Class

No one quite knows where they came from.

Some say that Jimi Hendrix deliberately let them out; others that they flew in from an Ealing film set. For most of us, it doesn’t really matter: the truth is that anything you do these days outdoors in south-west London will be done under a sky full of screeching ring-necked parakeets. Since the mid 1990’s, they have colonised the suburbs like a rash.

I saw them last night, because I was with my family at a James Blunt concert at Kew Gardens, an event that brought together three enthusiastic strands of my life: birds (those parakeets), gardens and unchallenging music. Four, actually, because the demographic around me so closely mirrored my own that it was almost comical. Some gigs can be quite threatening, but I have felt more threatened by a Marks and Spencer pullover or a decent cheese trolley than I did sitting on my camp chair last night, drinking my Picpoul and eating humus and carrot sticks. I doubt that there has ever been a more apt place for me to be. David Attenborough could have crawled through the trees with his microphone and said in hushed, breathless tones: ‘there, right in the epicentre of his natural habitat, is a Roger Morgan-Grenville’.

The general approach to take if you are ‘posh’, which I probably am, is to pretend you are not. Think David Cameron, Tony Blair and just about anyone you can mention, and they will all have gone to great lengths to persuade people that they are, in fact, far more lowly born than their circumstances suggest, and that, whilst not being exactly queuing up at the soup kitchen, would often struggle to acquire that second filet mignon or even have to travel Economy Plus, God help us, from time to time.

My advice is not to buy a word of it. Not from me, and not from any of them. We are who we are. With a double-barrelled name, with a Duke as a great-great grandfather and an education at our soon to be ex Prime Minister’s old school, I am unlikely to persuade anyone that my immediate antecedents clawed their way up from the bottom by the fruit of their own efforts. This is because they didn’t. They successfully fought their way to the top centuries ago by marrying cleverly, building imaginatively and then- gloriously- blowing the lot. What we are doing, and have been doing for 150 years now, is proving that social mobility goes both ways, some up, some flat and some down. (I’ve trodden these traveled paths before in these pages: rogermg1.home.blog/2019/12/31/of-dukes-and-cadburys-dairy-milk/

This truth was revealed to me and my friend Trevor in bright rays of light on a golf course recently. We have long asserted that whilst his trajectory is meteorically up from his start in a humble farm labourer’s cottage to the international work surface baron that he now is, mine is going the other way, from the portals of Stowe to sleeping in my car on Scottish nature reserves. The joy for us both, we argue, is that it is our good fortune that our lines of ascent and descent have intersected here and now, so as to allow us to be best buddies.

What happened at Cowdray cemented it. Trevor was about to tee off on the short seventeenth when he accidentally knocked over the remnants of a coffee that he had bought at the half way house.

‘Put it in the bin for me, would you,’ he instructed.

‘Sure,’ I said, and did so without demurring.

Then we simultaneously looked at each other and burst out laughing.

‘It’s happened,’ he said. ‘hasn’t it?’

‘It has,’ I replied, because it had. The lines had crossed, and Trevor’s was moving rapidly away and upwards.

Last I heard, bless him, was that he was searching the internet for James Blunt tour dates.

1 thought on “Class

  1. Love your blog; I’m guaranteed a smile and more often than not an ‘out loud’ laugh!
    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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