WE SPENT last night in great distress looking for Sarah's watch - a deeply fashionable item in chic black plastic with matching strap. After an hour of tears - and 10 minutes of Tom being roundly accused of theft - the watch turned out to have been in Sarah's school bag all the time, another rather chic black plastic number.
And herein lies a major problem of the late 20th century. As I look around me, on my black ash-effect desk, I can (just about) see black pens, black laptop, black mobile phone, stapler, stationery kit, toilet bag, wallet and briefcase. When I go anywhere these days, I basically shovel every black item I can see into my matching black luggage and hope like hell that when I get there I can find things.
Staying in a hotel, I have to leave my mobile switched on, as the only way I can track it down in all the Stygian gloom is to dial myself from the bedside phone and then work out which of the uniformly black objects in my bag is ringing.
It was Henry Ford who once claimed that you could buy his cars in any colour as long as it was black. In those days, real colour was expensive. Photos were hand-tinted and clothing remained monotonously monochrome right up until the moment Judy Garland stepped out on to the Yellow Brick Road. Now, however, we have a real choice. So why do we invariably choose black?
Black is said to go with anything and it certainly does. The problem is getting it back once it's gone. My friend Wild Rosemary, head of Romanian at our local comp, has put Day-glo orange stickers on all her black impedimenta, so she can find things in her handbag, but it would never occur to her to buy things which are not fashionably black in the first place.
Rose also dresses from head to foot in black because it's said to be slimming. Which is why black has become universally recognised as the uniform of women who believe they're overweight.
There was a time when black was only worn by evil people such as Captain Scarlet's adversary, Lee Van Cleef and BBC script editors. Headteachers can help, however. Adopt black as school uniform and you will instantly rob it of all cachet of an entire generation. Do it today, please!