Pyjama Games.

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 20 January 2015

I don't ever remember my father wearing pyjamas. My mother, however, wore little nightdresses that started out white but after successive mixed washes went either pink or grey.

Each Christmas my mother would buy me a new pair of pj's tied up in a ribbon or still wrapped in their cardboard and cellophane packaging.

Pyjamas are for padding around not for sleeping in. Getting tied up in knots having to untwist myself from too much garment makes for uncomfortable sleeping conditions. I have been known to fight a pair of Wincyette jim-jams with all the ferocity of a heavy weight boxer.

I bought an antique nightdress, from a vintage shop in Camden market, years ago. All lace and Edwardian trimmings. I fancied myself as Dr. Zhivago's Lara, pristine and intense. After tripping up the stairs umpteen times it was put in the Charity bag.

I've slept in my birthday suit for as long as I can remember. When on the road touring throughout the British Isles and beyond, it wasn't nightwear that came with me but big t-shirts.

The only time I remember sleeping in a blue and white silk two piece was whilst filming in Gambia. I was so frightened of getting bitten by mosquitos that I lay stock still in my silk confection. I didn't get sucked once.

Even after setting up home with the old git night attire was not part of the evening ritual. Socks and underpants dropped by his side of the bed - the left - books and journals by mine. Off with the daywear, into the bed, lights out, not a strand of cotton between us.

Living in London apartments meant pyjamas were de rigueur Chelsea neighbours or Wapping walkers were spared la nudité.

This Christmas, however I stepped into my mother's slippers. Who was to buy the onesies now? Who was to continue the tradition of 100% acrylic tastelessness? It fell to me to buy the mis-sized sleep wear and the packets of three socks.

I went to the Factory Outlet and bought the dawter a pair of navy blue reduced jamas covered in stars. Soft and baggy. They were half price. My dawter is tall with a less than Oriental shape. They were probably run up in a Chinese warehouse where the seamstresses had little arms, tiny waists, short bodies and questionable legs. The result was my offspring had to stand hunched over should she need to eat or walk. They are now mine. Everything's a little too long but still workable for padding around.

The old git surprised me and bought me a pair of pyjamas so soft, so snuggly, so comfortable that I spent all of Christmas in them. Whipping off the top when the fire got too hot, and putting it back on when the air got too chill.

A black sweater type top, and grey, black and rust, plaid trewsers. I love them. Soft to the touch, warm to the skin, just the ticket if the cat isn't around for a furry stroke.

I have a bottom drawer full of nightwear, none of which are worn in bed.

Navy blue baggy, from the first class flights on BA.

Little puff sleeved pink and grey linen ones.

A grey and pink furry floral pair, TK MAXX, courtesy of the girl.

A pair of thick white cotton ones with red hearts. One of the pockets has a big hole in it so I'm forever dropping things on the carpet.

Mismatched vests. Mismatched trousers. Buttoned, ribboned and elasticated .

When B was at music school she was known as the 'Pyjama Girl', she went to college wearing thick multi-coloured plaid ones. Playing her bass on stage looking like mother, like daughter.

The reason I bring this up at all is that pjamas have become so much part of my attire that unless I am working, or doing yoga, they are my preferred garments.

This morning, frost like icing sugar, and frozen puddles everywhere, I donned a pair of Wellingtons with parrots on, and set off for my morning constitutional.

It occurred to me that Wellingtons were an add on to my immigrant up bringing. Only 50 years into the UK, the Wellington Boot was given to my father by the Sally Army so he didn't have to go barefoot. We had them as chidren but cold toes and blistered ankles accompanied dry feet. Wellington's like white socks, belonged to the Anglo Saxons. My tribe wore thick socks and reheeled stout shoes.

This morning as a bouquet of pheasants chuckled past, it occurred to me that I looked anything but an English Rose out on a walk.

My Christmas pyjamas tucked into my pink Christmas socks and parrot Wellies. My fleece, a cast off from my trendy daughter. I looked like an Eastern European that our UKip neighbours so abhor.

Once home the fleece hung up I was ready to start the day.

I do have my very own onesie, purchased from my neighbour from a house clearance. It's soft pink with feet attached. That's okay only my legs are short and the original owner must have been lean and long. I don't wear it much as trips to the bathroom are too complicated and by the time it's got to lunch time I look like Andy Pandy on acid, the feet two feet ahead of me.

As I write I have two pairs of wooly socks on, the 'oosbinds plaid pj's and the radiator up full.

I'm of to yoga at 5.00 so my pyjamas will be laid to rest on the bathroom stool until I get back from class.

I know there's a controversy about whether it's at all Kosher to go shopping in ones sleeping attire, but with a good long coat to cover up and a pair of Wellie's who's going to notice? And if they do, who cares?

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité and Déshabillé.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes


1. At January 21, 2015 12:02 PM 'L' wrote:

I can see i need to be a fly on your bedroom wall and definitely Kosher to shop however you wish!

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