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."
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.