It’s that time of year again. I have just spent a glorious weekend in the social bubble that is Rock in Cornwall. I prepared myself for rock pools, red trousers, and royals and set off for the best weather of the year so far.
I adore Cornwall and am constantly reminded by the friends who never fail to invite me back every year that in spite of ‘the BBC rubbing off on me,’ I am just as posh as everyone else. I was also under the illusion that this year, I had done an especially good job of getting back to my roots.
This illusion was shattered when I was approached at a barbecue in 30 degree heat by an old friend. Said friend looked at me with genuine concern, and uttered those fateful words I had hoped to avoid.
‘Babe. Apparently you were really left wing in Cornwall.’
Shit. I really thought that this year I had mastered my poker face. I didn’t bat an eyelid when a boy told me a 20 minute story about his struggles to find an engine big enough for his new boat. I endured endless anecdotes about hunting and even found time to be utterly charming to the Marquis of Reading.
I wasn’t quite prepared however, for the inexplicably named, Cousin Anthony.
I happened upon Cousin Anthony in the pub one evening, after an extraordinary drinks party where I was introduced to a very burnt boy who told me within 5 minutes that although his cock was small, he was ‘very good at cunnilingus.’ Walking out into the smoking area I looked up to see three boys in red trousers and fleece gilets, singing at the top of their lungs:
'WE WENT TO PUBLIC SCHOOL DOO DAA DOO DAA’
As if anyone could have ever thought otherwise. It’s worth mentioning that Cousin Anthony is not my cousin. We are not in any way related. He was never the less confused on this matter and still believes that I must have been the daughter of 'loopie old uncle Will.’ I also don’t think that Cousin Anthony is necessarily bad, or mean spirited. He really just doesn’t know any better.
When he had finished his performance, the man who was to become known as Cousin Anthony lowered himself from his makeshift stage and came to sit with us. He greeted me with a sly grin; usually the reserve of pervy middle aged godfathers or Fagin in Oliver Twist.
'So, I guess you’re another girl who’s woken up to find themselves in Jimbo’s bed…there’s no use denying it you’ve all been there.'
Taking a second to process who this Jimbo character was, I realised that he was in fact the incredibly keen huntsman from the day before who had expressed his joy that none of us had regional accents. I then had to consider what made Cousin Anthony think that I would ever wake up in bed with somebody called Jimbo and willingly come back to this pub for more? Did he think I was a slut? Or worse, a Tory?
I managed to keep my cool until I heard what Cousin Anthony thought he was doing in Cornwall.
'Oh, you know how it is. I’m just paying the poor. Holding up the micro-economy.’
I finally lost it. I broke down in horror, but instead of chastising him I found myself hysterically laughing. Because as awful as Cousin Anthony’s views are, I have learned that sometimes you have to pick your battles, or at least your battlefield. The Oyster Catcher was not mine.
I have happily concluded that If the worst bit of gossip that came from that weekend is that I was rightfully accused of being left wing then something must be going right. I can’t wait for next year.