In the early 60s, that decade upon which politicians now blame all ills, I had just had a hearty luncheon at the CafÃ© Royal, the cost of which was 10 shillings, including half a bottle of Claret and a generous tip. Strolling along Regent Street afterwards, I saw a gents' outfitters with the sign "Any three ties for one guinea" in the window. I came away with a red-and-dark-blue striped tie, one with silver-and-light-blue stripes, and a third had a green-and-mauve stripe. The following week I was on a business trip to New York, wearing a clerical grey worsted suit, bowler hat and the red-and-dark-blue striped tie. At the BOAC check-in at Heathrow, a gentleman with a similar tie to mine asked me where I was commissioned in the Honourable Artillery Company. I made the excuse of rushing to an aeroplane and left him twiddling his moustache. The tie went to a Manhattan taxicab driver. Some months later I was in a country pub, wearing the silver tie with my Harris Tweed suit. A rather smart grey-haired gentleman tapped me on the shoulder and said: "You are far too young to be wearing that tie." It turned out that the tie belonged to the Royal Flying Corps and is only worn by pilots who flew in the 1914-1918 war. I gave him the tie and apologised. Not wanting to cause further outrage with the third tie, I entered a military retailers in Leeds, I asked the assistant if he could identify it. "Sir will not want to wear this tie," was his reply, "as it belongs to the famous girls' school, Rodean." Since then, it has been polka dots or nothing.
post #1 of 10
5/23/05 at 12:34pm