I had cause to question if I was suited to a “posh” university like Durham as soon as I landed there.
It was Freshers’ Week and there were any number of events planned to welcome us. One was a meet-‘n’-greet for our hall corridor. But let me say from the off that Durham, viewing itself as Britain’s third best university, didn’t have halls of residence but pretentiously aped Oxford and Cambridge in having a college system.
So where was I? Ah, the meet-‘n’-greet.
It was sod’s law that on my corridor was the College’s Head Man (head boy). So half a dozen of us sat in his room gawping at one another.
“Sherry, anyone?” he asked.
“Very nice” I said.
“FUCKING SHERRY!!!???” I thought.
I took a little glass and held it twixt thumb and forefinger as did the rest of us sheep. We looked like bit parts in a Noel Coward play.
I’d got sat next to a bloke with short, frizzy hair who introduced himself as “Locky”. I subsequently found out it was “Lachie”, short (by one letter) for Lachlan.
And he was posh!
Turns out he was Scottish and had come from one of those public schools up there that royalty go to. I had been dragged through a grammar school which a few years later after it went comprehensive established itself in government league tables as the worst in the country.
“Do you drive?” he asked me.
I shook my head.
“I have a foelx vargan” he said.
I looked puzzled.
“A foelx vargan” he repeated.
“Ah”, I said. “A volkswaggin”.
He turned to the bloke on his opposite side and I swigged the sherry down, looking hopefully at the Head Man for some more.