The British countryside and the British class system…

Crickley Hill vs the Grand Canyon

So, here’s the deal…

Young Harry is totally infatuated with Britain. He think the countryside is amazing, he loves school and the education, and talking in a British accent šŸ˜‰

On a recent trip to one of our old favourite walks nearby in Cheltenham he marvelled at the panorama. ‘That.’ he declared, ‘is a better view than the Grand Canyon.’ I had a sharp intake of breath. Oh my, you mean we went all that way on a frigging coach for 5 hours from Vegas and back again and all he wanted was a view of some sheep, some causal splatterings of cow poo and expansive green fields? Yes, if the truth be told.

Agreed, the view across the Cotswolds was really quite stunning that afternoon.

(Not my photo!)

(Not my photo!)

When I tell people of Gloucestershire this they are delighted to hear it.

School and class

One of the very English (not British, definitely English)Ā things that has been ringing in my ears recently is the school thing. School placement is v different to the States. Basically, you don’t automatically get the school that’s nearest you and sometimes that means you miss out on the school you really, really want for your kid (because you don’t want them to associate with kids who are from a different class, the school reputation isn’t all that or whatever). Every year parents of 4 year olds weep tears via Facebook about not getting their school of choice here in Cheltenham, and to be honest it all gets a bit bleeding heart middle class first world problemy (read as: very annoying).

Harry got placed in a cool school that is considered to be on the ‘wrong side of the tracks’. It was a school that was failing and so they got some superheads in and now it’s awesomeballs now and his teacher is rocking. We didn’t get a choice, but we were pleased he was now getting an education in a British school and we just feel lucky he’s there.

school

But the class system is rife in Cheltenham, as it is in many places in England. Never has England appeared more class conscious than it has when parents are considering or talking about schools. People move three or four years ahead of time across the town to get into a speficic school. It’s a Very British ProblemĀ thing that’s crudely fascinating.

Going Contactless

What is is this ‘contactless’ thing that you can do in British shops with one’s credit/debit card? And when did it happen?! You just place it on the screen? Amazing! Not got my head round it yet. Not sure what the minimum or maximum is, but I’m trying it all the time. It’s very exciting not having to put your card in and then your pin, cos I was messing that up every time I did it, since in the USA you just give them your card and they swipe it.

contactless

I’ll get the hang of it, and in time people at the checkouts won’t hear an excited squeal of ‘Oooh, you do contactless, what fun!’

šŸ˜‰

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2 thoughts on “The British countryside and the British class system…

  1. Ah yes, the obsession with schools thing. Have to say, it was a big relief in the US when people seemed to discuss schools in a way that made it a normal topic of conversation, rather than in a slightly screechy voice with trembly undertones, that made you think they might kill you if you suggested that their choice of school was anything other than (a) correct and (b) the most important decision they were ever going to make in their children’s lives. Where we lived, the state/private divide didn’t seem so big either, because of all the church schools which were private, but totally affordable. It all seemed A LOT more relaxed and less defining.

    I also liked being free from the smug parents who could afford private school, but deliberately sent their children to the local comprehensive, and then hinted regularly that they were doing some kind of social justice thing.

    UK education carries WAY too much baggage. You are so right.

    I am impressed that you have a child who is remotely interested in expressing an opinion on a view of the countryside, whatever nation he is in. In my experience, children don’t really get views at all.

    Liked by 1 person

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