Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Stick with what you know...

A little while ago, i read 'Hotel Babylon'.

I'd seen it on the telly, thought it was ok, but never got round to reading the original book.

Bearing in mind that i have been in the hotel industry, on and off, for over 20 years, i could certainly identify with a lot of it.

I've worked in hotels where i've had to send the chambermaids off on a cockroach inspection before guests were allowed to their rooms.

I've had the fun of finding photographic equipment set up for a porno shoot in a luxury suite.

I've had to track down some weird and wonderful things for guests late into the night, including a brace of pheasants for a couple who were checking out at 11.00pm, a particular brand of dog biscuit for a woman who had no dog with her (never did get to the bottom of that..), and a video (remember them?) of a particular episode of 'Dallas'.

Thank God there was a chambermaid who had taped every single one.

The book did venture periodically into what the Rich and Famous would ask for while staying in hotels, and it got me thinking about the famous people i met while working in the industry- how i had to 'be' with them and how now, if i meet well known personalities through Sy, i have to remember that i'm not in the industry anymore.

Sy went to drama school with Alexander Siddig- gorgeous fella, who has been in 'Deep Space Nine', 'Syriana', 'Spooks', 'Hannibal' and most recently, BBC1's 'Merlin'.

The first time Sy took me down to his house to stay, i wasn't sure how to 'be'.

My hotel training was niggling at the back of my mind, as on previous occasions of meeting somebody like this was in a hotel, and it would be my job to keep a check on whether there was anything they needed.

I totally lost it when i met his father.

He's a lord.

I dragged Sy to one side.

'How am i going to cope with this?' i hissed.

'What do you mean, Sprouty?'

'Well, they keep plying me with drink and food that i can't even pronounce-i'm way out of my depth. I keep thinking i should offer to clean their toilets...'

Sy laughed.

'Just be you. You can't go wrong.'

So, that first evening wore on...and i was treated like a lady (I want to be treated like that forever!), and these two wonderful men couldn't do enough for me.

After dinner, the conversation turned to the Arts- what else?

Sy, Sid (because that's what everyone calls him) and his lovely father started talking about Greek Tragedies, good old drama school, books i'd never heard of and the such like.

I knew now i was way out of my depth.

So i stuck with what i knew.

I got up, went to the sink, and did all the washing up.

Well, there comes a point when everyone shines...

Happy New Year to all you lovely followers and to everyone who takes the time to read my ramblings.

Let's hope 2009 is good to us all.

And if you haven't had a good look round the site recently, please do take a couple of extra minutes to see what's changed.

And if you would be kind enough to cast a vote for whether i should interview my writer, i'd be really grateful.

Please keep the question suggestions coming in- some of them are fab!

Till next year,

Shakespeare's Housekeeper xxx

Friday, 26 December 2008

In the (christmas) spirit...

Thank God for that.

The stress and worry is now over for another year.

Don't get me wrong- i love Christmas on the whole- and i'm always the first one up, every Christmas morning.

This year it was a 6.00am start.

The stress and worry was because i didn't know for sure whether i would get Sy away from his computer long enough to eat Christmas dinner with us.

This year, for the first time ever, we had friends to join us. We used to visit family, but that was even more stressful, as we spent half the day in the car, and had to eat two full Christmas was always the sprouts that finished us off.

So, the day started nicely- i got up, made the vat of coffee, opened the bottle of scotch and fed the cats.

I woke up Darling Daughter (can you believe, i have never, ever had her wake me on a Christmas morning- not even when she was little... can't decide if i am blessed or i have bred a mutant strain of a child. Whichever, there would be many parents who would kill for the gene, i'm sure.)

I woke up Sy, told him it was Christmas (see earlier post regarding waking The Writer up) and finally, we were all downstairs opening the presents.

