Just once in a while you come across a really top-class, conscientiously-made product, like those Bardic electric torches I used to recommend because, with their rotary, bonded-rubber switches, etc., they never went wrong. They were made in Southampton; mine are still as good as new, and I hope they are still available.
I was reminded of this by the Functional weatherproof clothing, as used by Chris Bonington’s Annapurna South Face expedition, Esso tanker-men, the BBC, gas-meter readers and others exposed to exceptional cold and wet, which Derek Doff, Functional’s London Manager, had demonstrated to me at the Motor Sport offices the other day. As our premises comply with the office heating requirements, they were not at all a good place wherein to assess the effectiveness of this Rolls-Royce of protective clothing, which embodies a great many clever ideas, a great many high-quality materials, including Dunloprufe waterproof Bri-Nylon, Dunlopreme foam and Borg deep-pile fabric, and has been evolved form long practical experience. Indeed, I began to feel uncomfortably hot just contemplating wearing the apparel at the top of a freezing mountain in mid-winter, or perched on a Brighton Run veteran on a pouring wet Sunday.
I have no Functional (with a capital “F” that is) clothing of my own (what—with the complete rally kit costing some £25? And somehow I don’t think their 3 oz. stain-lined waterproof trilby with cotton-poplin sweat band is quite me, so perhaps I will go on wearing that ancient flying helmet), but our intrepid photographers swear by, but not at, this best of rally jackets or marshals’ clothing; and our Production Manager at his only when the coat flap flies open as he sits down. So this Dunlop-based Rolls-Royce of bad weather, keep-warm clothing is clearly the best possible for outdoor work and play. If you will just slip (on the ice?) into Functional’s London place (9, Alfred Place, off Tottenham Court Road, between Store Street and Chenies Street, W1) or contact them at 20, Chepstow Street, Manchester, you outdoor chaps will discover, if you haven’t already, lots of things which should comfort you for a long time in the worst of the weather.—W. B.