It is, we learn, a full-length black, woollen number with white satin lining, brass buttons and a little chain across the front and, like his silver-topped cane bought after falling from a gondola, was the fortuitousby-product of misfortune.
Dot tells us he suffered not one but two frozen shoulders shifting a set of tea chests while imagining he was 30 years younger. "I couldn't get my overcoat on at all," he says. "It was the perfect excuse to fulfill a lifetime's ambition to own a cloak."
He adds: "I certainly don't wear it to visit schools," (Bob is fighting the imminent destruction of selective education) "but it has kept me warm right through the winter."