Time and time again George told his parents that he was fed up waving at strangers. He didn’t see how he could make is point any clearer: everyone knew children shouldn’t talk to strangers so he didn’t see why he should wave and smile at them. He’d also asked why they had so many security people and explained quite patiently, that if he didn’t go with them, some of them wouldn’t be needed. But it was no use. He had to do as he was told. Apparently there was a lot more of this kind of stuff to do when he got older. His mum even told him that he was really good at the waving and smiling. People loved it. They loved it so much that his picture was all over the papers the day after he did it. The worst time was when they made him wear the awful grey coat with the frill. A frill! And long socks. He really wished he could wear something from Next or Debenhams, somewhere like that, just like his friends at prep school. Even his friend , Tristram Barron Coleridge wore clothes from Next, so George didn’t see why he couldn’t either. What he really wanted was a pair of long trousers. It would make him a bit more like other boys.
He’d realized that his family was going to be visiting somewhere, like a ‘Cafedral’ or a nursery or an army thing, when he saw the secretary go into his dad’s office to speak to his parents. It was always the same; once they’d finished, someone called a designer would turn up with piles of clothes for him to try on. Once she’d made a mistake and given him a pair of shorts with a label on them. It said something like ‘Mothercare’. They were his favourite pair, but he wasn’t allowed to wear them because of the label. Another thing, a jumper this time, was quite good, but again because it said something about China on it, he couldn’t wear it. He’d tried hard that time, had a bit of a tantrum on the floor, kicking, yelling, stamping but it was no use. He got quite tired and his dad looked at him angrily so he knew the game was up.
The morning began as usual, with George waiting in the main hall of Great Granny’s palace; he was wearing a navy coat this time. It had a kind of dark scratchy frill around the collar, but he wasn’t allowed to touch it or his neck which was getting hotter and hotter. His nanny kept flicking his hand away and talking in that strange way. Underneath he was wearing navy shorts and a white jumper, and sandals. Sandals! He hated them, and they made his white socks stand out. He jumped around for a bit, then his mum and dad arrived with their security men. George wondered who he had today. Oh good it was Alfred. He was quite young, with a nice smile, but he really held on tight to George when they moved around. With Alfred, George climbed into the car behind his parents and they sped off to the Cafedral. As usual, when they arrived, there was a big red carpet going right across the ground, up the stairs and inside. Alfred walked beside George, encouraging him to take his time because his parents had to be first. George had thought, if he hurried, it would be over quicker and they could all go home and get some peace. But no, as usual they all moved as slowly as possible, shaking hands, smiling, whilst he, George walked behind, trying not to look at the cameras too much because before, he’d got really sore eyes and saw stars for hours afterwards. Some men and women, some of them with ladders, shouted his name, but George remembered what he had to do; smile, wave, then look straight ahead and ignore them all. His dad took his hand for a bit and he felt better, standing between him and Alfred. George couldn’t help but think he had been right all along; it was more fuss when he was there. He’d told them, but they just didn’t listen. And cafedrals were so boring.
Eventually they got into the Cafedral, walking slowly down a bright blue carpet this time, and took their seats. Apparently his Great Granny was going to sit in front of them, so they had to wait. She turned up eventually, and, as usual they had to stand until she walked to her seat and sat down. George was at the end of his row, near the wall, but he could just see her hat. It was green, with a funny feather. Alfred was behind him and his mum was beside him. George was feeling a bit tired, but he perked up when his dad got up to say something. He knew this could take a while so he let his eyes wander around. He studied Great Granny’s hat again, then he noticed something. On the wall beside him there was a button. It was green, the same as Great Granny’s hat, on the outside, white in the middle and it had a silver button, standing out against the grey stone of the Cafedral. It had some words he couldn’t read yet. He’d seen these things before, but they usually had glass in them. This one didn’t. George kept looking at it, desperate to press the button, just to see what would happen. Maybe it was a magic button. Maybe if he wished hard enough, then pressed it, he would be magicked out of the Cafedral, back to the palace in time for tea. Everyone stood up to sing a song. George stood up too, and noticed that he would be able to press the button quite easily, without even standing on his tiptoes. So he did. He pressed it, just as he heard Alfred cry out and his mum turn around.
It was the noise that made him cry. It was louder than a police car or an ambulance. He was holding his ears when Alfred picked him up and ran with him, out of the Cafedral. All he could see was blue then red carpet whizzing by. He tried to look behind but he couldn’t see his parents or his Great Granny, because of all the men in suits surrounding them. Once he was in the car he felt better. His parents were bundled in too and they were back at the palace in no time. The driver must’ve thought he was driving a sports car. His Great Granny appeared a little bit later, and she was wheeled in and went straight into the lift which led to her bedroom. He’d never seen her in a wheel chair before. Maybe she was out of breath with all that running. Soon they were in his dad’s office; Alfred’s face was white and he wasn’t smiling. Maybe he thought he was in trouble. Then George noticed something. His mum and dad were looking out of the windows, laughing, but it was as if they didn’t want anyone to know what they were doing. He tried to talk to them and then it seemed like his mum was crying. She had tears running down her face but her shoulders were jumping up and down as she tried to breath. His dad was bent down, his hand over his mouth as if it was rude to be laughing. George started to laugh too. Alfred tried to smile and George smiled back. Maybe the visit hadn’t been so bad. After all, George had got his wish. He’d pressed the button and here he was. He decided that he’d try that again. It seemed to make everyone really happy. If only it was as easy to get long trousers.