Alison Goulding: ‘Fashions a crone might like’

The crone of Echo House

The crone of Echo House

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A WHILE ago I asked Ma Goulding to knit me some fingerless gloves.

I’d seen a couple of stylish ladies wearing them and felt they’d be a dapper, yet practical, accessory for the winter months.

The gloves duly arrived on Christmas day and I was thrilled.

I sat stroking them under the glow of the fairy lights with a soft look on my face, admiring the neat little rows of wool in muted tones.

Since then they have been my constant companion.

The only glitch is that they certainly fall under the category of “fashions a crone might really like”.

Instead of exuding a casual chic they conjure up visions of poverty, of chilly rooms and high ceilings where your breath comes out in plumes of frosty air.

When I wear them I want to rub my palms together and blow on my fingers – even when it’s warm.

And they seem to be spreading a strange kind of black magic over the rest of my life. People are noticing.

We were sitting in the Echo canteen last week. My hair was a strange bushy mess and I was wearing the gloves to combat cheeky draughts. My cardigan had a stain on it.

The conversation turned to appearance. “I look like Stig of the Dump,” I said. Roars of laughter seemed to suggest sound agreement.

As we returned to our desks a manky bit of carpet was propping the door open.

“Look,” said my colleague, “Isn’t that yours?” There was much hooting, but not from me. My concern began to grow.

The problem is clearly that these are enchanted gloves. My mother has unintentionally knitted them over some strange magical vortex and now they have mussed up my hair, hunched my back and caused me to adopt the mannerisms of a biddy.

Instances of muttering under my breath, distrusting young people and penny pinching have risen 42 per cent since the New Year alone.

Then, last week while out for dinner with my friend, this photo was taken.

We were laughing about the Steptoe and Son nature of the gloves and I got him to try them on.

After a few minutes of laughter the gloves resumed their place on my hands and my friend offered to take a photo of me wearing them for posterity.

As he said ‘cheese’ I pulled this face.

My evolution into hag is now complete.

Or as another friend wryly observed ‘Abso Nanny Mcfee!’

Are you frightened? Perhaps you should be.