Don't you just hate fancy dress?
I was sweating badly, but the couple in front of me in the queue were in even worse trouble. "Well", he said, "well, the thing is: the theme is England".
"Oooh, that's hard", said the owner of the shop, who is -- hmmm, let us say theatrical, "England! Nothing more precise than that?"
"No", said she, miserably.
"and absolutely no ideas of your own at all?"
A little ball of tumbleweed blew in from the street, and somewhere in the distance an urban fox howled.
"Oooh", again, "that is hard. Well, the only thing I can suggest is that you look at our website for ideas, and then come back to me, otherwise..... ooh England. That is hard! Well, of course, I could do you Saint George - you know with the red cross and everything....or of course a Beefeater, they're English aren't they? And we've always got cricket players.... or Sherlock Holmes,
or Shakespeare, or Robin Hood, or Oliver Cromwell, or a Morris Dancer. But really I just don't know! England! That IS hard! Well, as I say, have a look at the website, and come back to me!"
The changing room curtain opened and out came an inoffensive looking accountant dressed from head to toe in bright, offensive, pink. He looked around for support, but the staff completely ignored him. It was the pinkest imaginable invisibility cloak. "Star Trek?" I ventured. "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", he confided. "Oh", I said, "Well, excellent"
The reluctant English couple headed for the changing rooms, struggling under the weight of their chain mail, and at last it was my turn.
"Cowboy hat please"
"Ah, a Western outfit?", well we have some marvellous costumes that you'll just love...."
"Just a hat, please"
"But.....", he said, "But....."
To be fair, the party was excellent. There was a quick draw machine, pork and beans, a bucking bronco, an Abba tribute band and an unusual fruit bowl. I sat on my hat.
It's always sunny, in a rich man's world.