Last week, we bid goodbye to St. Andrews, where Spark joined a former colleague and friend for two rounds on the links. The guys needed protection from the elements, playing golf in typical Scottish weather, pouring rain one day, fog and wind the next.

I stayed inside when it was pelting down and shopped later for rain gear because our last stay would be in England’s Lake District, notoriously glum, but gorgeous scenery. I thought I was prepared for the weather there, but on our flight to the U.K., as Spark and I went over things we might have forgotten, it hit me. The rain shell I bought in Scotland two years ago was in our coat closet.

The top-of-the-line jacket, with high marks for keeping you dry, yet being breathable, cost me a pretty pound — a fat lot of good it was going to do me now.

Seek and Find

So began the search for another. Spark did a brief retail recap that I really didn’t ask for as we returned my most recent purchase to Rohan in St. Andrews, a branch of the shop where I bought the black jacket I’d left behind. I walked into the store carrying a red one almost like it that I got when we arrived in England, at a Rohan in Knutsford.

I had bitten the bullet and shelled out the money to buy a duplicate jacket, yet regretted the purchase. What was I going to do with a jacket like the one I already had? A monsoon would have to hit, or I’d have to live to be 100 to get enough use out of it to warrant the cost.

In Knutsford, I first bought a stylish yellow jacket with a gray lining. Truth be told, I tried it out for a brief uphill walk in the sunshine and sweated my patootie off. Cute it was, breathable it was not. With the tags still on, I returned it and bought the red expensive jacket like my old black one.

The red one made the trip north, tags intact, and went with us to Rohan in St. Andrews. In Scotland, you have to have the actual sales slip to return things —at least that’s what the clerk needed.

“This might be a problem,” I said to him, but Spark said he’d go back to the car and search — a chore because the Nissan was packed to the hilt since we’d already checked out of our rental. Somehow my miracle man, patient and organized to boot, found the receipt in the bundle he’d collected, as we continue to robustly support U.K.’s economy.

No Hill for a Stepper

Receipt in hand, we returned again to Rohan, where the St. Andrews sales clerk welcomed us like we were old friends. I tried on the red jacket again, just to make sure I didn’t want it, and the yellow one with the gray lining I’d originally bought. I nearly settled for the yellow because it was cute, and half the price of the red one, a point another store clerk made, a young man who had just returned from the Lakes where he said, “It rains all of the time.”

Leave it up to Spark to offer an alternative. Walking around the shop, he spotted a teal-blue jacket. “Just try it,” he said. I liked it and a sale was made, yet it still bothered me that I spent so much on a jacket I wouldn’t need when I got home.

My problem was finally resolved on the way to the Lakes when we stopped to sightsee in Kelso, where there are several charity shops. I hit the jackpot in the first — found a three-quarter-length red “supposedly” waterproof red jacket for 8 pounds, around 10 bucks. The jury is still out on if the jacket is really waterproof. But it was cheap, which added to its allure.

Now it’s on to the Lakes and the next Rohan store to return the teal jacket, which is neatly folded in my suitcase, tags intact and receipt in the pocket. If you’re in the market for outdoor clothes, Rohan is now available to American consumers too,

Spark’s none too happy about that.