You know that first impressions are important? Sometimes not always...
My arrival at Balmoral was in the middle of the morning, just enough time to get shown to my room above the old stable block behind the main castle, get changed and head down to the kitchens to be shown my duties which were many and varied.
We had kitchen porters to do the heavy stuff, and peel potatoes but with a small portion of the staff at Balmoral, we all had to pitch in and help. My main duty was to ensure that all the chefs had what they needed and keep supplying cups of coffee/tea as well as prepare the breakfast for them...good job that I had been a dab hand at cooking bacon and sausages... I let someone else to the eggs..
The chefs always ate separately to the rest of the kitchen staff, we ate with the mere mortals, they would not lower themselves to our level and always made sure they had the best stuff for themselves; perks of the job I suppose.
We worked split shifts, after lunch was served and the kitchens cleaned, we were free until 5pm when we would start the evening service so usually had a couple of hours off to either sleep, chat, watch tv or just relax.
Because I was used to walking the dogs, I used to take myself off on the hills, after first being told which roads I was allowed to walk on; there was one specific road that came from the castle down to the river which was reserved for the royal family and the hangers on. One particular afternoon, when the hills were gently bathed in light drizzle I was out on the hills getting progressively wetter so up went the hood of my dufflecoat, and my hands in the pockets and I headed back down to the Castle.
I could see the solitary figure of the woman as she walked down the road from the castle, with her clear plastic umbrella protecting her from the worst of the rain, and realised my path and hers were going to cross at the point the road and the path met at the river.. It didn't occur to me who it was at the time, only that they shouldn't be on that path as it was strictly verboten.
As I slid gracelessly from the muddy path onto the road, about 3 ft away, she lifted her umbrella and said "Good Afternoon, quite muddy isn't it?" and I realised that I was in fact being addressed by HM the Queen... I mumbled something, I think, it may even have been a word of English - I am not really certain and we both passed on our respective ways. HM on her walk and me down by the river back to the castle.
I often wondered after that incident as to what she thought of her latest employee as to be greeted by a moron must have made her wonder what was going on back at the servants Quarters..
- No news yet on S&P... will update after 1pm as that is the earliest we can hear... but we do have a fall back plan.