My December rota was savage; and then I caught a winter cold. I was run down, exhausted and overwhelmed. Time between the shifts was spent taking naps and telling everyone how tired I was. Christmas on the unit was very busy, with some quite distressing cases. On New Year's Eve I staggered into work, and the matron took one look at me and sent me home again. I saw in the new year with a raging temperature and about 48 hours solid sleep. I didn't even wake up when the fireworks went off at midnight.
And now…it's mid January and I am feeling fine again. I went back to work for a week, and then had ten days' annual leave. More rest, more sleep, more of everything apart from work. I feel energised and full of plans again, and ready to give of myself once more.
At some point over Christmas and New Year (I don't remember exactly when – possibly I was a little delirious or feverish), I spotted a 1957 English nurse's uniform cloak on eBay, with a “buy now” option. I couldn't quite believe it: for the last eighteen months or so I've been looking on eBay for a cloak like this. English cloaks don't come up for sale nearly as often as the American or Canadian ones, and when they are in good condition they attract very competitive bidding and can go for hundreds of pounds. “Just buy it! You won't regret it!” said G, when I dithered, hardly able to believe what I was seeing. So I did. And he's right; I'll never regret it.
The cloak is incredible. It's made of two layers of thick wool: navy on the outside, and bright scarlet inside. It sits squarely on my shoulders, and fastens in two ways: first of all with the red straps, which wrap around my chest and fasten behind my back with a button; and secondly with stout black buttons all the way down the front. It is very weighty and is not going to slither off or slip down my shoulders. It has two slits at the front to bring my arms through to the outside if I wish. Once upon a time I think it had a hood which buttoned on to the collar, but that's missing now; I shall keep hunting eBay for a replacement.
When I am wearing it I am toasty warm – I've honestly never owned a coat as effective as this – it is completely impenetrable to wind, and you don't really need a scarf or gloves with it. There is something about being wrapped up in it that makes me feel very secure and comforted; a bit like when someone tucks you up in bed with a hot water bottle.
The only downside that I can see is that you really, really need to wear a skirt or dress with it. It truly looks rubbish with trousers, and I don't even want to imagine what it would look like over my scrubs.
But that's fine. It's a winter cloak, and I love wearing skirts and tights in the winter. As part of my restorative ten days off, I also caught up on some sewing and finally finished the denim City Stroll Wrap Skirt that I cut out in November. It came together much more easily than the first one I made (usually the way when you make something more than once), and I am very pleased with it indeed; it's such a good pattern.
It goes perfectly underneath my cloak; both of them practical and pretty.