If you are to practice “mindfulness” one of the criteria is that you should not indulge in vexatious gossip. Mind you there is gossip and … well … and gossip, even if it is largely affectionate, and anecdotal. I once made a resolution to say nothing about anybody , and people started to complain that I had become very dull and ask if I was unwell as I was not my usual fabulous amusing self, the toast of the whole of South London, and far beyond? So I decided that as long as it was of an entirely frivolous nature I must revert to my former keen sense of the ridiculous . Talking of which the “Sainted One” is a rich source of material for this , one such incident involved the inclusion of Caviar for a certain recipe . This was mentioned during one of the entirely male dominated meals here where conversations are reminiscent of school common rooms. Caviar was just “fish pooh” announced the S. O. I suggested he was entirely deficient in his knowledge of the reproductive organs of the sturgeon or in this case the simple cod. This of course then became a ferocious argument during the course of which I was forced to remind them all yet again that I was a fellow of “Arshole’s College Cockfosters.” When I visited his study later to watch mastermind, (which is an honour of which I am fully aware ) I could not answer any of the questions, guess who knew them all ?I noticed the beautiful home grown hyacinth I had put on his desk were propped up with a dirty nail file and a strip of band aid. Now that is what I call gossip!
Speaking of the above, certain matters are out of bounds eg the contents of peoples fridges and such like, purveyors into these kinds of intimate details should be sent pictures of “Scolds bridles”( not known about by one of the contestants on the aforesaid mastermind) because please note they were designed for women. I never heard of such a thing for a man … we have come a long way? Not sure… I guess there are many blokes out there who would go for them and perhaps the odd chastity belt, where the pooh must have come out like a forcing bag… talking of “fish pooh” etc … etc . Please note chastity belts are not available for men in any sizes “ period”!?
So shock horror I am married to the product of a Grammar school ( a very successful one) , also some of my best friends are black I have more than a smattering of sensible Jewish blood and I ran away from school aged sixteen. So there you have it and you will have concluded that I am a very liberal minded sort of person. But today I read that many the best actors who indeed scoop up all the awards went to Eton and as we all know most of the present government are similarly educated. The list goes on of course, captains of industry etc. Today I attended a splendid memorial to one of them. He was a dear friend and much loved, his education was curtailed when he had to donate skin to his badly burned mother to save her life. The address was very well done with much emphasis on his early years at Eton; there were dozens of that generation of old Etonians there most of whom will one day have the same sort of send off, we had the Eton boating song played by a military band and many other significant reminders. One might think these people did not have a march on everyone else, I was engaged to a famous captain of boats once ( a Godlike status) about which I was not sufficiently respectful , but I did observe at the time that this emolliated his life within the chattering classes. My Point exactly you may ask? I don’t quite know, but I do see the hardship and sacrifice families will endure to get a child into Eton and how this impacts on the wannabe class who will go to the ends of the earth to achieve it.
As I was getting ready to attend this occasion three people rang to tell me that there was a programme on the radio about the great Commodore Anson and his great naval voyage in 1740 also that a play has been done at Chichester about this and is coming to London… hang on I thought, this is MY STORY , I HAVE BEEN DOING IT FOR TWO YEARS… !!!! I am descended from this great giant which is why I am writing Summers Grace, I hope I haven’t missed the boat again… whoever it is who has written it will not have the real story though because it is all in my head you see two thirds finished …. So no more excuses I tell you what George Anson and his like did not go to Eton, he was the son of an ordinary country family , he joined the navy at fourteen and learned the hard way. Just my kind of man actually.
One of my many grandsons ( not at Eton) has just written to me to suggest we have lunch sometime, this is the kind of kid who would do brilliantly, wherever he went to school I shall save up and take him to the Ritz in my best earrings.