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Suits union, sir

Meanwhile, de Gruchy seems to be going from strength to strength. Last week, we travelled with him to Thailand for an international union conference and shared his disappointment on finding that a red carpet welcoming committee wasn't for him but for the Crown Prince's poodle. This week he rings in a decidedly more chirpy mood.

It all started when Nigel went hunting for a tailor-made suit in Jomtien, the conference town. "We managed to beat Mr Rani, the shopowner, down to about pound;80 for a nice blue suit. But then he said he would give me it free if I could recruit five more customers. I recruited about 40," Mr de Gruchy reports triumphantly. "You've heard of Armani. But next year everybody who is anybody in the unions will be wearing a Rani."

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