Today was Book Week parade at school. Come dressed as your favourite book character. Simple enough. But, NO. Lady R was adamant she would go as "the ninja from Kick Ass". (What! What! How has a 7-year-old ever heard of, let alone seen, an episode of that ridiculous piece of excrement? And why can't the Americans spell arse?) No amount of banter would convince her that this character featured nowhere in any written, literary, erudite text. At a stretch I decided that she could be a Tashi Ninja. No good, it seemed.
Meanwhile, The Young Man would be going as Ron Weasley. Far too many Harry Potters were forecast, so this would be the surreptitious outside chance. Many tears were shed, many infant gauntlets thrown down, and in the end no-one was entirely happy. Especially when Lady R saw the Young Man's costume - cape, complete with hood and Gryffindor logo, cloak clasp and wand (the only moment of lightness coming when we discovered on the packaging that the French translation for wand is baguette - much hilarity).
So goes the preamble for today's extravaganza that included Chess Club, multiple wardrobe changes, lurking outside toy shop windows for doors to open and delivery of NEW costumes to the youth all before 9.15am. However, all this seemed in vain when we spotted the calibre of costume cruising past us as we walked through the school gates. Mad Hatters, Frodos, Chewbaccas, Alices...they were all there. Not in store-bought rubbish like ours. No. Parents had quite obviously spent precious time at sewing machines, late into the night, to produce such high-quality garb. No expense had been spared, no corner cut. Our hearts sank. The Young Man waved his wand half-heartedly, hoping to knobble some of the competition, but without success.
Yes, the lunch time parade was fabulous. No, the youth didn't bring home the prize-winning bacon.
But the valuable lesson learnt from today is one in the eye for all those over-achieving haberdashers: waste your money and you're only out of money, but waste your time and you've lost a part of your life. Touche.