A few weeks ago my sister told me she was planning for a funeral. My mind immediately leapt to court cases and the cost of airfares to Western Australia, while hers, I discovered, was on buying a pair of smart, black trousers for the imminent farewell to one of her husband’s relatives. My sister spoke as though everyone in the world had a pair of smart black trousers. I had a sudden flashback to recently trying on the ones in my own wardrobe and being astonished at the amount of extra flesh the zip and tiny fastening were expected to hold back. I’d been so disgusted I’d ripped them off and put them in the Hospice Shop donation bag. Listening to my sister state the wardrobe coverage from just this one item of clothing it became obvious I needed a replacement. So I went for a swim (and a soak in the hot tub) and got right to it. I shop for clothes in bursts of neediness. I never need and then two or three times a year, (and to be truthful it’s usually when Ezibuy or Farmers has a sale), I am like a woman possessed. This time no-one was offering discounts. It was like going into Briscoe’s when you actually need a kettle and finding irons are on special. But I soldiered on. I went from one end of the shop to the other forcing my eyes from the pretty floral print tops that covered all manner of sins and concentrating only on smart, black trousers. Eventually I approached the change room with 6 pair flung casually over my aching arm. I am not a fan of change rooms where the usual conversations I overhear go something like… ‘Oh dear. I think this is too big. Do you think you could get me a size 10… 8, no, make that a 6?’ No-one ever pokes their head out of the cubicle and announces they need to go up a couple of sizes do they? I also heard once that in some stores they have a camera behind the mirror to catch shop lifters. I don’t believe it but that doesn’t stop me wondering what they think of me checking out the overflow from the back of my bra and if they’ve noticed I’ve less of a stomach than I had last time I was there? Enclosed in my own personal space I set all my possibles on the hooks, took off my comfy trou and got on with it. Right at the start I scored an immediate win. The ‘correct’ size was far too big!! I was delighted until I heard the ghostly voices of Trinny and Susannah telling me that big, baggy pants on a body like mine made me look like a box. I went for the next pair and would you believe it – I couldn’t get the bloody things up and over my thighs. And that’s how it went from there on. If I could get them up I was hearing those high-stress cotton stretching sounds as I levered them down and I couldn’t ask the change room assistant for help because she was out on the shop floor hunting for dolls clothes. In my youth I’d completed an apprenticeship in pulling on newly-washed jeans straight from the dryer but that was no help at all – mainly because there was not enough floorspace to lie down on and the fact that these days the abdo fat does the full 360. I didn’t even try on the last pair. Steeped in humility I put on my own, perfectly-fitted trousers (no!! NOT elasticated), and almost fell over putting my sneakers back on my feet. I remain smart, black trouserless and what’s more, I went to a funeral last week. I wore a dress but not the beautiful new black boots I bought in H & J’s sale because they made my feet hurt. I suspect they’re possibly a size too small but I’m waiting for the blister on my toe to heal up so I can try again.