I Have A Dream…but you’re not in it.

We saw this, the Fakest of All Fake Abba Tribute Bands, in the centre of Reading on Saturday, while on the hunt for a nice man-coat for Tim. The ladies were dressed in large satin tablecloths and nothing else; the men were in scoop-neck sequined vest-tops. They were advertising the opening of a new Swedish shop, apparently (not IKEA. IS there another kind of Swedish shop?). They were embarrassed; we were embarrassed; even the pigeons taking opportune divebombs into the crowd were embarrassed. You could tell by the way they looked at you, a cheerless and sympathetic resignation in their rheumy eyes, before they nicked the last bit of your Cornish pasty.

I only hope this new retail establishment sells meatballs and chips at ludicrously trivial prices.

Finding man-coats is difficult. They cost so much that you need them to be perfect in every respect before you hand over the large wad of (birthday) money. Luckily, after visiting every clothing store in Reading, we found just such a one in Zara, of all places: sleek, fitted and square-shouldered. No silly collar. Buttoned, but not double-breasted. Hard-wearing but not scratchy. O, the sartorial hurdles we leapt through before finding this beautiful garment.

Tim has spent the hours since counting the ways in which he loves the coat and hoping fervently for cold. British November is kind, and obliges.

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