Partly for altruistic reasons but mainly motivated by self-serving tendencies I signed up as a member of the National Trust this week. Now, I don't part with my money that easily, take a look at this site and the use of the minimalist ready made template on which these words appear and the tell tale Blogspot advert hanging over it like a curtain valance. But, despite that and the risk of being accused as unfashionable, I reasoned that contributing £32 annually to help preserve the nation's heritage to be a worthwhile gesture, especially with the benefits of "free entry" to all NT sites country wide. And, as it happens, a bonus I knew nothing about, a fast track entry on the day into the site you've chosen to visit. I believe current cardholders would regard my latest experience as typical:
" Any members in the queue just walk this way;" hollers the matronly lady in the tones of a real life Hyacinth Bucket. The tweed suit and granite hard shoes forming a perfect unison with the spectacles dangling round her neck locked in an interminable battle of ascendancy with the inevitable twin set and pearls. The self-styled uniform favoured by middle class women voluntary workers. "Don't dawdle (she nearly said), but did say; " It's all right, you're members, they, however,"- here she makes a disapproving squinny at the agitated line - "are not". I make a sideways self conscious 1982 Lady Di style squinny of my own at the resentful faces in the queue, which look back at me and seem to suggest, " Queue jumper, may you rot in the foulest hell - hole in hell!" I return a sickly grin, but inside I am thinking haughtily; "Receive a life, privilege on payment."