“The nanny must have taken them.”
“Don’t be ridiculous – why on earth would the nanny take them?”
“It’s the only explanation.”
“I really don’t think the nanny wants your pants, darling. They’re not her size, for a start.” Pants or no pants, we’re running late now. “Can’t you go commando?”
“In a hired suit?” My husband looks as though he’s about to vomit at the prospect. “Absolutely not. We’ll have to buy some en route.”
We drive down to beautiful Wiltshire and follow directions to the small market town where our best friends are getting married. Parking the car, we head into the bar to greet everyone. I announce our luggage shortcomings to the groom, his ushers, several guests and a man called Eric who is sitting at the bar. There is much hilarity, throughout which my husband remains strangely silent. He and I subsequently have an animated and somewhat one-way discussion about the level of detail appropriate for sharing with acquaintances.
The town is beautiful. It has a market square lined with tea stops and gift shops, a town hall clock chiming the hour and a smattering of boutique outlets selling hand-woven tea towels. There are no pants. Half an hour later we stand in the high street, surveying the town’s only two options. Mystique: Lingerie for the Larger Lady, or the Blue Cross charity shop.
“I am not wearing second hand pants.”
“They’ll have been washed.”
“Then it’s Mystique’s finest satin, my darling.” I suppress a snort. I am not enjoying this, I promise…
“There!” He points to a previously missed shop at the end of the road and strides off purposefully. I trot after him and see a tiny store with flaking gold letters on the glass door. ‘Men’s outfitters.’ By the time I push open the door, my husband is already deep in conversation with a bespectacled white-haired gentleman in a three piece suit.
“…and then in 1968 we expanded to offer golfing attire, you see.”
“And the pants?” my husband interjects, anxious to bring the old gent back to the matter in hand.
“Ah yes, pants. I’m afraid we no longer see a market for them. It’s all designer brands nowadays unfortunately. Although I do believe I saw a pair in the stock room the other day. Hold on just a moment…”
We wait in the dusty shop with baited breath and a tailor’s dummy sporting a tasteful tweed jacket and a yellow cravat. My husband has the anxious look of an expectant father, pacing the hospital wards awaiting a birth announcement.
“I’ve found them.” The old man is delighted with himself. He blows the cobwebs from a plastic-wrapped pair of Y-fronts, last seen circa 1978. “I’m afraid I’ve just got the one size.”
“Darling, won’t they be a little… er… snug?” Conscious of this new rule around the sharing of personal information, I don’t like to go into further detail in front of Wiltshire’s finest men’s outfitter.
“They’ll be fine – I’ll take them.” My husband is grimly relieved.
With minutes to spare we make it back to the hotel and suit up for the wedding. And if anyone noticed that the best man’s speech was delivered falsetto, they were too polite to mention it.