National WHAT?

>> Wednesday, 21 October 2009

I'm in a quandry. November 4th is United Nations Day, and Boy #1's school is putting on a show for parents, who are 'kindly requested' to attend. For 'kindly requested', read; 'you will be the worst parent in the world if you can't make it and your card will be marked not only at the school gate but in the class room at parent's evening as well if we don't see you there bright and early on the relevant day. But no pressure, of course...'

Obviously I would want to go in any case; Boy #1 has been practising renditions of 'The Hello Song' - no, I hadn't heard of it before, either - and 'We are the World' at the dinner table. Even without a tune, it's powerful stuff, I can tell you, and I will be stockpiling emergency tissues to stem the 'emotional mummy tide' well in advance of the great day. They've been practising hard, he tells me, and I can see that; so hard, in fact, that his throat was "really hurting, mummy" (assumes sad, tired voice), "and I really don't think I should go to judo today because the rough and tumble at the end won't do me any good at all..."(tails off into complete pathetic-ness).

Now, the quandry is not whether he should or should not have gone to judo. He didn't go, as it happens; his glands were swollen and I need him well tomorrow, so I decided to make like a panda and give in on this matter like a proper mummy for a change. That is, as opposed to the seargent major persona I normally adopt when a male member of my family is ill (it doesn't do to encourage them, what with their being the weaker sex and all).

No, the quandry is related to this part of the letter informing us of the United Nations Day Celebrations:

'Children should come to school in their National Costume...'

This is all very well if you have a national costume. In fact, it's all very well for probably the other 51 of the 52 nationalities attending Boy #1's school. But can someone tell me what the English national costume actually is?

I've been going through the options and they're not great...

Football / rugby kit in England strip. Not great, lacking in imagination, maybe slightly (whisper it) chavvy, but on the plus side easily obtainable.

Bowler hat and suit. No, don't laugh, looking at it from a non-Brit's perspective that seems to be what many people think is actually worn to work in the city of London. Thankfully however we posess neither a suit nor a bowler hat for Boy #1. Thankfully, in fact, we don't posess a bowler hat for any of us...

Morris dancing outfit. (Rationale for suggesting this is as above). And no, no, no and no. Aside from anything else, our stock of white handkerchiefs wouldn't stand up to scrutiny. Plus, white jeans in late Autumn? Darling, I think not.

Cricket whites. Could be onto something here - if it weren't in NOVEMBER. And no matter how Oxbridge he might look, I refuse to outfit my son in whites for a one-off event when we're off to the land and snow and ice, where cricket is about as common as marmite, in a few weeks time.

So please, help me out here. Anybody got any ideas that don't include any of the above or the final option; what seems to be the standard 'Brit abroad' uniform of crocs, an umbro t-shirt and a pair of three-quarter length jeans?


Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy 21 October 2009 at 22:54  

Anything from Boden. Don't know what it is, but you can spot it a mile off and marks you out as British instantly.

twolittleducks 21 October 2009 at 23:08  

I would go with the Football/Rugby strip. Everyone will get it and you will probably find everyone else will do the same. Also, I'm sure everyone will realise you are being "ironic"!

sharon 22 October 2009 at 02:32  

Maybe a mini suit of armour (silver painted cardboard boxes which can then be recycled for the PACKING, or not. . .) as in St George and the Dragon? Mind you, I bet his school uniform is very British! Or could he be wholly Dutch for the day? The might make costume selection easier.

Domestic Goddesque 22 October 2009 at 08:27  

YOu mean you can't adopt the National Costume of Russia to get into the swing of things.....

LMAO at Brit in Bosnia: anything from Boden!!

The Green Stone Woman 22 October 2009 at 08:34  

The boy is half Dutch, isn't he?

Potty Mummy 22 October 2009 at 08:54  

Brit, unfortunately that doesn't fill Boy #1's criteria, blast it...

TLD, thanks for commenting, and you're probably right - I have a feeling that will be it.

Sharon, see my comment below to Irene re the Dutch thing, and I have suggested the armour but to no avail (no dragon, you see...)

DG, it's a thought - although I'm not sure I want him to start thinking of it as his home country before we've even got there.

Irene, well yes - by birth. But since his father has never got round to even sorting out his passport (and I'm not allowed to), that's a moot point. Plus, would you condemn a child who's never worn to them having to wear clogs for a day?

Single Parent Dad 22 October 2009 at 09:38  

He should go in full racing overalls, we've been F1 world champions for two years running now, that has to be a pastime.

Tricky, how about in royal dress?

London City Mum 22 October 2009 at 10:22  

Last year Mr Man went as a 'Welsh rugby player' (easy, plus didn't matter if he got filthy as authenticated the costume further), whereas Blossom was improvised Aussie lifeguard... complete with stripey tights under her swimmers (for warmth), Bondi beach nippers (mini lifeguards to you and me) t-shirt and floppy hat with corks (never seen these worn on beach in Oz, but hey, let's stereotype ok?).

That's what you get when work comes between you and exploratory mission to authentic costume providers.

I am proud to say though that it took all of 20 mins to assemble.


Sweet Camden Lass 22 October 2009 at 10:49  

Not all morris dancers wear white trousers - Hammersmith Morris don't.

The easiest is a Molly Dancer. Different teams have different ways of dressing, from traditional ploughboys to brightly coloured mismatched clothes. He might like the having his face painted bit....

nuttycow 22 October 2009 at 13:53  

A rugby shirt - chavvy?

I hope not - it's my staple uniform on the weekends!

Kate Morris 22 October 2009 at 15:03  

What about a country squire look? Checked shirt, braces, plus fours and lace up shoes with a flat peaked hat - a typical hutin shootin fishin kind of guy.

Expat mum 22 October 2009 at 15:12  

You could always get your two national flags and drape it like a toga! (I was going to suggest getting the sewing machine out but that might have put you over the edge!)

Grit 22 October 2009 at 16:56  

colonial 1940s, safari suit? or country squire and tweed? (shotgun and dead deer or game slung over one shoulder required for the latter look.) howabout carnaby street 1960s? or the liam gallagher look?

the more i think about it, the more i realise we don't have any national dress, we just have a running stream of joke clothes.

Iota 22 October 2009 at 17:02  

Beefeater? Guardsman?

Potty Mummy 22 October 2009 at 21:11  

SPD, a crown and ermine, I like it. We do live in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, after all...

LCM, I am in awe of your improvisational skills!

SCL, thanks, I'm just not sure if husband - even being Dutch - would go for the molly dancer thing. 'No son of mine' and all that...

NC, (whisper) actually, I was talking about the football shirt...

KM, the scary thing is that we actually posess around 60% of the costume already. Hmm. Time to update his look? But thankyou!

EPM, actually, that's a great idea! I will be googling 'national flags' very shortly.

Grit, you put your finger right on it. How did it happen that we have no national dress? Everyone else seems to. Except the Belgians, perhaps...

Iota, it may yet come to that. Or I could find some old sheets and he could go as a druid.

Pig in the Kitchen 23 October 2009 at 18:21  

i know it's probably been and gone, but - durr - something made out of a union flag tea towel. worked for the Spice Girls.

when do you go by the way?? To Russkia I mean.

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