Sunday, 8 May 2011

You are fired! And then what?

The Manor House Hotel, seen from the lawn
Since I told you all about my job as a receptionist at the Manor House Hotel in Castle Combe (England), I bet you would like to know what happened to me after I got fired.

First of all I need to set the scene of course: the manager of the hotel had called me into his office at the back of the hotel. Nothing glamourous at all, just a tiny little office guarded by his secretary. I was asked to sit down and then he told me about the complaints and how they could not keep me on at reception. I was of course shocked and also quite outraged: why had nobody said anything sooner so I could mend my ways? I never did receive a satisfactory answer to that, probably because he wasn't my biggest fan in the first place, but he did continue to say that: 'even though I don't feel that you would be suitable for reception over here, we would like to keep you working for this company. So, where would you like to work?'

Excuse me? Was he offering me a job in the hotel he just sacked me from? Well yes, he did! In retrospect I think it might have something to do with the fact that me working the front desk and him being out in the front so often and us meeting quite often wasn't something he wanted. However if I were anywhere else in the hotel he wouldn't be running into me every day (and before you ask, there was never anything more going on than mutual antipathy). I think he gave me a few days to think about it.

The restaurant
Needless to say I did some severe thinking. First of all: did I want to stay at the hotel? And that was a yes. And second: where did I want to work? I went over all the different departments in the hotel in my head. Housekeeping: nope, getting up early every morning and having to turn down the beds every night didn't appeal to me at all. Gardening? No need really, there were already three gardeners and they could handle their work with ease (although speaking of the gardeners, every Christmas I would be invited by the head gardener Tom to have dinner with him and the other two gardeners). Kitchen then and become a chef? Godfried of Bouillon no! Having to deal with the head chef from reception was bad enough, having to deal with him in the kitchen would be hell! Besides, I didn't want to be stuck on peeling potatoes and carrots every single day!

In the end I decided on the restaurant. Become a waitress. I would work from 10am to about 2pm and then again from 6pm until the last guest had left. I would set the tables, fold napkins, polish silver and glasses and serve food. I got into quite a few fights with the head chef, he made me blush even more often (and before you ask: no, there was never anything going on between us, apart from reluctant sympathy) and basically enjoyed my life as a waitress.

There were weddings, Japanese coach parties and the occasional VIP, the worst being Mr Orzabal from Tears for Fears. Not that he wasn't nice or friendly, his problem was he would arrive on a Sunday night at about a quarter to nine! And the kitchen would usually close at nine. Our one night where we might actually get off early and he had to spoil it!!

The uniform
The best thing about the job were the hours. You could have a lie-in in the morning and you were off during the afternoon, unless you were serving afternoon tea which was brilliant: nobody looking over your shoulder. The worst part was definitely the uniform. A black short sleeved dress and a white pinnafore with the bands crossed at the back. It looked nice and olde worlde, but the chamber maids wore the same uniform! It was extremely hot during the summer months, where tea would be served outside and so so cold during the winter when you had to take roomservice to the cottages on occasion (which had numbers by the way).

The restaurant team, the fourth person from the left is the restaurant manager
After a while I got a promotion which meant no more afternoon tea service for me and I was allowed to boss my colleagues about. Which was brilliant. But after a year and a half, the monotony got to me and I wanted to get out. I should have asked my boss to get me relocated to a different restaurant, but in the end I quit and went home to my parents.

By the way: when I went to ask the hotel manager for an advance on my wages, he refused. Until I told him I was leaving and he couldn't get the money out of the safe fast enough!


  1. Your use if "brilliant" shows what kind of English you learned. We don't say that over here -- although I like it and must begin to if I think of it.

  2. Wonderful! Is there nothing you haven't turned your hand to?

  3. Glad you were able to continue to work. Wow, what a uniform! You have such an interesting life. Thanks for sharing. I love knowing all these details about you.

  4. Yes you have led an interesting life. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

  5. you look so cute in your outfit
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  6. Great story and I love that photo of you in uniform. Cute!


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