In the days when I was less happy in my skin than I am now, I used to feel stabs of envy whenever I visited the large country homes of much grander friends. I’d notice their array of class signifiers — the boot room with battered hunt coats and riding crops; the massive Victorian baths with enormous taps, weird cylinder devices instead of plastic plugs, and funny little dog foot stands; the framed pictures in the loo of Oxbridge matriculations and born-to-rule offspring posing with the beagle pack at ‘School’ — and think: if only this could one day be me.
Well now it is me, more or less. Finally, in my early fifties, I’ve got round to joining, near as damn it, the country squirearchy. And let me tell you, it’s every bit as enjoyable as I’d hoped. I get to be rude, eccentric, antisocial, reckless, prejudiced, reactionary, unkempt, unapologetically conservative and free to a degree that just wouldn’t have been possible in my benighted townie years.
Read the rest in the Spectator.