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The Book

Out now at Amazon | Waterstones

Middle Class Handbook on Twitter
Chattering Class

Prince Harry

Even republicans approve, surely?

Microwaving tea

Recommended by scientists, apparently. Disgusting

No televised election debates

Disappointing; we were rather looking forward to May vs The Sturge

Broadchurch

Olivia Coleman = nailed-on Future National Treasure

Spring Bank holidays

Too close together! Very bad!

Bin-mageddon

“I queued for THREE BLOODY HOURS at B&Q for a new recycling bin! The entire town’s in CHAOS”

S-Town

To be listened to whole on a long journey for maximum effect

Using a proper paper map

Strangely satisfying

The “Flash” Flash ad

It’s back! Possibly the best ever singing dog in an advert ever

Crap tacos

Reheated, with too much chilli: middle-class kebabs, basically

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The Periodic Table of the Middle Class
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    THE SAGA LOUTS: LIONEL & JENNY

     

    Lionel and Jenny live in a wealthy suburb, in an enormous detached house round the corner from Jenny’s sister and mother and fifteen minutes away from Lionel’s old business, in town. Lionel’s retired, but the business still bears his name, and he drives into town at least twice a week, to see how things are going. His business is importing fridges, since you ask. They had some bad times in the 80s, almost went bankrupt, had to move to a smaller place (still managed to keep the kids in private school though) but things really took off when Smegs became fashionable and it’s grown ever since. Now it employs four people in the office and almost 100 in delivery and warehouses, and though Lionel likes his retirement, spending time with his grandchildren and taking holidays, he can never quite leave it alone. His second son, Anthony, has taken over, and he and Lionel row quite a bit about it. They both enjoy an argument.

    Jenny is a housewife and mother and her fridge, naturally, was reknowned amongst her children’s friends when they were younger – and not just because it was the latest American model. Even now, it is never empty, stocked to the brim with cooked chicken, pickles, salami, chocolate cake. . . Jenny is a fantastic cook and her regular family dinners (her, Lionel, at least one of the children, usually Johnny with his wife and kids, plus Jenny’s sister and her mother) last for hours. She oversees the home improvements, which are constant: they’ve just had another ensuite done, so now every bedroom has one. Next project is a dressing room for her, just off the master bedroom, next to its ensuite, which has a jacuzzi which Jenny loves. Jenny is also in charge of the garden – well, she supervises the man who does – and she redesigns it every year. Lionel buys sculptures by local artists and they’re displayed to full effect on the lawn.

    Lionel and Jenny aren’t frightened of new technology: Lionel loves it, in fact. It’s revolutionised the business, for a start – tracking orders and deliveries has never been so easy. Jenny was rather uncertain when they got the computer – she’s never learnt how to set the video – but she loves the internet now, sending lengthy emails to her other sister in Florida. Lionel sends stupid jokes and pictures of the grandkids – they have flour children, all of whom have done very well - to everyone he knows.

     Unlike the Fair to Middlings, the Saga Louts do not like sacrificing their pleasure for the benefit of the community, and this can lead to disputes. However, they are very much active members of the community. Lionel even stood for local council once (Tory) – he served a term, but found all the other members too old-fashioned and backward looking, not dynamic enough. Stuck in the past. Couldn’t take a joke. Didn’t get anything done. Lionel and Jenny can’t stand stick-in-the-muds.

     

    SPOTTING THE SAGA LOUTS

     

    What you’ll find in Lionel and Jenny’s house

    Carpets throughout – Jenny knows it’s trendy to have polished wood floors, but it’s too cold for her taste

    A few valuable pieces that they’ve picked up on their travels

    Art and travel books on the coffee table

    Posed family photos all the way up the stairs, along with pictures of Lionel and Jenny’s grandparents in the old country

     Saga Lout holidays

    Lots, often linked to business. Lionel & Jenny often refer to them as trips

    Book a lot of their trips – their short breaks anyway - over the internet now

    Lionel and Jenny like cruises and beach holidays – they’re always brown Lionel loves Phuket, Jenny prefers Marbella, where they have a flat

    Cars

    Lionel drives a Jag (in his younger days, he had an XJS) – he almost swapped to a BMW 7 series, but he wanted all the trimmings and they cost too much on top

    Jobs Saga Lout kids might do

    Head of accountancy team at a big media firm

    Doctor in London with a private practice

    Running parents business

    Modelling (only if the youngest)

    Running beauty salon