Upward Mobility

February 10, 2015 at 8:43 pm Leave a comment


I was forced to question my working class credentials this weekend. It appears that I am now, well and truly a member of the middle class. Grammar school fuelled social mobility has finally worked its wonders.

It was not the fact that I was lunching in Knutsford, Cheshire, in that “Golden Triangle” which, together with Wilmslow/Alderley Edge and Prestbury, forms the heartland and hunting ground of the Real Housewives of Cheshire and their mediocre footballing husbands; the epicentre of this great country’s sales of champagne; and, charity shops filled to the brim with cast-off designer labels, handbags and dog grooming accessories.

Nor was it the fact that my Oxford-educated self was lunching with my psychotherapist and university teaching fellow and better half in an up-market pizza establishment in which your standard tomato sauce base has yielded to béchamel and lobster bisque and the pizza is served on slate.

It wasn’t even the fact that we were surrounded by three-wheel, off-road Maclaren buggies wielded by yummy mummies and weekend-only fathers attempting to stuff pitted olives and humus into little floppy-haired Sebastian and darling Hermione while talking very loudly to their peers about their latest ventures into interior design and spa treatments, over a glass of bubbles.

No. It was the point at which our own conversation turned to the idea of donating the remnants of our Christmas hamper to our local Waitrose’s food bank.

Now I know that some of you might be surprised that a Cheshire Waitrose has a food bank at all. But they do. I think it is the modern-day equivalent of giving Maundy money to the poor. It is the height of commercial philanthropy and social responsibility. It confuses the shoplifters. It provides company for the nearby purveyor of the Big Issue. And it (the food bank) is strategically located just inside the door so that the poor folk and general hoi polloi don’t linger too long, upsetting the genuine shoppers.

No, we were actually discussing donating the uneaten and discarded remains of our luxury Fortnum & Mason Christmas hamper, which was the size of a small family hatchback and had been gifted us by my employer in the hope that, during the festive week, we would celebrate, break bread and share a drink and a champagne trifle or two with our nearest and dearest and so feel not so guilty for having been apart from and neglecting them for the other fifty one weeks of the year.

We realised quite how far we had fallen, or rather, how far we had risen, when
C pointed out that your average family in need might struggle to make a nutritious and warming meal for five out of a tin of Gentleman’s Relish, a jar of sun-dried avocet in aspic, and poached swans livers drizzled in truffle washed down with a bottle of mulled wine. They could, however, shelter quite comfortably in the empty wicker hamper without the need for bunk beds should they be made homeless.

We were shocked at ourselves and immediately slipped back into our regional accents, and returned home where we talked about football, Coronation Street and the sad demise of the Labour Party, before preparing a fish finger sandwich on white sliced bread with tomato ketchup and a mug of tea (stoically ignoring the Nespresso machine in the corner) and bemoaning the fact that this year’s series of Celebrity Big Brother had ended…..and had clearly been fixed! Go Calum Best. Go Katie Hopkins.

Middleman is middle class. Who would have thought it…..?


Entry filed under: Cautionary Tales, humour, middleman. Tags: , , , , , , , .

The Clock is ticking….. Fifty Shades of Pants

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