THE east Surrey town of Tandridge has been declared the housewife capital of Britain, with more ‘yummy mummies’ than anywhere else.

A study found that 64 per cent of women in the area – described by residents as ‘full of body-conscious yummy mummies’ – did not work.

When I was growing up, my mum didn’t work, and the majority of my friends’ mothers didn’t work either. In fact, most of the village was populated by non-working mothers – but they weren’t in the slightest bit yummy.

They didn’t spend their time preening and having their hair done. They spent most of their time doing domestic chores, cooking, cleaning and making beds.

Most days they wore aprons on top of their clothes and, more often than not, had a tea towel slung over their shoulder. This look remains popular with my mum, who has carried it on into her seventies.

They certainly didn’t trot around in running shorts and vest, fresh from the gym. Other than the one in our school, there weren’t any gyms. No-one had even heard of aerobics or workouts. There wasn’t such a thing as a tanning salon.

One or two mothers would lie on sun beds in the garden in summer, but that was it.

What I want to know is, when did mummies start becoming yummy? At what point in recent history did they ditch the dirty laundry and washing-up in favour of the nail bar and power treadmill?

The yummy mummies in Tandridge drive 4x4s. Some drove these when I was young, but they were farmers’ wives and the vehicles were Land Rovers. Far from being status symbols, they were covered in mud, had torn seats and had couple of sheepdogs in the back.

The yummy mummies are also described as being size six or eight. The mums of my childhood were altogether chunkier, but they didn’t seem stressed about it.

In the past, stay-at-home mums weren’t glam. They were more like than Victoria Wood than Victoria Beckham. They shopped for groceries not designer clothes. Their priorities were their families, not themselves. You didn’t see them hanging around the school gates in gangs dressed to the nines, chatting for three hours about their latest spa-break.

I don’t know what has happened in between. The cost of living was not as high back then and women on lower incomes managed without jobs. Now most women need to work, and it is mainly those with rich husbands who end up staying at home.

Tandridge sounds a nightmarish place to live. I wonder, is it twinned with Stepford?