpaste. Yup. Stripy toothpaste. That tingly, minty, fresh feeling that you really need after a night of imbibing cocktails at yet another trendy bar in a part of town that used to be rundown and full of warehouse. Stripy toothpaste is another adult, as well as childhood, must have. It’s clever from a marketing perspective.  It says “Hey. Look, kids, dental hygiene is fun. and “Wow. Look, there’s good stuff in here that will make your breath nice again”. It’s not British at all, as it was invented by a chap from New York called Leonard Lawrence Marraffino in 1955, who patented it and then sold the idea to Unilever.  Still, American or not, we love it.
  3. Zebra Crossings. Now where would we be without these standout pieces of street furniture? On the other side that’s where, waiting half an hour to cross. Seen
    Belisha Beacons on a Zebra Crossing - stripy defenders of pedestrians everywhere!
    Belisha Beacons on a Zebra Crossing – stripy defenders of pedestrians everywhere!

    in many countries but the name is attributed to a British MP James Callaghan in the 40s and the Belisha Beacons that stand, sentinel like, either side are named for Leslie Hore-Belisha the Minister of Transport when the beacons were introduced in the 1930s.  Zebra Crossings are fabulous. Pedestrians have the right of way and, just when the tired angry and impatient, motorists think they can mow down children at school drop-off and pick-up time, along come Lollypop Ladies and Lollipop Men, the white coated, hi-vis jacketed, pension-age guardians of the Zebra Crossing to say “No, evil gas-guzzling four-by-four. You shall not pass. See my mighty lollipop. It says you must stand down. No children will be pushed aside by you today. Not on my watch!” Magnificent. Also, excuse me, Abbey Road? Need I say more?

  4. Bretton Tops. I know, I know. They are French. But we love them. Why? Style that’s why. You wouldn’t understand. or perhaps you would. They look great on guys and girls, they are (if you buy the original ones) very good quality,  they are functional (they are famously good to wear while sailing as the tight stitching keeps the wind out) and cool and they allow you to say “Hey. I’m a bit different”, without too much effort or wearing outrageous colours and shapes. They are true fashion staples and such notable screen icons as James Dean, Brigitte Bardot, Jean Seberg and Audrey Hepburn have been shot wearing them either  in films or in real life. Also, they were made famous in the first place by Coco Channel in 1917 so… No argument there.
  5. Striped Paint. If you’ve ever been an apprentice, new boy or girl at an office, factory, builder’s yard, DIY store or the rest, you will know that it is de rigeuer for old hands to send you on at least one pointless and humiliating errand as a joke, and to teach you that ultimately life and your job are pointless and humiliating. Striped Paint is one of these. ‘Oi, you, new lad, go to the stores and fetch some striped paint’. Of course, it doesn’t exist (bizarre then that striped toothpaste does). However, it says a lot about the dry and laconic sense of humour of the British workforce. Other notable examples include going to ask for ‘a long weight (wait) geddit? ‘ a ‘bubble for a spirit level’ and a left-handed spanner. `Hilarious.

So that’s it. Stripes are part of our lives. If you want the ultimate stripy lawn, look at our amazing selection of rear-roller mower deals, but in the meantime do check out Dick’s afore mentioned blog. You can see it and some other roller mower blogs here. And don’t forget to get out in the sun at some point. Well dressed and covered of course. See ya!    Holly/

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