The point had come when character had changed to dilapidation. I am talking about the family Barbour collection. Son has out grown his youth Beaufort, and is moving into the old Border. Daughter, finding the Border a bit restricting, is challenging her mother for the Northumbria. However, the Northumbria needed a sauna and reproofing; and the Border had some issues. So, I send them down to New Hampshire.
I asked the good people at Barbour to reproof the Northumbria, which they agreed to do. I also asked them to patch a tear in the sleeve on the Border and reproof the jacket. This, they queried. I received a call from them which pointed out some other ailments which required attention. The chap on the phone pointed out that reproofing a jacket with holes in it does not make it waterproof. One has to admit that there is a certain validity to what he said. So, two more patches went on the work order, even though the price seemed a bit steep for a wee bit of sowing.
The Northumbria arrived home first. While clean and waxed, it still had character about it. The thing I had forgotten was how heavy and stiff a fully loaded Barbour jacket is on a chilly morning; but all was well as we warmed up together. I can still wear it if the layers beneath are minimal. But, now that it is November, Wife and Daughter can have it.
The Border, which is of the 1986 vintage, came back a few weeks later. It had taken to being reproofed better that the newer but heavier Northumbria. It looked really good. I examined the patches and found where the money went. Seams had been opened. Rather than work round a stud, it had been replaced. All was sown together and well finished. This was radical surgery: no sticking plaster job, this.
Both jackets came home in their own slips. They had old fashioned manila card labels with my name and the work order number on them attached to the hanging loop. The whole experience was marked out by the understate style and exceptional execution which is J. Barbour & Sons at their best. I bought one of those jackets nearly thirty years ago and even now got delightful customer service. I have taken cars back to dealerships for repairs long before then and have been thought of as something less than a valued customer. Mind you, my motor vehicles aren’t in the same league as my jackets.