It’s not often I wear a suit these days. A two-piece is attire that ordinarily only makes a guest appearance if I spend a day at the races, or if royalty are visiting chez Strachan.
As the royalty visit never happens, unless mater and pater calling counts, a twice yearly visit to the Knavesmire racecourse, in York, are the two days annually a suit is dragged kicking and screaming from the recesses of my wardrobe.
Even rarer is for me to don a chauffeurs cap. In fact, I’ve worn that form of headwear the exact same number of times as our East Leeds residence had been graced by royalty.
That being said, I do recollect one occasion a few years back when I came second in a chauffeur fancy dress competition at a local community centre.
I was surprised to get second as I misheard the word ‘chauffeur’ as ‘sofa’ and went dressed in my thick brown leather coat as a Chesterfield settee.
The winner was a guy clad in velvet who came as a chaise longues. What made the achievement of second place even more remarkable was that the third placed guy actually came dressed as a chauffeur!
When dressed as a driver, trailing behind two blokes dressed as sofas in a chauffeur fancy dress competition, the 3rd placed guys self esteem must have taken a blow.
It wasn’t the most well thought out competition, particularly if you like your entertainment seeped in suspense, or indeed just someone who looked like a chauffeur. Unfortunately, that’s the risk you take when you let a scarecrow organise things.
Anyway, I digress, back to why I’m wearing my suit and a chauffeurs outfit today.
The donning of my silver suit, slim black tie and cap is my attempt to ‘look the part’ when running my parents to the train station this morning. Let me be clear and say immediately if I offer to run someone somewhere I ordinarily don’t dress like this.
I made an exception today as it’s my dad’s 80th birthday. My simple act an attempt at giving my driving role a light hearted twist…. Admittedly, not the funniest thing in the world, but hey I made the effort.
Where to M’lord?
My dad is a true gent. Undemonstrative, caring and provider of family stability, he is happiest watching his beloved Yorkshire County Cricket Club or Leeds Rhinos rugby team play.
Additionally, his day is enhanced by the company of his family, and maybe a glass of red with an accompaniment of Sinatra, Torme, Bennett or Newley….. Actually coming to think of it the family company bit is probably optional. Particularly with my mum’s unrelenting chatter undoing the ambience of calm bestowed to him by tunes from the Great American Songbook.
I could never repay the huge debt I owe him for everything he has done for me throughout my childhood and adult life…… Not that he’d want me to…… Which is a relief because I’d be knackered if I had to give him this kidney back!
He has had a predominantly good 55 years marriage to my mum and they still exhibit thoughtful acts and loving words. Even now my mum takes time every day to whisper those four special words to him …… “Malcolm, you’re flies open!”
On this special day, I’d like to wish him a great birthday and genuine thanks for what he has done for me in my 50+ years on this mortal coil.
It just remains for me to say happy 80th dad! May all your dreams come true, apart the one you have about Elsie from the bowls club, which I don’t think mum would approve of!
Elsie’s house and don’t tell your mum!