A few years ago I was fortunate enough to have a business trip to RSA. It was a real eye-opener and I readily put aside many pre-conceptions I had arrived with. Travel can do that.
On the way home though, as I shopped at the many airport trinket shops for thoughtful/last-minute-panic* gifts, I acquired a brace of leather bracelets. I’m not one for jewellery really. Not on blokes at any rate. But for some reason I was taken with the idea of such a simple, natural adornment. One that pretty much had to be hand-made. I have no idea if the leather was local, or indeed the labour to produce them, but at least nominally they were African hide and somehow they seemed in tune with my ideas of a simpler existence. I bought two, as I mentioned – one for my son and one for me. Some weird throw-back to bonding, coming of age, or whatever.
He did wear his for a while to be sure. I never took mine off though, except to make a few minor running repairs to the whipping thread at the ends. On one occasion I was gutted to realise I had totally lost it (due to less than perfect implementation of aforementioned repairs), and was positively ecstatic to rediscover it lying all forlorn on the grass lawn outside my regular lunchtime café. It had been there a week and generally seemed none the worse for wear.
This week however, the whole episode began to unravel. Quite literally. After a couple of years of regular soakings in showers, baths, fish tanks and other damp places (not to mention my weekly sweat-fest up Grouse Grind), three of the five leather strands making up my bracelet have finally given up the ghost.
Trouble is though – I’ve kind of gotten used to having it on my wrist. Those of you who know the true QE will realise that my compulsive/obsessive nature simply had to find a replacement. Cue a bag of leather offcuts from Michael’s and some hemp twine (such as any self-respecting Scout might have in a drawer). It’s a bit bright still, but I’m sure the leather will fade with time. Looking at the photo of my efforts below, I see only one mistake in its weaving, but I kind of like the imperfection. It seems appropriate somehow.
*Delete according to how well you know me