Sheffield Retro columnist Monica Dyson says class divides the 'haves' from the 'have nets'

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The top publication for posh people, The Tatler, issued a new set of rules on the behaviour expected during lockdown for privileged members of our society.

It seems that you should never let your dogs jump on your beds, share lipsticks or spouses, use the delivery company Ocado or even think about a holiday abroad.

It warned against hugging anyone, advocating a genteel bow instead, never wearing homemade masks or carrying cash.

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Pretty much what we have been doing for long enough. So, does it make us posh?

Class divide: former kitchen boy Arthur Allen peeling spuds in the Aga kitchen and scullery at the seriously posh Brodsworth Hall in Doncaster in 2008Class divide: former kitchen boy Arthur Allen peeling spuds in the Aga kitchen and scullery at the seriously posh Brodsworth Hall in Doncaster in 2008
Class divide: former kitchen boy Arthur Allen peeling spuds in the Aga kitchen and scullery at the seriously posh Brodsworth Hall in Doncaster in 2008

When I was a child, I never thought whether we were posh. We were in the same boat as all our friends and neighbours, we weren’t rich, but we were comfortable.

We had caring, loving parents, enough to eat and a lifestyle that wasn’t short of culture and included listening to music and reading books that we obtained from the local library.

It was only when I passed the 11-plus and went to a grammar school at the other end of town that I realised that there were girls from homes that were not council owned, some of the houses being quite palatial and their parents owned cars and even horses in a couple of cases.

I realised then that some people were seriously posh!

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Over the years the definition of the word has altered for me.

Still people live in bigger houses and have more money than I do but I consider it more important to be happy, have successful and healthy children and grandchildren, have read extensively and to have been lucky enough to have travelled everywhere in the world that I have ever wanted to visit than to worry in case I hold a tea cup incorrectly.

I never will believe that anyone is better than me and so I view with a slight degree of scepticism those who would try to tell us that they are posh!

I laughed when I read in the press that David Cameron was referred to as ‘the toff’ or ‘posh Dave’.

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We had an insight into his lifestyle when he was PM and cameras were invited into the Cameron kitchen.

We found that they ate similar kinds of food to us, like Marmite and Lee and Perrin’s Sauce (yet to be educated into the superiority of Hendos!) but used proper sea salt instead of Saxa, different vinegars, Earl Grey tea and Manuka honey which can sell at over £20 a jar.

All bought at Waitrose, of course, the ‘posh’ person’s supermarket.

Although to be fair, there probably wasn’t an Aldi near them!

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Posh Dave has admitted that he knows he is posh, having come from a very privileged background and attended a posh school.

The media made a lot of the fact that he was shown eating a hot dog with a knife and fork which is obviously what posh people do!

A recent guide to etiquette by expert William Hanson instructs on how to know whether you are posh.

It appears that you can instantly tell from a person’s home. If you use a cafetiere you are well away!

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Your kitchen should have exciting cookbooks on display. Delia Smith’s How to Boil an Egg does not count.

The BBC have a range of Posh Nosh cookbooks with advice on ‘top’ food like posh fish and chips made with Beluga sturgeon fillet. Just let me check my freezer!

Preferably you cook on an Aga, have a clingfilm dispenser, not a roll that you perforate with your teeth, smart bin bags, not supermarket freebies, although you don’t get many of those nowadays.

You must never use paper napkins, or refer to them as serviettes, and it’s unthinkable to give your guests a piece of kitchen roll.

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You could be considered posh if you eat cake with a small folk or put sauces into little dishes instead of having a bottle on the table.

We were definitely not posh when I was a child as the HP Sauce label was one of my main sources of reading after my father banned books at the dinner table.

And I overheard a friend once saying that a mutual acquaintance must be posh as she wore matching underwear, not mismatched, much-washed knickers from M & S.

In the bathroom, only plain loo paper, never quilted, with smells eliminated by a reed diffuser, never an Airwick spray.

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In the sitting room, which you never call the lounge, books must outweigh DVDs, only fabric sofas will do, never leather, antique silver picture frames and large television sets are permissible.

Completely out are coasters, napkin rings, fish cutlery, candle wall lights, hostess trollies (thought those went out in the 70s anyway), mug trees, net curtains (you are either a ‘haves or ‘have nets’) and paintings by David Shepherd. The artist, not the cricketer!

Even when it comes to weddings, it seems that you are either posh or not. Men of the landed gentry, aristocracy or Royal males do not wear wedding rings.

It’s very bad breeding to have figures of a bride and groom on the top of a wedding cake and if you should happen to be introduced to the Queen, never say ‘Pleased to meet you!’ as Kate Middleton’s mother once did.

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Of course you are pleased to meet her, the correct expression is ‘How d’you do?’

And if you recruit the services of a cleaner, then it’s posh to refer to her as ‘a woman who does’ – although could be open to misinterpretation...

It’s a minefield, isn’t it? Personally, I haven’t got time to worry about it.

I’m just going to make myself a cup of coffee. Oops! From a jar, I’m afraid.

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