This year was fab- loads of books (of course), mountains of hand-cream (yet to see if any beat udder cream), bottles of Champagne (have hidden most of these until a book sells) and several tins of scottish shortbread (Sy had told nearly everyone that he liked the pictures on the tins- i hope to God he eats all the bloody shortbread and Darling Daughter only do chocolate hobnobs.)

As we opened presents, i could see Sy furtively looking towards the computer.

I could see he was trying to work out whether he would manage to get on it and do some work while i was cooking the dinner.

And i worried about this.

Because i knew that if he went on it, even for five minutes, that would be that.

No Sy for Christmas dinner.

So i was ruthless and brutal. Just for once.

'You are going to help me in the kitchen today' say's i.

'But you never want me in the kitchen at Christmas, Sprouty' came the plaintive reply.

'Well, i do this year. We have friends coming...remember? There are things i need you to do.'

Sy came into the kitchen and sat forlornly at the table. In fact, he looked so dejected and lost, i broke a kitchen rule, which is to never allow a book at the table.

Once he had one of his new books in his hands, he was much happier.

Dinner went well, the friends came and went, everything was tidied up and that was that.

But Sy was still itching to go online.

I can't blame him really- His stuff on Authonomy is doing really, really well, and he was missing his friends on the forums ( now he's discovered them, he keeps banging on about them. I nod and smile and, inside, scream that i know how fab forums are- how does he think i've kept myself occupied all these years while he's been writing?)

I figure by late afternoon, it might be safe to let him fire his baby up.

But, horror of horrors, the internet security package has expired.

On Christmas day.

And to be fair, we knew time was running out, but you know what it's like....

'You can't use it' say's i.

' i know. i might lose everything...' say's Sy, looking ghostly white.

'We'd better leave it till tomorrow..' say's i.

'Yes' say's Sy, while twitching quite furiously.

What i didn't tell him until this afternoon, was that we can have free security off the web, if you know where to look.

I did think about telling him earlier, but i was enjoying the fact that my husband was actually talking to me properly.

Till next time,

Shakespeare's Housekeeper xx

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

King Arthur moves forward...i think.

As you know, Sy has had His 'Arthur' book out in the publishing ether for quite a while.
But, with the sale of books in general being a bit precarious at the moment, Sy has decided to try and give it some publicity, in the form of the Harpers Collins Authors site;

He posted details of the book five days ago, and the result has been pretty phenomenal.
Although publishers are doing there damndest to scramble away from manuscripts, it would seem the lovely readers and other writers of the world are not.

Sy's book 'Commanding Youth' has shot up the Authonomy charts in five days, to the point where it is number 4 on the weekly list, number 1 on the biography list and number 1 on the history list.
Out of over 4000 manuscripts, he is in the main chart, as i write, at number 139.

This could change at any moment of course....and not always for the better.
On the upside, this has given him a real boost- there are people out there who want to know about the real 'Arthur'.
But of course, there is a downside.
Sy has alway's said that he would never go on any forums.
Well that's all changed.
Because Authonomy has a brilliant networking forum on it's site.
Lot's of new virtual friends, who are supportive of his work.

And just you try and get him off it.

if you get a minute, go and check it out.

And in the meantime, i'll see if i can pull Sy away from it long enough to take the scraps to the compost bin.
Yes, love, that means you.

Till next time,
Shakespeare's Housekeeper xx

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Why The Writer drinks and i don't.

Massively busy week.

Although i'm sure there are women all over the globe up to their eyes in it at the moment.

One of my ladies is in hospital and it's looking a bit on the black side for her....Broken elbow has turned into being fluid on the lungs and no mobility at at all, so lot's of hospital visits.

Another one has a husband with Alzheimers, so i'm trying to keep an eye on them too.

There's more to being a housekeeper than you think.

Christmas shopping, presents, decorations, family visits...the list goes on.

But i have parties this week.

In fact, i have one this afternoon.

But it's the one i had two days ago that concerns me.

Because i can't remember an awful lot about it.

