Editor’s comment: February 2018

Mike Lowe, editor of Cotswold Life

Mike Lowe, editor of Cotswold Life - Credit: Archant

How many points can our Cotswold Life editor Mike Lowe tick off the ‘What Makes a Gentleman’ list?

I like to think that I am a well-rounded person. I know my manners; I know how to behave. I’ve been brought up proper. I know how to greet Royalty. I get out of the bath to have a wee. Having said that, I am far from the Cotswold Toff envisaged by the London-based writers of another countryside magazine, which a while ago produced a list of ‘What Makes a Gentleman’. So would I pass the test? Let’s see. Apparently, a gentleman:

Negotiates airports with ease. Hmm, I can just about manage, although the maze-like two-mile trek to your gate doesn’t make it much fun.

Never lets a door slam in someone’s face. Definitely OK with this one. I always hold the door open for ladies, although these days a proportion of them scowl at me as if I’d made a disparaging remark about their Doc Marten boots.

Can train a dog and a rose. Afraid not. The lurcher and the whippet remain resolutely ill-disciplined. And every time I go near a rose, I come away bleeding profusely.

Is aware that facial hair is temporary, but a tattoo is permanent. Yep, even I can work that one out. We’ll just not mention the tattoo of Valerie Singleton on my right bicep.

Possesses at least one well-made dark suit, one tweed suit and a dinner jacket. Box ticked. Although all three are straining at the seams these days.

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Avoids lilac socks and polishes his shoes. Objection. Nothing wrong with extravagant socks, but of a single colour. Comedy socks – The Simpsons, Wallace and Gromit etc – are a definite no-no. Likewise ties.

Turns his mobile to silent at dinner. Usually. Unless United are playing.

Carries house guests’ luggage to their rooms. Of course, but only if the butler is having a day off.

Is unafraid to speak the truth. Well, to a point, Lord Copper. There is such a thing as self-preservation, particularly in the boardroom (or the bedroom).

Knows when to clap. I once clapped a quite brilliant eulogy at a funeral. I was alone for a few tense seconds and then the rest of the mourners joined in. We should clap more at funerals.

Arrives at a meeting five minutes before the agreed time. Always. I detest unpunctuality, in myself and others. Particularly in myself.

Is good with waiters. Definitely. They’re often overworked, often underpaid, and can make the difference between a good night out and a miserable experience.

Can undo a bra with one hand. Well it’s been some time, but, like riding a bike, a skill once mastered is never forgotten.

Sings lustily in church. Too lustily, I am informed.

Is not vegetarian. Are you daft? Eating meat is a form of community service in these parts. And don’t get me started on the ‘hobby’ vegans.

Can sail a boat and ride a horse. Who do you think I am? Harrison Ford?

Never kisses and tells. Discretion is the better part of valour, as Falstaff almost said.

Cooks an omelette to die for. Oh yes. I’m the principal omelette chef in our house, although if I get carried away with the leftovers in the fridge there’s a danger it might turn into a frittata.

Knows when to use an emoji. What’s an emoji?

Would never own a Chihuahua. A ridiculous idea. Can you seriously see me carrying a canine rat around in a man bag?

Has read Pride and Prejudice. Yes, at A-level. Hated every word of it.

Can tie his own bow tie. As long as I can get the little hook into the little latch.

Knows the difference between a rook and a crow. You can eat rook pie.

Sandals? No. Never. Unfair. Try stomping around Liguria in a pair of country brogues.

Wears a rose, not a carnation. I usually wear a look of mild bewilderment, but I don’t think that counts.

Swats flies and rescues spiders. Seems fair enough.

Demonstrates that making love is neither a race nor a competition. See the answer to the bra question above.

Never blow dries his hair. What hair?

Knows that there is always an exception to a rule. Well thank goodness for that.

Totting up, I think I may just have squeaked it. Proper, but not prescriptive. Just like the Cotswolds in fact.

For more from Mike, follow him on Twitter! @cotslifeeditor