Dad, mum and the two of us are shortly going to be staying in Herefordshire for a week.
In the magazines and quarterlies we have unknowingly subscribed to over recent careers, our ‘household’ has recently been sent a nuisance-worth of National Trust fliers, each inviting us to enjoy some pictures of other people’s beautiful views and a free cool-pack. On the pack is emblazoned an acorn rampant, Sable, on PVC essuyer-propre, Or. Having said that, I may have meant on PVC essuyer-propre, Farrow & Ball ‘Dayroom Yellow’.
I am in a dilemma. I want the cool-pack. I have become everything I resented as a fifteen-year-old. It is uncool, equestrian and practical, with a hint of taking-up-boot-space. I would never use it. But it would look nice until I can save up for that wax jacket I do not need. And the four children called Rupert, Lorelei, Savannah and Othello (Tels for short). And the dog: Fitzwilliam ( “we simply had to name him after daddy’s college” ).
[I met a man with a garden designed by Repton on a recent trip and his new labrador was called Dog, which made me think that such a name might only be given at each end of the British social spectrum, allowing for variance in degree of irony or imagination.]
Where was I? I want the cool-pack, though I hurt deeply at the idea of living a lifestyle not on offer to everyone. I feel guilty just for crossing the road and turning right-left-right sometimes. It seems so imperialistic.
Crossing over that one, it appears there is a catch to gaining my free NT cool-pack. (It does not do exactly what it says on the tin, being neither cool nor packed, but there is more). I would have to buy 12 months membership to the NT. Admittedly, the three months when most of the attractions are closed come free on this offer, so I would pay for 9. However, with two of us here we are looking at upwards of £50 sterling for the privilege.
Wherefore the problem? Because, having just added up the costs (for two) to visit the 9 places located closest to where we will stay in Herefordshire, I have discovered that the cost of turning up will be £42.80 and I am a mean old sensible type with northern blood in me. Some are even free!
So maybe I will forfeit the cool-pack in Farrow & Ball’s finest, the four children and the fees, the labradors, the matching wax jackets and the A-class Merc. Because as much as I want all these things, I prefer proper British value for money.
And that is why I do not think it is ethical or national for me to join the National Trust at this time.