Serendipity

 

 

For JH

Serendipity was the name of a very new and exciting shop in Notting Hill Gate in

the sixties. I never actually went inside because I had no money, but I

would press my nose to the window and look longingly at the mixture of

colourful home furnishings and useless but pretty objets, not

necessarily d’art. I would pass the shop two or three evenings a week on my

way to the Ladbroke Gardens Hotel where I worked as an evening

waitress. This was my very first job in London when I was fifteen. (I

don’t count potato picking in Wales when I was eight!)

 

The hotel was run by the parents of my boarding school friend Jackie.

They were Swiss, extremely hospitable and kind and they paid me half a

crown for two hours work, serving the residents their evening meal. The

residents were all long stay guests, elderly, and didn’t eat very much.

But oh, so fussy ‐ at least some of them. The crackers and cheese had to

be just so ‐ but the best job was curling the butter pats. Oh what skills I

acquired, rarely to be used since!

 

The two hours would fly by, and then the best part of the evening. The

whole family: Jackie, her two younger brothers, her parents and I would

sit down to a fabulous meal made by Cookie ‐ and gorge on the

most delicious food. Then I’d go home again, richer by two and six, and ready for the evening!

 

Still not enough to buy anything in Serendipity, but a girl could dream!

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