Several of my new friends come from westwards, starting at the eastern end of the Chilterns, making an arc through the Cotswolds to Bristol, Bath, and down into Devon. We are in Hampshire, after all. Far more striking to me is how many of them come from public schools. I had never expected to meet anyone from a public school, ever, to the extent that I’d realised that public schools actually existed, with real people in them, outside the pages of How to be Topp or Jennings Follows a Clue, both of which I inhaled once and can’t quite exhale.

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