Sunday, 14 August 2005

The Way We Were - Switzerland

Can anybody remember where we were????

I think I'd got back from my whistle stop tour of various countries and now back to wondering what the future holds. Eugen has written to his family to ask for their help in finding me a job. I was thrilled to receive a letter very quickly from an English woman who was married to a Swiss Manufacturer and living in St Gallen, which is in the German part of Switzerland. Eugen's sister Friedel and her husband lived in St Gallen and it was she who had made enquiries about employment for me. She hoped I would find something suitable as she was looking forward to meeting me!

A flurry of letter passed between myself and the English woman. She was looking for someone to help with general housework, her present helper had been called home to help on the family farm. I thought it sounded ideal - working for an English woman meant no immediate problems with the language and how difficult can housework be?????? Lol!

Just six weeks after receiving that first letter - all arrangements had been made for me to go and work in Switzerland! Eugen was not best pleased - he told me that I should wait for other offers of work and not just go for the first one. I'm a bit surprised at his grumpy attitude - maybe he's miffed because I've got my life on track and he hasn't - or maybe he is going to miss me.........

I have received a list of things that Mrs. B wants me to buy for her (I refer to my new employer as Mrs. B throughout my diary and now cannot remember her full name lol!) She wants Helena Rubenstein lipstick, Max Factor powder, and funnily enough - a bottle of Roses Lime Juice! Her favourite tipple is gin and lime - but she can’t get lime juice in Switzerland.

Would you believe it - I got a phone call from P & O asking me to join one of their ships! Haven’t heard a thing from them since the interview, then suddenly I’m summoned to start work! Too late - Switzerland here I come......

It turned out to be a frantic few weeks, one way and another - of course there had to be a leaving party or three, also I have got to know a young lady called Kathy who keeps ringing up to speak to Gene. She has been out of luck on several occasions, so I said I would ring her and let her know when Gene was next in the hotel. She came round to the hotel to meet Gene and stayed to have a chat with me, we have now got into the habit of meeting up for lunch. I told her I had been on the panel of ATV’s Thank Your Lucky Stars, and she said how much she would like to go on the panel too. I got in touch with Alan Freeman, the producer (not the DJ) and he made arrangements for us both to go to the Studios next week.

We went down to the Birmingham Studios by train and had a fabulous day. Craig Douglas was on the show along with The Merseybeats. Kathy and I were watching the rehearsals when Craig suddenly saw me and, much to my surprise, waved to me! (must have thought I was someone else lol) Kathy fancies one of the Merseybeats and is getting on very well with him......We went in the canteen and sat with Alan Freeman, Jimmy Saville and Brian Matthew. Brian asked me if I would like to be on the panel next week - I told him I’d already had my turn, but he said that was ok, I could have another go - so I shall be coming back here next week!

Kathy and I have been chatting with Janice Nichols who is a regular panellist and became known as the ‘Oil give it foive’ girl and the other guest panellist, Diana Vero, who is secretary to Brian Epstein - naturally we grill her about The Beatles!

At the end of a most interesting day, Kathy has accepted a lift back to London with The Merseybeats in their van and I have opted to go back with Alan and some of the others in his comfortable jag!

My brother Maurice and his wife Jan came up to London for the day on Monday, and to take some of the three years of accumulated belongings back to Sheffield for me. It’s a funny old world - yesterday I was in Birmingham, today I’m in London, and yet as we were going down Oxford Street and got stuck in the traffic at Marble Arch, I saw that in the open topped car along side of us were the camera men from Thank Your Lucky Stars - I don’t know who was the most surprised! Then driving along Knightbridge towards Ashley Court - saw Alan Freeman in his distinctive red jag..........

Alasdair Fraser is the manager at Stratters - and a cold hearted fish he is too. Because they need someone to fill my job when I go to Switzerland, he has decided when that is going to be, and isn’t waiting for me to leave, he is transferring me to The Mandeville Hotel just around the corner. I am not best pleased by this - I have enough to arrange without being turfed out of my job before I’m ready to go. He also says I must give up my room at Ashley Court - you wouldn’t think I’d given nearly three years of loyal work to this Company would you! Luckily Mrs Angus has stepped in to help me and says that as long as I am working for the Company, I am entitled to live at Ashley Court, but I have to move in with someone else for the last few days before I leave for Switzerland.

It has been a busy week, and to end it another trip to the Studios in Birmingham. Sunday morning I went over to Alan’s flat in Dolphin Square (very posh!) and waited for the others to arrive - Brian Matthew and a couple of others involved in the show arrived early and we sat around chatting and joking for a while, everyone seems to be in high spirits. We stopped at a pub to have lunch and laughed all the way through it, although I’m not sure what we were laughing at. I think the pub was called The Old Dun Cow, as I remember us all singing " The old Dun cow ain’t what she used to be" the rest of the way to Birmingham!

I was sitting in the stalls, watching rehearsals, when someone came to sit beside me - to my surprise I found myself gazing into a pair of teasing blue eyes - Mike Sarne’s! (he had a hit with Wendy Richards called ‘Come outside’). He had a cheeky but disarming grin on his face, as he told me that he knew all about me (!!) This was the guy who’d had flings with many beautiful and famous women, including Brigit Bardot, so I couldn’t help but feel flattered at his interest in me, but also all the more wary.........

A few of us met up in his dressing room later, it was a jolly group, but eventually there was just me and Mike........naturally he had to make a pass or two, and although he had a very badly pock marked skin, he wasn’t a bad looking bloke, nevertheless, I didn’t really fancy him, and his offers of taking me out on the town the next evening didn’t tempt me in anyway.

I went back to London with the same crowd I came down with. We all went back to Alan’s flat for a very late supper, we had a good laugh - they had some interesting stories to tell...... Eventually I was dropped off at Ashley Court around 2.0am, and I loved the fact that although I was just an ordinary working girl, my address was probably much posher than any of theirs......... ;-)

It will be my birthday in a few days time and I shall be celebrating it in Switzerland, so Eugen is taking me out to dinner at out favourite place on Ken High - the El Sombrero. We have been here often for coffee and cakes, but during the evening it is more of a night club - good food, dimmed lights.....and a Cabaret......

We had a lovely evening, Eugen told me more about his family and his ambitions..........and he’s told me that he’s handed in his notice and will be going home to Switzerland in about a months time - he says we will celebrate my birthday again, there!

I feel quite shell shocked at this news - Eugen said that he would not return to Switzerland as he felt trapped living at home. He knows his parents' dearest wish is for him to take over the family business. He says that everyone will be thinking that he is following me, but insists that he’s simply had enough of Alasdair Fraser and just feels the need to move on.

My best friends, Janet and Bernie came to my room for a long girly chat - Janet leaves for Paris in two weeks time to take up a job in a French family as a Nanny - we have all promised to keep in touch.

Today I go to Switzerland and it’s raining cats and dogs! Eugen is coming to help me with my luggage and take me to the West London air terminal in Cromwell Road. Because of the rain we cannot get a taxi and we are running out of time. It is quite a walk to the terminal from the top of Queensgate, but Eugen says we do not have any choice and we will try to get a taxi on the way. How on earth Eugen managed to carry my two heavy suitcases, I will never know - but we ended up having to walk the whole way there and we both looked like drowned rats! Not the best image of me to leave with Eugen, and I only just managed to catch the bus by the skin of my teeth - we didn’t even manage a kiss goodbye.........sob.