Posh Woman With Black Lab

You might think you’re unique, but anyone can pigeon-hole you in two seconds. A posh blonde woman with a labrador. That’s me.

I was on the train from London to Glasgow the other day. I came over from Italy to be on The Review Show on BBC2 and was going up to the studios in Glasgow for the live broadcast last Friday. So, I go to the ‘shop’ (which used to be called the buffet car but is now a crisps, Heat magazine and Red Bull shop) and I ask for a coffee. The man behind the counter had a strong Stoke-On-Trent accent. ‘You look posh,’ he said. ‘I bet you want a latte. All the posh ladies want a latte.’ I laughed, pleased to have been classified as posh – a look I have been working on for some years and am aware of having perfected. ‘You’re quite wrong,’ I told him. ‘I want an americano and I don’t think we do drink lattes. A lot of milk. Makes you fat.’

‘You should just park your Volvo estate and walk every now and then,’ he suggested helpfully. ‘Then you wouldn’t have to worry about all the milk. And anyway, it’s semi-skimmed, this.’

‘It’s a Mercedes estate,’ I said. ‘But, yes.’

‘You really are posh!’ he exclaimed. ‘Where are you from.’

‘Well, I live in Tuscany but I’m from London, of course. Posh people all live in London.’ (I am aware that this isn’t true, but I assumed he believed it to be so).

‘Whereabouts?’ he wanted to know.

‘When I lived there I lived in Hampstead.’

‘Posh,’ he nodded vigorously, putting my coffee on the counter. ‘I bet you’ve got a black Labrador, haven’t you?’

Now this was astonishing. What was he, psychic?

‘He’s called Marmite,’ I told the man and I showed him a photo of Marms on my phone.

I was still laughing my head off when I got back to my seat. All the soul-searching I do, wondering where I really fit in, who I really am, where I’m going and all that Oprah stuff, when, in fact, it’s absolutely obvious to anyone in the world exactly who I am, where I fit in and where I’m going. I told this story to a fellow Review Show panellist when we’d traipsed round the exhibition we were reviewing. The photos and the whole thing of it (Don McCullin at the Imperial War Museum in Manchester) made me cry, reminded me of my dad and stuff, and I was still a bit raw somehow. He laughed politely and said it was odd, wasn’t it, that this didn’t apply to him, that nobody could really pigeon-hole him in that way at a glance. This was even funnier than the Stokey man with the coffee machine pigeon-holing me. Not only could I pigeon-hole my colleague in two seconds and could imagine every item on his bookshelves, every piece of clothing in his entire wardrobe, but I felt I’d been out with him at least four separate times in my twenties. Everyone, it turns out, thinks they are unique and categoryless, everyone feels isolated and not really a part of the crowd when, in fact, it couldn’t be less true. It’s so easy to see, especially in England with our class system, precisely where everyone fits in. Say two words and I can tell what you watch on telly, which paper you read, where you go on holiday.

What people don’t realise about Britain though, I think, is that the class system is actually very fluid. Contrary to general belief, you certainly can become posh without having been born posh – and it’s not necessarily about money (that just makes you nouvy). I remember when I was at Westminster School telling people whose parents kept horses that I wasn’t really posh. ‘But you’re at Westminster, Anna,’ they said. This was a good point. After I’d been to Oxford and then married someone who would be an aristocrat if a relative hadn’t killed a king five hundred years ago by sticking a red hot poker up his bum, I stopped making my claim. It just wasn’t true any more.

‘You see,’ said my fellow panellist, ‘I may seem posh, but I’m actually working class. I grew up in blah and my parents worked in a blah and etc etc.’

‘If you go on News Review to talk about the arts you are not working class any more. Even if you once were,’ I said.

Anyway, looking at myself naked in the mirror after the show, exhausted but wired (live is stressy), wondering if the tube of Pringles I ate on the way up is anywhere in evidence on my arse (yes), I was suddenly aware that the way I see myself has no bearing whatsoever on what other people see. I can be described, we can all be described, in a few words. Posh blonde woman, the type who drinks americanos and has a Labrador. That’s me.



  • Sarah
    2 years, 1 month ago

    Beautiful. But the buffet man would not have talked to you had you been fat & frumpy posh with black lab & estate (car or pile in the country).

  • Jeff
    2 years, 1 month ago

    We all get easier to read as we get older. Might as well be a classy cliche. (Lose the Merc, though. Dreadful cars.)

  • Ann McBride
    2 years ago

    Enjoyed reading your blog again. And you inspired some thoughts I often have….
    love Ann

  • soyu
    2 years ago

    i like reading your columns. they are so honest. i love to be a psoh woman like u

About Anna Blundy

Honorary psychotherapist with a Masters in Psychoanalytic Theory and another in Psychodynamic Clinical Psychotherapy. Novelist - Author of the Faith Zanetti quintet - The Bad News Bible, Faith Without Doubt, Neat Vodka (US - Vodka Neat), Breaking Faith, My Favourite Poison. Also a memoir of my father, Every Time We Say Goodbye and my most recent thriller - The Oligarch's Wife
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1 Response to Posh Woman With Black Lab

  1. How egocentric am I? I thought you were blogging about me when I saw the title 😉
    Spot-on though…

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