Friday, June 3, 2011

Council house kid......

Who always wanted to be stupid eh?

Now that I am old enough to know better, I realise what a waste of time all my yearning for poshness was. What I wanted was the trappings of posh, as I saw them at the time.

As a child I lived with my family in a council house. A clean and tidy council house. Where my mother cooked proper food. She made us stews and pies and puddings and jam. Knitted us jumpers. There were roses in the garden. There was a water butt. We didn't have a telephone or a car. There were not many books in the house but we did have library cards. I appreciate the fact that we had decent food in our early years, although once Ma was working we did have some Fray bentos dinner/angel delight puddings........which we thought were fancy!
We had our feet measured regularly for 'good shoes'. We slept in beds with clean sheets and blankets.
We had freedom to roam the local woods with our other council house kid mates for hours on end with a jam sandwich and a bottle of water for sustenance.
We didn't have money.

Throughout my life, and admittedly I have not had a 'travelling the world-meeting the great and the good and the glorious' life, I have found that the poshest people I have encountered, or at least the ones I consider to be posh, have fallen into two camps.

Properly posh or pp and utp or up themselves posh.
Usually the utp's had the money.

What I remember about the pp I have encountered is them...their nature or personality..their interest in the world and life and the people in it.

Just like the John Cleese/two Ronnies sketch  about class 'I know my place..' then I know my place.
I am a council house kid......and I didn't 'make good'.
Never achieved.
Didn't travel too far.
There aren't that many differences between my childhood life and my life now....except that I own my home (almost!), have a car, sometimes travel abroad on holidays and my spagetti is not out of a tin these days.

I am still fascinated by posh people...watching them and listening to them.

My children are not council house kids. There is a tiny corner of my heart that would like them to attain the trappings of poshness that I dreamt of as a child......but maybe we all want our children to move on and up and take for granted things we have struggled for? and yet my children are bright, happy individuals with a sense of self worth, and as far as I can tell, no longing for the silly fripperies I used to covet.

I would like them to have money in their life...not for itself but because it buys protection and security of a sort and opportunity.....with money you are not hungry or without somewhere to sleep, you are able to travel and to experience life.........and yes, I know experience and wonder and affirmation of being alive is available without money, but money gives you choices.
I still buy a lottery ticket every week and silently wish 'one day...'.

UTP people have a silken ease with which they travel through life.....confident and sometimes arrogant, their ease is money bought.
The best currency is used by the PP. They travel with  interest and curiosity and manners, kindness and grace.

Health is wealth.........I don't need what I used to covet.


auntiegwen said...

I love you just the way you are, real, open, funny and a friend that's priceless to me beyond words xxx

Steve said...

The class system is much diminished from what it once was. The idea of working class seems to have all but disappeared. I used to consider myself working class but now I have to admit I have joined the massive ranks of the middle class. There is still a poor class, alas, and a few poshes... but even they are being ovetaken by the noveau riche. The playing field is a long way from being level but it's certainly becoming bland.

Betty said...

oh yes, I was a fray bentos kid - (very skint family - a girl in our road even skinter used to borrow my shoes sometimes), all clothes in our house were second hand - school uniform was from the lost property box at school, etc. what I have found though from working for 'posh' people is that they aren't actually always very happy or even well off - they sometimes present an image which isn't achievable even with all their inheritance and family background and titles! The grass all looks greener on the other side, doesn't it.

Nana Go-Go said...

I could disagree with you on this one, Libs on so many levels but I`m too knackered from working for the `PP`s` to argue! Who, incidentally, do have manners,kindness and grace, on that I will agree. You did `make good`, Libs, you successfully brought up a family and are still holding it together and you`re a great daughter to your Ma and Pa. Doesn`t matter what kind of house you did/do it from.
ps must watch my p`s and q`s when talking to Steve from now on since he`s so UTP, sorry I meant, middle class!??

Curry Queen said...

Ha! You are so right! PPs are usually delightful and have no side whatsoever to them - UTPs are a pain in the rear and not to be aspired to (if you see what I mean...)