Indeed, whereas in younger days, memories would come back in dribs and drabs, like some kind of daytime knightmare, and i would just have to cope with each horrific thought as it smashed through my head, these days i have to rely on others to fill in the blanks.

And all this because i chose to have a drink.

There is a group of ladies that meet up once a month where i live- a bit like a WI, but without the jam and Jerusalem.

There are about thirty of them, and i would say about 90% have lived in the area only for a few years.

Now, i have valiantly tried to avoid getting involved with this group, as i'm not terribly keen on the whole 'My house is bigger than your's' thing.

But i have finally been cornered, asked to join ('We need new blood...' bloody cheek) and so off i went to the grand Christmas Dinner at the new village hall on Tuesday night.

The wine was free.

Loads of it.

and i seemed to be the only one drinking the bottles of white.

Maybe i was the only one drinking...

The Piscean in me took over, and i went for it.

There are only two things that i can remember from the night.

1. Discussing last years Father Christmas (of course, i wasn't there, but i know him, he's a bloody good looking bloke- if only i'd joined this group earlier...)

I wanted to know why we weren't having the same fella this year (apparently he was just to scared to come again).

2;I remember the new Father Christmas coming in, and recognising him at once.

He doesn't like windfarms, and as you lovely readers know, Sy and me are all for them, and there is a big hoo-ha going on about the plans for ten of them being built around here.

Well, with copius amounts of the vino on board i took it on myself to make him as uncomfortable as possible.

I didn't want to wait for my turn in the queue, so i staggered over to him, shoved the woman who was sat on his knee off, sat on him, and told him i wanted a huge wind turbine for Christmas.

I think it all went a bit quiet at this point.

'Why don't you have a dig in my sack?' he mumbled.

'And why would i want to do that?' says me.

'I don't think i can get you a turbine..'He wheezed (well, i was still bouncing on his knee).

'Well, you're not much of a bloody Santa are you? The least you could have done is set up in the sideroom, and i'm sure all of us would have paid good money to have a lapland dance from you.'

I wonder if i'm onto something there...?

I was smartly tipped off his knee, resumed my seat, and had a small round of applause off my fellow wind turbine supporters (we have to sit together- safety in numbers.)

I'm hoping over the next few days friends will come and tell me about the rest of the night.

Once i've been the topic of gossip for a day or two anyway.

And no, i'm not drinking this afternoon...

This one is for you Charmaine!

Till next time,

Shakespeare's Housekeeper. x

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

At last...There are others like me.

Brilliant programme on tele last night.

Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe.

Sy loves this, i can only assume, because it hurls scorn on the world of television.

I watch it with him, if only to keep an eye on The Writer, and make sure he doesn't die of a coronary while he's either laughing or jumping up and down in agreement with what's being said.

Last night it was about writers.

Russell T Davies, Tony Jordan, Graham Linehan (ahhh, go on, go on, go on. Don't you just miss Father Ted so much?) and Paul Abbott.

So i had my hands full, i can tell you.

Sy had told me once, that one of his projects had gone head to head with a project from one of the above mentioned.

And seeing as all the above you will have heard of, you can guess what the outcome was.

The programme was brilliant though. Loads of interesting stuff, and as i watched it, i knew my Writer was not really that mad.

I'm going to change that.

it made me realise that all writers are as mad as each other.

That's better.

Tony Jordan talked about writing his 'Dot Cotton' monologue for 'Eastenders'.

He went to his study with a bottle of Bacardi, a bottle of coke and forty fags.

He said how he wrote and drank and smoked and at 4.00am, he was woken by his wife Tracey, bringing him a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich.

He came too, smeared in dribble and fag ash, having been face down asleep on the keyboard, and realised he had finished the piece.

Been there, done that, seen it time and time again.

But what stuck out for me, the moment i knew i wasn't alone, was when he said that his wife brought him food and drink.

At 4.00am.

And i knew that i wasn't alone.

Till next time,

Shakespeare's Housekeeper xx

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