Tuesday, July 24, 2018

MacLean & Bruce! Experiential Travel at Its Best!

This morning, minding my own business and dusting a not-dusty Renoir print near the breakfast room, I accidentally overheard my employer and his new lady friend discussing a trip to Europe. Delighted by the possibility, I immediately called my spy confidant at the corporate office to see if she had heard anything about it.

Yes, she said! In fact she'd just gotten an early morning email from the lady-of-the-moment asking her to investigate renting a small castle in Scotland - large enough to accommodate twelve people for a ten-day golf outing and birthday celebration. It's not clear who's birthday, hers I suspect. Certainly not my cranky old employer's who was born on the first of January - which makes it seriously hard to enjoy New Year's day.

Anyhow, needless to say I was overjoyed! Ten days is a good long while. Thinking fast, I told her about my Twitter pals Charles MacClean and David Bruce in Scotland who specialize in this very thing. As you may recall, a while back I wrote an essay about Experiential Travel.Well, it seems MacLean and Bruce, along with their partner Vikki, are experts at handling this very thing.

Far from the madding crowd of most mass-service tour operators, this dedicated team relies on their deep roots in Scotland and their network of family and friends to create unique and highly individualized holiday experiences for each and every one of their clients - whom they welcome as friends. Not only can they find a castle, but they can also book transportation, restaurant reservations, golf outings, Whiskey tours, entertainment events, sight seeing, and unique shopping spots off the beaten path. Here's a look at their dreamy website.

Now, if you want your castle fully staffed these fellows can provide a chef, chauffeur, valets, maids, even a butler is so desired. In fact they conduct their own butler training classes. A couple of times a year they team up with another favorite Twitter friend Grant Harrold, publicly known as The Royal Butler. Not only has Grant been in service to various members of the Royal Family, but he now conducts etiquette and butler classes at  the renowned Blenheim Palace in the UK. Here's a link to his splendid school, The Royal School of Butlers.

You can't imagine how much I'd love to join these guys for a few refresher courses. Mind you, I have all the basic skills about running a luxury home, entertaining large parties, and international protocol. But the thing is my attitude sucks. Really bad. And I could use some adjustment in that area.

It's one thing to be in service to royalty - where history, admiration and respect come into play. But quite another to tolerate the silly mindless needs of the new rich in America. If it weren't for the high-dollar paychecks I'd be out of here in a flash. (And you see, right there - that's the attitude that needs adjusting!)

If you'd like to follow these gentlemen on Twitter, Charles and David's Twitter name is @MacLeanAndBruce. And Grant's name is @TheRoyalButler. There's a lot of fun tweeting and new ideas being shared right along. Grant even gives brief and humorous etiquette lessons in the tight space of one-or-two sentences as allowed by Twitter - to which I always look forward.

In spite of seriously crappy weather this year, I do hope you're having a good summer. Mercifully cooler weather is just around the corner and all the fun holidays that autumn brings.

As always, thanks for dropping by this evening,


Monday, June 25, 2018

My Employer Is Flat Out Crazy!

It's only June but it's already hot as the dickens right now, more like something we'd expect in August! At least the summer solstice arrived this week and our dear planet earth starts to tilt northward again, one slow day at a time until Autumn arrives. I for one can't wait! Cooler temps, football games, and all the crazy holidays headed our way.

I don't know if it's the heat that's affecting both me and my employer but we've been at odds lately. On a huge property like this I'm pretty good at hiding out and conveniently running errands without ever having to come face to face with him. In fact sometimes there's ten-day to two-week stretches when we never see each other at all. But when we do there's nothing but whining, bickering and quarreling about every damned little thing around here:

He: There's a couple of tree lights out in the driveway.
Me: Yes, bulbs do burn out, don't they?
He: When you find the time would you mind changing the batteries in my remote?
Me: Certainly Sir, I've been waiting all day for such a challenge.
He: Why's the TV not working?
Me: Because it's raining and I'm not the one who chose satellite for this house!
He: Are you happy here Andrew?
Me: About what Sir, if I might ask?

The thing is, in my mind the rich have nothing very much to complain about in this life. They have luxurious secure housing, as much gourmet food as they want or need, top-dollar health insurance, vacations, travel - and free time out the wazoo. What else on earth is there to grumble about?

The big rub right now is that he has a new girlfriend - I've lost count but she's like seventh or eighth since the divorce several years back. Some last a few months, some a couple of years, but this new one has a strange grip that I've not seen before. She's like a Goody two-shoes type (nothing wrong with that) but she's planted Bibles all over the house, including the old man's bedside table. And she's even coaxed him into going to church on Sunday mornings - which is way too late in my opinion.

So here's how it goes: the pharmacy delivers Viagra to the house on Saturday, they go to church on Sunday morning, then come home and fornicate all afternoon. Which is fine, I'm no one's judge - and it certainly does keep them out of my hair for the day.

But the other thing is my employer is getting up there in years and showing signs of dementia and paranoia. Which is scary! He has total recall of things that never happened, and in his mind everyone is trying to steal from him or screw him in some kind of way. He'll devour an entire can of nuts while watching a soccer game, then claim the next day that someone stole his cashews. It's not just the house-staff here that gets the evil eye, but the office staff as well. He'll approve a new purchase or renovation for a property he owns, but then forget about his approval and chew everyone out for spending his money! This gets old really fast. How can we know what to do without running afoul of the bear?

The good news tonight is that my spy confidant at the office said the pilot has been alerted and the old man and new woman will be away during the week of July 4th celebrations - a much needed respite for all of us! And I think if I'm wise I need to sit down and update my resume while it's quiet around here for a few days. Who knows what the future may bring?

Thanks for dropping by this evening. I hope you're planning some fun events for the Fourth. I'd love to be with my family for some outdoor grilling and homemade ice cream, but it's not in the cards this year. House sitting and dog sitting are never-ending tasks, whether the old man is here or not.