Peter Bromhead: A free suit for when I croak

Cartoon / Peter Bromhead
Cartoon / Peter Bromhead

Although I've spent decades devoted to journalism, I've never landed any of the perks that occasionally fall into the hands of my fellow hacks.

Such as free trips to review rubbish-recycling plants in Britain, or the use of a luxury car in exchange for a few jottings praising the vehicle.

So I was surprised to receive correspondence recently from a firm of gentlemen tailors offering me a free suit, following a column I'd written about the state of tailoring in this country, which caustically suggested jackets had become so shrunken in their tight-button style that they resembled the stage attire of the late vaudeville and film comic Sir Norman Wisdom.

After some hesitation, I accepted the tailor's generosity following my caregiver's suggestion that I "needed something decent to be buried in".

The Crane Brothers tailoring establishment in Auckland's High St is similar to the quaint establishments found around the Jermyn St area in London.

Antique wooden cabinets full of bow ties and cufflinks and pinstriped bolts of cloth discreetly suggest this is where the city's legal brigade have their podsnap finery stitched together.

Turning up to be measured in a T-shirt, frayed jeans and a pair of rainbow-coloured Nike running shoes made it clear to the helpful bespoke under-strappers that they were dealing with a proper toff and not some jumped-up merchant banker obsessed with making sure the crotch of his new trousers suitably displayed their priapic contents.

After undergoing the various stages of the fitting process, I was kitted out in a two-piece suit, complete with a button fly and ticket pocket, altogether nicely tailored, meaning I'll now meet the caregiver's dress code requirements when I finally croak.

Pleased with the transaction, I decided to treat myself to a bottle from the establishment's fine range of gentleman's aftershave lotions imported from England.

The concoction turned out to be so hideously expensive that I was forced to hide it from the caregiver's eyes, fearing questions about needless expense.

I slipped my extravagance unopened on to a bathroom shelf and quietly forgot about the purchase for a few days, until next opening the cabinet - when I knocked the aftershave to the floor, smashing the bottle and discharging the contents into the open toilet pan.

Returning from a function that evening, I noticed the caregiver rolling her eyes heavenwards - clearly seeking spiritual strength as our baby-sitter enthusiastically murmured on the way out, "Love your toilet air-freshener."

- NZ Herald

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