Wednesday 11 July 2018

Tom Merriweather's Charmed Pullover

Tom Merriweather's Charmed Pullover : Object Post 38

Source? It turned up in his case at the B&B; a gift from Ryl Skipton, though he didn’t know it at the time
Significance? It turned out to be charmed, so people wanted to stroke it in supermarket queues
Fate? Tom still has it and wears it, just for fun
Author’s inspiration? The cover picture shows Tom wearing a cream pullover so I made it part of the story
First appearance? The Kissing Ring

“Probably. When you’ve finished, put the tray outside the door.” She gave him a frank once-over. “That shirt is a disaster. You should wear oatmeal.” She shook her head ever so slightly, and stepped back, raising a hand, and somehow bringing the door closed between them.

Tom met Ryl Skipton when she brought breakfast in the B&B where he and his father stayed during the early stages of designing Peckerdale Grene Tower. Ryl had decided opinions. She was also a fairy, so she didn’t stop at disapproval of his old shirt. She provided a new one. Not that Tom realised it was from her…

Neither could he wear that tee-shirt again. He binned it without a second thought.
Dressed in a soft oatmeal pullover and tidy jeans, he went out to find his father going through a folder of photographs.

Inevitably, he soon encountered Ryl again.

She gave him another appraising once-over. Her expression didn’t change as it passed over the oatmeal pullover. God, did she think he’d put it on for her? Had he? Where did it even come from? He’d probably brought it along because it was clean and folded unworn in his drawer. And it was clean and folded because he hadn’t been wearing it. And he hadn’t been wearing it because he didn’t know he had it and Mish wouldn’t like it anyway…God, had he pinched Si’s laundry? No way. He was at least three sizes bigger than his compact friend.

Tom went on wearing the pullover. It was comfortable, and it fitted. He gradually became aware of some other interesting attributes. His mother, Kay, explained about handwashing for wool, but the pullover never seemed to need it. Spills and smudges dried without a mark. It was never too hot or too cold, so he ended up wearing it more often than not.
People tended to admire it, and Tom wished he could remember where he’d got it, because he’d have got another one.
As his friend Mish said:
“However much did you pay for it? Have you checked the label?”
“No. It’s just a pullover.”
“That’s not just a pullover.”

It wasn’t until much later that he discovered where the pullover had come from.

“It’s the present I gave you. Have you only just worked that out?”
“Afraid so. I’m slow that way…So you gave a pullover to a man you’d seen once and didn’t think much of.”
“It was your horrible shirt I didn’t think much of.”
“You probably shouldn’t have done that. Did you tell your mother?”
“And did she tell you what a bad idea it was to give presents to random men?”

Later still, Ryl’s mother had a few words to say about the pullover and what Ryl had done to it.

“Greet you, Tom. I see you like Ryl’s present.” She rubbed her hand over his shoulder and turned to her daughter. “Ryl, love, whatever did you do to this garment?”
“Just a charm,” Ryl said.
“That’s not just a charm. I’m surprised poor Tom can think straight.” She looked at him with what appeared to be affection. “Would you like me to delouse it?” she asked.
“Ryl, love, I’m asking Tom. He’s the one wearing it.”

Tom gracefully rejected this offer and continued to wear the charmed pullover. As Skye, a friend he’d known since the 1980s told her daughter many years later…

“Ryl’s Tom still wears that cream sweater that gets him propositioned in supermarket queues.”

Tom and his pullover appear in The Kissing Ring and also in Man Overboard.


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, anthologist and reader. You can find you way into her maze of websites and blogs via the portal here.(Sally is me, by the way.)

The goal for 2017 was to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. 2017 is well behind us, but I ran out of year before running out of books. As of June 2018 I STILL hadn't run out of books, but many of those still to come are MIA by which I mean I don't have copies and remember little about them. There are more new books in the pipeline, and I'm certainly showcasing those, but in between times, I'm profiling some of my characters, places and objects. Thank you so much to everyone who's come along on this journey so far!

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