In my day it was about this time of year that we started to get a chill in the air that meant it was time to get out your winter vest.
Now most of the time it was straightforward, you just had to rummage in the bottom drawer and Bingo. If the moths had been in there you just nipped down the shop.
That was until the Great Cotton shortage bit. Apparently, a weevil, normally quite a reserved beetle, took it in his head to turn into an intrepid, daring insect.
You’ll know of the Bold Weevil that scoffed its way through the cotton plantations of the world. Suddenly, we had a vest shortage.
Now it happened at that time there was a German chap living on West Street. He’d been a POW and decided to stay on after hostilities. His name was Hans Nissan and it happened that he was an avid vest wearer. Course, he was distraught at the shortage. He’d married a local girl called Daisy Drake. Daisy worked in the string factory over at Woodford and could get a constant supply of off cuts.
Daisy was a dab hand at crochet and well known for her chain work. She reckoned she could make Hans a vest out of string. She called the idea ‘String Theory’.
The vests were an instant success and everyone wanted one. Folk found they were multi purpose.
When you weren’t wearing them, you could use them to drain spuds, they worked as an hairnet and anglers used them as a cheap keep net. And of course, you could put up with your body looking like some sort of lattice topped fruit pie, because they kept you warm.
Unfortunately, Hans and Daisy’s marriage wasn’t quite as successful. Daisy’s fame spread to Finedon Vic’s football team and she crocheted their goal nets. This led – via Cobblers – to the FA asking her to do the World Cup Final. Hans was livid when her nets let in more England goals than West German. He stormed off back to his homeland.
He took his string vests with him and even established an annual celebration of his wife’s handy work. He called it Oktobervest.
News of the marriage break up spread like wild fire with even the ET announcing it with the headline; Hans Nissan Dumps a Daisy.