Friday, January 28, 2011

Little dears

Daughter 2 phoned me for a chat yesterday lunchtime as she was having a walk near her office in (very smart) Chelsea. She met a nice cat and was giving it a pat; I could hear the cat miaouing to her.

Then things became noisier, with lots of voices. "It's the local primary school - they've been let out," she said.

"Is it a posh school?" I asked.

Pause. "Well, the uniform is burnt-umber corduroy plus-fours* with yellow long socks and a bright green jumper [ie sweater]."

That would be a yes, then.

* plus-fours are knickerbockers, by the way. But four inches longer, evidently. (Thanks, Mr Google.) You also get plus-twos, sixes and eights. Didn't know that. I imagine the children were actually wearing knickerbockers.


  1. Ummm...what's a plus-four???

  2. LOL

    What a ghastly outfit!!

  3. Maybe they get a lot of sickness at that school and it's so the vomit stains don't show.

  4. Sounds like Hill House - I think the eccentric founder headmaster has been succeeded by his son. Th original head would only take a child if he approved of the mother - needless to say he didn't turn down Prince Charles who went there for a while before moving on to a boarding prep school...

  5. I think with that outfit the socks should be striped green/yellow & they should all be wearing baggy golf caps.

    Thimbleanna, they are golf trousers. Think tweed pantaloons.

  6. Ah, but do these kids, as Robert Merrill warned in The Music Man, leave for school with their knickerbockers buttoned above the knees then re-button them below their knees once they're out of their parents' sight?

    Y'got trouble, with a capital 'T' that rhymes with 'P' and stands for 'poncey'.

  7. I thought ours was bad enough !
    The white silk frock on Sundays, in a 1930s cut with large sash , so flattering to the burgeoning teenage figure , was replaced by same style in blue cotton during the week . And the hats !
    Am I that old ?

  8. Much prefer the uniforms our grandsons wear!

  9. I've seen children in that uniform in London too... I wonder what the pupils make of having to wear it!

  10. I went through an obsessive Tintin phase, where I desperately wanted to wear plus fours. We never found any, I suppose 1930's retro golfing gear for 9 year old girls wasn't a particularly large market.

    This does explain my fondness for the business dress aesthetic of wide-legged pinstripe or checked trousers, buttoned shirt and sweater vest: clearly I formed my tastes when I was saturated in Tintin and Katharine Hepburn soportswear.

  11. Even Swallows and Amazons, where the Amazons wore blue serge knickerbockers (tee hee, I just mistyped that as 'knockerbockers' it looked so funny I wanted to leave it...), would never persuade me that they were a cool thing to wear. I suppose if the school is that posh, it' s a bit like Etonians wearing frock coats, it indicates you're so rich and privileged you don't have to worry about looking funny, and since they are probably whisked everywhere in 4x4s and rollers and such like they don't get to be taunted by the state school kids on the way home.

    Fire Bird and I had to wear ghastly bottle green serge graduating to ghastly bottle green Harris tweed, with ties, which was all horribly uncomfortable and flesh-mortifying. Oh, and felt hats which after one shower of rain went the shape of solar topees. Bottle green of course. And no, we really aren't that old, it was just a weird school.

    I think it came under the umbrella of 'pastoral care'; make the gels look and feel so miserable and hideous that there was no question of either us or anyone else perceiving of ourselves as sexual beings.