No, not talking about 2020, Brexit or anything like that. Let's give it all a rest on New Year's Day. I am saying goodbye for ever to the 'stiff imperial'. If you came across it in a quiz - what is a stiff imperial? - I don;t expect you couldn't answer the question. I could but only because I have read Ann Treneman in The Times this morning. The ' stiff imperial ' is that horrible upright collar for men which they wore in late Victorian times and which always made them look so pompous and self-important (which may be why they wore it in the first place).
It struck me how much times have changed during my lifetime when it comes to clothing. My dear late farmer was a real conservative when it came to clothes. Collar and tie with his suit or with his Harris Tweed jacket, conventional clothes always. I once suggested pink trousers (tongue in cheek) - all I got n a reply was a look. I once bought him two black roll-neck cotton sweaters. He viewed them with deep suspicion until we holidayed above the arctic circle, when he wore one under his thick anorak with his cords - from then on they were usually included in his 'to wear' drawer.
My mother never wore trousers in her life - now I don't possess a skirt. And I watch Breakfast television over my Breakfast and see how many of the women presenters wear trousers and how almost all the men have left their ties at home. The actual Newsreader usually wears a tie but nobody else. And it is trainers with everything these days isn't it?
None of this is meant as a criticism - what a relief that we have all lightened up - and it is a pretty sure thing that things will never return to that stiff level of formality thank goodness. Because I think that our language and our behaviour has also changed and to a large extent this is a good thing too. All his life my father wore a trilby and whenever we passed a lady he knew he raised his trilby. My farmer wore a cap around the farm whatever the weather and when we went on holiday he had to take his 'best' cap with him (he was pretty bald) but I did occasionally persuade him to take it off.
I'm not suggesting we all take up the fashion expertise of Michael Portillo on his train journeys but let's all continue to lighten up with our dress, our chattiness, our behaviour (it is quite possible to be polite without sounding starchy) - get rid of this wretched Covid, go ahead into 2021 as British (I voted to Remain but too bad) and proud of it and a good New Year to you all.