Greetings and Farewells among the ladies of the aristocratic persuasion are indeed a dance. They are not simple. There is the preparation before someone arrives, the reminding her Ladyship who is coming to Lunch, who they are, how she knows them and often to discover that she doesn’t really like them!!
Then it’s getting her prepared and reminding her closer to the time of the arrival. Often there is a call from the incoming visitor that they will need some help to alight from the Taxi. Which of course because I am the resident slave and mistress of all, will do, so I go out to the Taxi, parked on the street to be greeted by the driver who is trying desperately to get rid of his client.
Of course, she is firmly lodged in the back of the taxi and can’t physically get out!! so between the Taxi driver and I manoeuvre her out. Finally, she is standing on the pavement together with her walker and we make a very slow trip to the front door.
Reaching the interior we face the stairs, her Ladyship is upstairs in the drawing-room, so now this old thing has to get upstairs. She is all Lavender and Lace, quite sweet in many ways but laborious, finally, with much coaching and cajoling, she makes it to the first floor and into her ladyship’s Drawing Room.
Greetings and Farewells
It is at this stage, the Greetings begin. It is like watching a pair of LOVE birds in mating season. They both congratulated each other on how well they look and ask why they haven’t seen each other in ages? They again kiss and remark on various items of clothing and then the gaze drifts to the interior of the room. This too needs remarking on, ‘Oh how wonderful that painting is, and I do love your Lilies” all of this goes on for a while before either of them will sit.
Now it’s time for wine, for them not me, unfortunately…. So the Butler/Housekeeper appears as if by magic to supply them with a glass of the finest. At last, we can leave them in peace until they decide to eat.
I wait for the rumblings of their movement and deftly make an appearance when they are ready to descend to the Dining Room, this is a major mission as I now have this rather large Lavender and Lace woman about to decline three sets of stairs!!
Miraculously, they are seated and comfortable in the Dining Room and the Butler is serving them, starters etc
For now, I can take a break, what can go wrong??..they will complain about the food, the time it takes to serve and etc. They must prove they are discerning it’s a part of being well-bred!! get me out of here now!!
Eventually, the meal is over and now they will make their way back to the Drawing room, now remember both have in them more than a bottle of wine each. (not that I think this is a bad thing, it’s most definitely on my list of to do’s in my 90’s). The navigation up the stairs to get them safely there is something else altogether.
Some time is spent in the drawing-room, I don’t think by this stage either of them knows what the other is talking about and maybe this is positive. They enjoy a glass of port and then coffee it is time for Lavender and Lace to leave!!
Greetings and Farewells
Now we start the goodbyes, they start in the Drawing Room with kisses and thank you’s and continue down the stairs as they navigate their way to the Hallway.
In the Hallway Coats are found and gloves and hats and donned and then to make sure she has her handbag. The taxi arrives and now it is my duty to get her into the taxi!! Another huge exercise in manoeuvring begins!!
I Notice the Taxi driver so tempted to pull away as if on a 999 emergency as he knows what the endgame is, I manage to get her to the Taxi before he disappears.
Once back inside Her Ladyship asks me ‘who was that? You know I don’t like her much!!!’
Give me strength…
This was written whilst caring for an elderly person and the journey prompted the writing of the book ‘Any Age Gap Year – The Complete Guide to ‘Live in Care’ in the UK, you can find more details here https://www.mysixtypluslife.com/any-age-gap-year-the-complete-guide-to-becoming-a-live-in-care-in-the-uk/