Tuesday, 29 January 2008

How to Get On in Society
by John Betjeman (1906-1984)

Phone for the fish-knives, Norman
As Cook is a little unnerved;
You kiddies have crumpled the serviettes
And I must have things daintily served.
Are the requisites all in the toilet?
The frills round the cutlets can wait
Till the girl has replenished the cruets
And switched on the logs in the grate.
It's ever so close in the lounge, dear,
But the vestibule's comfy for tea
And Howard is out riding on horseback
So do come and take some with me.
Now here is a fork for your pastries
And do use the couch for your feet;
I know what I wanted to ask you --
Is trifle sufficient for sweet?
Milk and then just as it comes dear?
I'm afraid the preserve's full of stones;
Beg pardon, I'm soiling the doileys
With afternoon tea-cakes and scones.

Click on the fish-knives link to see what makes this Non U

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Now playing: Bronski Beat - Smalltown Boy
via FoxyTunes

9 comments:

Pigtown-Design said...

crushed and chastized... but can it be that things are different here? these old forks and knives are very hard to find. they weren't used as commonly as in the UK. And what of some of the nice bone-handled cutlery available today.

My mother's a proponent of U and Non-U, so I did know some of them.

heartbrokenly yours,
fairfax :-(

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

fairfax - my mistake! I thought you meant your fish knives and forks specifically, not the entire service. Phew! We can still be friends.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

I remain mortified, yet unrepentant. :)

Pigtown-Design said...

what he said...

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

Aaaaahaaa...

Mrs. Blandings said...

Darling HoBC, perhaps you didn't know, we don't discuss such things as class here in the colonies. Tends to hamper the American dream and squash the quest for hyper-possession.

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

Mrs B - I know. But, someone had to mention the elephant in the room, don't you think?

Funny, I once walked out of a job interview because the pompous prig reading my CV said, "Oh, I see you went to school in the Colonies" not before replying " I wasn't aware Britain still had any left by the time I came along" and snatching my CV.

All the more reason no fish forks and knives, or napkin rings. We have to beat them at their own game!

Mrs. Blandings said...

The elephant, yes, I had noticed him. Always enjoy your insight. Wish I had had that kind of confidence while interviewing - I probably would have gotten better jobs!

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

Or, one might have had to wait tables? I did.
Finding a job here was easy. Finding someone to work for that one respected? Damn near impossible.
Now I think it is much better.