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Class affects all aspects of life in English society: schools, manners, food, language, clothes, holidays. (I'd like to think that the Welsh, Scots and Irish are more relaxed.)

I love Jilly Cooper's book Class. It was written in the early 70s, and a lot of it still holds true. But I began to wonder what had happened to her characters:

the aristocratic Stow-Crats, Harry and Caroline, in their draughty stately home
upper-middle-class Samantha and Gideon Upward, frantically following intellectual trends
middle-middle-class Howard and Eileen Weybridge, pillars of the Conservative Association
lower-middle-class Bryan and Jen Teale, in their new-build Barratt home

She called the working classes the "Definitely-Disgustings" but I have just called them the Definitelies. They still love the word "defnatlay!" They're the salt of the earth, as the Stow-Crats would say, but the hard-working, well-organised Teales are the ones propping up the country.

I have added a few more characters: Arkana, a very Bohemian Upward who was a member of the  "alternative society" in the 60s and 70s, and Rowena - today's model who lives in Stoke Newington and wears vintage clothes, plastic jewellery and Mary Whitehouse glasses.

If Ms Cooper's lawyers object to my borrowing, I'll have to change all their names.

Follow me on Twitter as @richmondie.

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