Ronnie Barker in drag
It was a dark winter's evening and you could hear the rollers crashing against the Hove seafront. Back on duty at 6pm, I dashed up the steps quickly to avoid the lashing rain, through the revolving doors, and into my office. I was calmly collecting my thoughts when Mary, the all knowing receptionist, popped her head round the door:
“Sorry Mr B, Mrs Peartree up in room 46 is desperate for some champagne and two glasses and no-one else has come in yet, I couldn't leave the desk; would you mind?”
No of course not. Service with a smile. And it'll only take a minute or two. Good for guest contact and all that. I'd deal with the little matter of why there wasn't someone already here to do it later. In the meantime this guest was going to get personal service.
I picked up a tray, crisp white napkins, tow tall glasses, a silver bucket, the champagne, added a little water and the ice, then off I went in the service lift up to the third floor.
I knocked on the bedroom door and a lady's voice called “Come in”. I used my master key to let myself in.
I put the champagne down on the coffee table and asked Mrs Peartree if she'd like me to open the champagne now. Mr Peartree must have been in the bathroom. Mrs Peartree was a vision of....I'm not quite sure what, maybe, a meringue? She looked like Ronnie Barker in drag. Loads of make up, like an ugly sister, and a pink chiffony nightdress thing. The sort I imagined the Queen Mother must have worn. Oh and don't forget the Dame Edna glasses.
I asked if she needed anything else and she told me to pour myself a glass of champagne.
“I can't possibly Mrs Peartree, I have to get back down stairs and prepare for the evening, and anyway I can't drink on duty”.
She'd advanced towards me by now with her glass of champagne in one hand, already half drunk.
“Oh come on, you're the manager, you can take a little time to look after one of your guests, surely?”
She now had a leery grin on her face which reminded me of a slice of water melon. Too much lipstick.
I moved towards the door but she'd anticipated this and now stood between me and my escape. What to do? Ask her to move? Gently guide her away? She was having none of it.
Then suddenly my bleep started going off and I'd been saved. I normally cursed the wretched thing but this time it was a Godsend.
“Ah, sorry Mrs Peartree, must shoot”, and with a that I niftily side-stepped her and got out quickly.
The things you have to put up with when you're a hotel manager.
Of course no-one believed me when I told them. Do you?