I am quite partial to a bike ride. There is no feeling like it, when you’ve managed to crack that hill, with your legs smarting, as you feel the cool Hertfordshire breeze running through your bald patch. I often ride up the back of the Colditz Arsenal training ground along to their neighbours, Watford, to take a short break as I watch the squad training. I have been undertaking this ritual for a few years, but lately this rest stop has been tainted by jobsworths. Watford have now taken to employing a security guard on the public footpath that runs along the back of the complex.

Only last week I rode up and heard some jocular noise coming from the training ground. I sat on the footpath to have a swig of the water bottle and watch the squad, from a distance, practice penalty kicks. Within a few short seconds a fluorescent-jacketed security guard came bowling over and demanded I move. I asked why? He responded that the land I was on was ‘private property’. I then schooled him as to the ownership of the land and informed him that I was standing on a path that was a public right of way. He then attempted plan B by stating ‘they don’t like being watched’. ‘Who doesn’t?’ I enquired, ‘the team’ he responded. ‘What the hell are they going to do next week when they are at home in from of 22,000 people then?’ This continued until he cracked me by admitting he had recently commenced employ and that his boss was watching him. I graciously bid him farewell as I have no desire for him to lose his income over my folly.

As I pedalled off, I wondered if it was the hi-vis that turns a normally mild-mannered, perfectly amiable man into a mean, lean security machine? Blinkered to argument, embracing obstinacy with their sole objective being to fight for the corporate cause, in which any outsider is viewed with contempt. I have seen fire marshals in workplaces turn from beautiful people into safety experts, immune to discussion, once the hi-vis gets an airing. It’s as if the luminous material has supernatural powers to alter personalities and alter the very fibre of a being.

Airport workers are just as over officious. Although wearing Sports Direct finery, they morph, once in the comfort blanket of a hi-vis, into bossy, controlling individuals whose word is final. After work, they then, for some unknown reason, place the jackets over the back of the driver’s seat to signify their importance to the passing layman.

Sad to say, us Brits are at the start of the hi-vis learning curve whereas the French have taken the concept into the premier league. In November 2018, the ‘yellow vests’ movement was born in protest at Macron's fuel price rises and speed limit restrictions. The accessible, revolutionary uniform has become a symbol of resistance and struggle. Sadly, I don’t see protester chic, London style, moving away from the pre-requisite hoody and bandana, toward the fashion item from hell.

I have decided that if you can’t beat them, join them. I plan to follow David Allegreti’s lead and use the hi-vis to my advantage. He has worn one and walked unchallenged into the cinema, a Coldplay gig and the zoo. I plan to buy a selection with a varying array of reflective pipings (which act like sergeant’s stripes on the arm). Heck, I might even up the ante and purchase an orange one in order to order the yellow-vested minions around. I also plan to wear one up the back of the Watford training ground and challenge mild mannered dog walkers into hastening their pace as they walk past sportsmen on 50 grand a week who apparently don’t like being watched whilst going through their paces.

Brett Ellis is a teacher