CRINGLE: Flying lesson

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I HAVE broached one of my Christmas presents, a pair of trousers given by my daughter-in-law Sarah, who seems to be permanently aggrieved by my standard of dress.

She buys the best does my Sarah (she’s a Ramsey girl if that tells you anything), and the trousers bear the name of the cherished fashion label Gap.

Gap is perhaps an apposite name for these trousers, especially in relation to the gap in front which every man needs when it comes to pointing Percy at the porcelain.

The trousers are a class item, fashioned in dark brown lightweight corduroy and cut by a master. They slid on easily when I donned them for the first time and after fastening the top button at the waist I reached for the zip.

There wasn’t one.

All right, I am well aware that elderly gentlemen lurching out of senility and into insanity are all too often prone to forget to do up their flies.

But surely, I thought, this was no reason for people like Gap to decide there is no longer any point in making trousers for them with a zip they don’t use.

This wasn’t the case. Instead of a zip, my new trousers had buttons. I can’t remember when I last wore trousers with fly buttons. I have a feeling I would have been a pupil at Douglas High School for Boys at the time.

Now I had them again, three excluding the waist button. It was a struggle doing them up. A man gets used to zipping and unzipping as the occasion requires. Buttoning takes more time and a good deal of manual dexterity.

I managed in the end and set off to work and as the day wore on I needed to access whatever gap was made available to me by Gap.

In the men’s lavatory at Manx Radio I had trouble getting two buttons undone and then even more trouble doing them up again afterwards. It took time.

I wondered about what would happen when I had to stand with other men in a public urinal. They might wonder what the hell I was doing down there for so long and so vigorously.

But I’m used to them now. I have also found a label telling me they were made for Gap in Sri Lanka and that the company is doing its part in saving the planet by way of running a water quality programme in places like Sri Lanka.

The text read: ‘We are working to ensure that the water we use does not harm the environment.’

Good for them. What I am trying to ensure is that my water does not harm the environment of the floor in the men’s lavs at Manx Radio.

One more thing. When I was a boy I had to unfasten only one button. Now, for a man full grown, it takes two.

• NEIL Rough, of Queen’s Promenade, Douglas, e-mails to draw attention to a front page advertisement in the Isle of Man Courier for a ‘3-course carvery followed by Rod Stewart.’

Neil muses: ‘I wonder if he tastes of haggis.’

In fact what was on offer was Rod Stuart who impersonates the other Rod.

I wonder if he was coming over on the boat . . .

• JOHN Cannell, of Tromode, says he saw on television Manx students protesting outside Tynwald against the imposition of university fees. One held up a placard pleading: ‘Enroll now.’ They want people to sine up with them?

• KEN and Audrey Fogelman send in the following two Manx clues which appeared in one crossword in the Guardian: 18 across. Article follows lives by top cat and top soldier, where house has keys (4, 2, 3): Isle of Man.10 across. Remove protection from 18 (4): Peel

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