Mrs. Betty Slocombe has worked at Grace Brother’s Department Store for many years, and over those years many co-workers have come and gone, but one of the people who always stayed the same is Captain Stephen Peacock. He is the floor manager for the men’s and women’s clothing department. She’s loved him from the minute she set eyes on him.
Captain Peacock is strong and tall, but the characteristic that Betty likes best is his gallantry and chivalry. They are of the same era, both are around the age of twenty when World War II started and therefore have very vivid memories of the bombing of London, and they share an intense dislike of German people.
Mrs. Slocombe hates going to work at Grace Brother’s, but there is always one thing that keeps her going back, Captain Peacock. She sighs as she thinks of the man who holds her heart, though he doesn’t reciprocate, so she thinks. All these thoughts run through her head as she is dressing for work. Her cat is curled at her feet under the stool of her vanity.
Meanwhile, at Captain Peacock’s house, he has just kissed his wife good-bye, and jumped into his car. As usual his mind is wandering, this morning; however, his wanderings find a new target: Mrs. Slocombe. He has never thought of her as particularly attractive, but the more he thinks of her the more he discovers that she possesses all the qualities he has been looking for all along in a woman, and she certainly possesses all the qualities of a woman that his wife doesn’t. Captain Peacock suspects his wife is about to leave him, which is why he thinks the Grace Brother’s vacation to the Costa Plonka is coming at a perfect time. It will give his wife a chance to leave without him pleading for her to stay, and he won’t have to lose his pride.
Mrs. Slocombe and Captain Peacock arrive at the department store at the same time and ride up in the lift together, and if either had known what the other was thinking they would have been elated. They are both thinking about how wonderful it will be to be on vacation together for two weeks. Mrs. Slocombe, in her own devious way, is thinking how wonderful it will be to lay on the beach in the middle of the night with Stephen, and Stephen is thinking about how soundproof the walls of the rooms are, because, of course, he is thinking of something entirely different. Men, eh?
The reason that all the employees at Grace Brother’s are going on vacation at the same time is because the store is closed for refurbishing. Grace Brother’s has just had a sale to get rid of all the merchandise they possibly could and it went quite well. Now all the sale paraphernalia has to come down and as usual the senior members of staff: Mrs. Slocombe, Mr. Granger, Mr. Humphries and Captain Peacock are not involved in any of this, only the juniors: Miss Brahms, and Mr. Lucas, are actually working. Mrs. Slocombe and Mr. Granger refuse to get up on ladders any more to retrieve things, and besides they’ve done their bit as juniors, and Captain Peacock is a floor manager, not a salesman, so he says, although his selling skills are still in fine form.