I wonder sometimes what I am. I have lived the last decade on an inner city council estate, amid Oxford academia, in a remote country town and in London suburbia. In the first we were, with our relentless consonants and sagging bookshelves, regarded as aristocrats. In the second, as the 'squeezed middle'. In the third, as city sophisticates and now, sometimes, isolated in my tweed amid the Ralph Lauren and the hoodies, I feel myself a bumpkin.
Class should no longer matter. Nowadays, for most of us, it's more a question of perception than birth. But the perception matters. My daughter battles to adjust speech, habits and dress to blend in with each new environment; the political parties compete to woo the amorphous throng they deem Middle England and Melvyn Bragg has started a television series on class and culture.
The British, he decides, no longer define themselves by class, but by the music they listen to, the books they read. I listen to Dolly Parton and Beethoven. The Vicar reads The Confessions of St Augustine and Martina Cole. I am none the wiser. And so I consult Twitter. I ask those who regard themselves as middle class to describe their symptoms and I am surprised by the response.
Confessions pour in. One Twitterer began by thinking of herself as working class then, acknowledging her Boden clothes, National Trust car sticker, jute shooping bag and the organic kale from her vegetable box, her conviction began to waver. Another says he knew that he had attained the middle class when his wife sent an emergency text when she ran out of creme fraiche.
The consensus seems pretty clear. We are what we eat. 'If I regard myself as working class, then I am working class surely,' says my Boden-clad tweep. It's a difficult call and so after, profound scientific sleuthing, I have collated the definitive guide to identifying your inner bourgeois. If you score more than six you have, like it or not, acquired a middle-class soul.
1: You can name more than six different cheeses.
2: You have, at least once, bought perfumed hand soap/a tin of shortbread/William Morris table napkins from a National Trust shop
3: You pay a weekly fortune for mysterious muddy knobbles in an organic vegetable box
4: You pride yourself on your liberal attitudes to everything and everyone bar quilted loo roll and call centre staff.
5: You have mentally planned your eight musical selections for Desert Island Disc.
6: You know what a pissaladiere is.
7: You own, unread, the last three Booker Prize-winning novels and, also unread, a copy of Simon Jenkins' Thousand Best Houses and a guide to British birds.
8: Your big toe can tell the difference between Egyptian and Italian cotton bedsheets.
9: You've harrassed Boden to start an underwear range so that you are properly coordinated.
10: You spend your newly constrained finances on a fortnight huddled in a rain-rinsed Norfolk windshelter rather than admit to a half-price deal in Lanzarote.
11: You send a #middleclass tweet when you run out of pine nuts or spot a misattributed Dvorak concerto on Classic FM.
12: You call customer services when your Landmark Trust weekend cottage lacks a coffee grinder.
13: Your children think Dairylea is a family petting farm
14: Your thrice weekly work-out is in a 'health club', never a 'gym'.
15: You sign up to a wine club. I am not middle class enough to know what this is, but assume it's like that other boozy middle-class status symbol, a book club, only without the bother of obligatory literary opinions.
16: You know how to spell houmous (or is it hummus,hommus,humos, hommos...?)
17: You lay out a picnic rug and a Cath Kidston thermos in well-known beauty spots in frost, snow, monsoon and hurricane.
18: You have created, or dream of creating, a yawning basement kitchen with Fired Earth tiles and a family sofa.
19: Fast food means microwaved Cocquilles St Jacques from the 'chef-created' Menu From Waitrose range. [You never utter the word ready meal except in post-ironic/boho context.]
20: You hang your school and university alumnae photographs with proud humility in the downstairs loo.
For the record I scored 8.5. Please be publicly brave about your own tally below and let me know if you can contribute any more identifying traits.