It can be hard to decide how to dress for a dress-down, informal bonding session with colleagues, as ours gamely proved.

To: Don Wise, chief executive

From: Paul Servant, assistant chief executive

Re: Fancy dress

Dear Don,

I can say, without a trace of irony, that we were left speechless by your outfit at the executive team awayday at Mireside Manor and Game Park. If we had realised in advance that the team-building exercise would involve a fox hunt, then your pristine jodhpurs and huntsman boots (spurs included) would have made sense.

It can be hard to decide how to dress for a dress-down, informal bonding session with colleagues, as ours gamely proved. It never ceases to amaze me how the director of nursing, quality, miscellany and remnants’ wardrobe offers no opportunity for charisma or personality to intervene. Out comes the shocking pink suit, emerald broach, faux Chanel bag and enough biochemical facial produce that were it to leak from her handbag we would be facing an ecological disaster on a par with Exxon Valdez. It’s a style alright, but not one you could place anywhere but in an NHS boardroom.

The director of estates on the other hand obviously likes to dress the part. Out comes his Bob the Builder costume. The huge Caterpillar boots, evidently totally untarnished by any building site, Clarksonesque stonewash jeans and lumberjack shirt, with Ray-Bans perched on his glistening, expansive forehead. A total contrast to the finance director who is concerned that dressing down might be grounds for professional misconduct charges.

The director of workforce, HR, people and cuddles is a canny bugger who hides in his parked car and spies everyone else’s attire before deciding whether to change out of his golf club blazer into a leather jacket or cardigan he’s got in the boot just in case.

I, of course, am my usual mess, looking like I dressed in the dark, with clothes chosen by wife, slept on by the cat, used for fancy dress by the kids and which my mother has sewn name tags in to.