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About 20 years ago I bought Nick a grey fleece – effectively an outdoor jacket. And just for fun, as it was a Christmas present, I had his name embroidered on it.

It was one of my more successful gift ideas because he wore it and wore it. After a while it started to look scruffy – or I thought so – and I spent the last 10 years of his life trying to separate him from it and coax him into something a bit smarter. To that end I bought him several jackets but it was always that bloody fleece which found its way to the front of the cupboard.

When, after his death last year, I sorted out Nick’s clothes for the charity shop I smiled at the fleece and the little arguments we’d had about it. So I kept it and now wear if for gardening with the sleeves rolled up. And do you know what? It’s very cosy and comfy and I can see exactly why Nick was so attached to it. It’s much better than the decades-old anorak I used to use for outdoor dirty jobs and which I really have now thrown out.

And I think of him whenever I put it on – not in a maudlin or sad way but with a grin.  It’s just a case of “Thanks, Nick. This apparently indestructible garment is still keeping one of us warm, at least.” He’d grin too.

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Susan Elkin Susan Elkin is an education journalist, author and former secondary teacher of English. She was Education and Training Editor at The Stage from 2005 - 2016
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