About Last Weekend said...

Sounds like you had an idyllic childhood with a wonderful family. As child of greengrocers with noone in the family with degrees I suspect we were working class but noone in New Zealand ever mentioned class. I was incredibly aware of it when reached London. Yes agree that those I met in upper classes had a confidence that was in-bred. A couple I met from stately homes actually had a miserable childhood with distant parents and odd dynamics...and they picked their noses at lunch...

libby said...

Auntiegwen...thank you sweetheart, will email you later x
Steve....Y'see I don't think the playing field will ever be level...and the PP's will sit around its edges looking at the rest of us wallowing about in the mud..
Betty...yes I know there was a great slice of generalisation in my post...and like you we often had second hand clothes, my ma used to visit a 'thrift' shop before they ever became trendy..and you are right about the grass being greener...but money sure does help sometimes.
Nana..thank you so much for the kind words...and disagree away...maybe another I said before there was generalisation in what I said ...sorry you are worn out from work! feet up with some gin and chocolate!!
CurryQueen....well at least the people I have encountered have informed my opinion that way...and manners maketh the man they say..and cost nowt..
ALW..thanks for dropping by. I think that the idea of a land where class is never really an issue is wonderful (mmmm...chip? on my shoulder? no.....)and your upbringing sounds for your experience in London? sounds more over on your place please?..and nose picking?? eeeeuggghhhh

Macy said...

Scott Fitzgerald it was who said, "the Rich are different".
Hemmingway it was who pointed out, "yeah, because they have money".
There is nothing innately different about rich people. They are just people who have either had sufficient resources behind them in the past to be given a "better" education, or who have recently "made good".

One of the biggest cons is our all believing that possession of money makes you "better" (or worse) in any way. In most cases posession of money doesn't even indicate greater talents or abilities; just luck.

WV is revise! Jeez. Even blogger's been conned.

libby said...

Macy.....yes people are people of course..the point I perhaps inadequately made, you have made clear with the resources/education sentence. I don't believe money or the lack of, makes anyone better or worse.....just that with it our passage through life can probably be better.
Am I being dim.... I don't understand the last sentence.....? and thanks for dropping by..hope you are feeling better.

Macy said...

Ahhh My last sentence was meant to be a joke about blogger getting nippy with me and telling me to revise via a sneaky word verification hint.
Hem... seems I should either have revised the last sentence itself, or the WV should have been "irony"....

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

This post has so much in it, I don't know which bit to comment on. Fray Bentos pies always looked hideous before they were cooked but great when they puffed up. We still have Angel Delight in the cupboard - we all love it.

Both my husband and I grew up having to be careful with money and now, because of his job, we are much better off than our parents were. But our values haven't changed: I hope we will never be up ourselves. Please slap me down if I ever change!

Marcheline said...

As Clarence the angel so eloquently put it in a note to George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life",

"Dear George: Remember- no man is a failure who has friends.
Thanks for the wings! Love, Clarence"

libby said...

Marcheline, that is a line I know well...from my all time favourite film....weep everytime I see it!
Trish....I don't think you'll ever need slapping!

Moannie said...

This is an honest and rather lovely piece and I recognise a lot of my childhood in it. With the enormous difference of there being oodles of love in yours.

Retired English Teacher said...

I just came over from Moannie's blog. I am from the U.S., so I don't even know what a council life is, but I found myself relating to what you had to say in many ways. I think we want a life that is better than we had for our children, but also hope they had the simplicity of our lives because of the honesty of such a life. It is nice to finally reach a time where we are happy and content with what we have.

libby said...

Moannie....there is no way to change our childhood is there? I think you have so much love in your adult life now to make up for any deficiency you had before. Karma makes it so!
RET...Hello..thank you for stopping by....I wonder what our children will feel when they are older? what they may feel they missed out on? not too much I hope.

Blowing the dust off the blog......

And in other news.......... I have decided to retire at Christmas. This will be a reduction in money coming in but hopefully a better qua...