I make no apology for the borrowing of, but freely acknowledge as my source The Lady magazine Classifieds for, the following small ad:
Household Couple £60,000, Berkshire Estate
Experienced and loyal household couple for professional husband and wife with a large beautiful estate in Berkshire. Top accommodation provided. The ideal couple need to be enthusiastic and committed to get the job done well. Overseeing gardener and two staff, taking care of maintenance within the grounds, large residence & properties/land with animals within the estate. Experience with art & valuable items a plus. Top housekeeping required; laundry, ironing, cooking (not formal), shopping driving, errands etc. The couple travel up to 3 months per year. Top refs required. Working weekends essential. £60,000 + bens.
I don’t think I’d be particularly loyal to my present employer either, with that kind of money on offer. Downton Abbey rates, it ain’t. Reliable servants are becoming like gold dust nowadays, but sixty grand? That’s almost half a Prime Minister.
Which is why I am particularly pissed-off that, despite my nearly seven years’ experience of looking after a large country mansion for its largely absentee owners, I am still trying to find another job two-and-a-half years after leaving their employ, and broke as hell.
At my ‘stately home’ – a dilapidated Gormenghast of a place, inadequately heated and positively groaning with the spirits of the departed – I was paid just £13k a year to be the gardener, the groundsman, the handyman, the driver, the housekeeper, the cleaner, the cook, the receptionist, the waiter, the barman, the chambermaid, the business manager and PR man, the laundryman and the licensee.
One of the main reasons, I suspect – apart from my age, Special Branch file and dismal credit record – for my lack of subsequent success at finding work may simply be that I am not a ‘couple’.
Unless you count little Hunzi, whose idea of Good Housekeeping is to lick stuff off the floor. Scat, of course, has her award for Good Mousekeeping, although she has taken annoyingly to slaughtering her victims in my bathtub, where I find bloody smears and small organs in the morning.
Still, better than on the Aubusson rug.