My feet are generally kept in a state approaching comfort by means of a pair of thick socks and a well-placed PostIt note reminding me not to leave my boots in the land rover or porch over night (safety toe-caps seem to retain the cold for an unfeasibly long time given half the chance – they must contain the same stuff that you find in ice packs). I confess I’m still wearing shorts, partly due to the odd bout of housemaid’s knee, but mostly because I just find them easier to move about in. Thus exposed to the elments, you’ll doubtless be delighted to hear that, nonetheless, my knees are coping admirably when called upon to interface with the frosty ground. If I find myself having to kneel for a long period of time on frosted soil, a knee pad or two can be pressed into service. But really, it’s my hands that are of most concern, or at least, finding appropriate protection for them.
I get through gardening gloves at a rate of knots, and it’s not because I’m a cheapskate. In fact, my glove of choice is the Gold Leaf ‘Dry Touch’, which aren’t inexpensive – made of reasonably tough, supple leather, with a light fleecing and moderate waterproofing, they’re the best I’ve found for general work, but I’ll still shred a pair within a fortnight, spending the next couple of weeks with the torn fingers bandaged in duck tape* before I take the plunge and invest in another pair. They’re not the warmest gloves either – you’d want the Gold Leaf ‘Winter Touch’ for that (I wrote a post on these here). These are like luxurious insulated riggers, but you can forget them if you want to do anything requiring even a moderate level of finesse. Frankly, though your hands will be nice and toasty, you might as well wear mittens unless all you intend to use them for is pruning with loppers and picking up sticks with the girth of a rolling pin.
|Look nice when they’re new, don’t they?|
|Not so good after a couple of weeks|
|Even worse close up. This are beyond even duck tape.|
The corollary of all this is that at any one time I’ve got at least two, often three pairs of gloves with me. Perhaps I should toughen up and develop rhino-like, craggy skin on my hands, so thick you couldn't push a crataegus thorn into the palm if you tried. To be honest, though, my hands are already hard enough to get clean after a day’s work, and I don’t relish the thought driving, or dealing with the diary, phone and payments with muddy paws. I find it mystifying that, with all the developments in modern materials, there doesn’t seem to be a single brand of glove on the market that provides an acceptable combination of warmth, protection, waterproofing and dexterity for the gardener, even at the higher price points. Surely it must be out there somewhere? Apparently not. But I intend to keep searching, all the while wrapping metres of duck tape around my constantly-disintingrating hand attire.
|These ‘Reinforced Riggers’ lasted two hours. TWO HOURS! Rubbish.|
If you’ve found the perfect gardening glove, or have had similar frustrations with yours, do let me know in the comments below. Misery loves company!
*I looked it up, if you’re wondering. Apparently, both Duck Tape and Duct Tape are correct. In fact, it appears the former was used before the more specific title was applied. It said so on the interweb, so it must be true.