On the morning after we had arrived in Cape Town, I received the good news, that my generous offer had been accepted, with just two weeks for settlement, which I was pleased about. I made arrangements for our family to travel to London and to at a south of the river 5-star hotel, while we wait for the settlement to be finalised, and I would spend that time looking for suitable staff to keep the house in order.
Two days after arriving in Cape Town, once I had finalised arrangements with the captain, said hello to Dr and Mrs Jai Chakma-Patwary as they boarded the ship, and made sure that Mrs O’Malley was happy to remain on the ship, even without the family, and the family had packed up all of their luggage, we headed to the airport, to catch a flight to London, with all of us having first class seats for the 15-hour flight, via Johannesburg.
When we arrived at Heathrow, and passed through Customs and Quarantine, I had a hotel limo waiting to collect us and take us to the hotel in Kensington, where I had 2 two-bedroom suites booked for two weeks, to accommodate the twins, Xander and myself.
Once we had checked in, and been shown our suites, I opened my lap top computer and began searching for suitable staff for our new home, which we have an appointment to view the house, before settlement, which will take place the next day.
The twins and Xander had decided to take a short nap before we meet up for lunch in the restaurant downstairs, and I tried unsuccessfully to find an agency that would find suitable staff, as most of the agencies only provided short term staff mostly for hospitality and catering events, or they were too busy and don’t have time to accept any new clients.
When the twins appeared a few hours later, looking freshly showered and changed, they immediately saw that I was not in a good mood, and they suggested that I go and have a shower and change into some fresh clothes, they we all work on getting the right staff for the house, suggesting that maybe we should wait, till we have seen the house so we know what to expect from the staff.
After a shower, and change, I was feeling much better, and the twins were sitting in my lounge chatting in Italian, when I arrived, and they had big smiles on their faces when I walked in. “Ok what is it?” I asked them, suspecting that they had something organised, but not sure what it is.
“Nothing really, we will tell you about it over lunch, now lets’ go and get Xander, and go and have some lunch” Louis replied, and I agreed, and I was pleased that the twins had decided to split up, so Joachim shared a suite with me and Louis shared a suite with Xander. Shortly after, we were sitting down, eating our first meal in the UK, for the first time in some time, as we had occasionally travelled to London for business, and we stayed at this same hotel each time, mainly because of the beautiful views of Kensington Palace and its gardens.
“While you were getting ready, we saw that you had not been very successful in getting any staff, so we decided to make a special call, and we have found a lady who will be perfect for the job, and no, it is not Mary Poppins or Nanny McFee” Joachim announced to me, which made me chuckle at the mention of two fictional characters. “I must admit, that Mary Poppins would be perfect in every way” I said in reply, which had all of us laughing.
“Ok, so seriously, who was this phone call to and do we need to interview her beforehand” I asked, “No need, you have already done that once already” Louis said to me with a huge smile on his face, and after a few moments of thinking, it finally came to me. “Do you mean you have called Mrs Cooper, and she has agreed to come?” I said, in a shocked tone, “Yes and yes, she will be on a flight this time, next week, we have already booked and paid for her 1st class flight” Louis replied.
“Well that is awesome, I am so pleased, she is a wonderful lady, and does some fantastic cooking” I replied happily, “That she does brother, that she does” Joachim said. “I guess we better book a one-bedroom suite for her here as well” I suggested, “Already organised, you are not the only one in the family who is good at making arrangements quickly” Louis said, and I nodded my head in understanding.
Xander, you have not met this lady, but she was your father’s wonderful housekeeper, at Toodyay and in Claremont in Western Australia, we had her settled into one of the houses we owned, and given her a generous retirement pension, but obviously she must be wanting to continue to work, I know you will like her very much” I said to my young cousin.
After lunch, we went and did some sight seeing around the Kensington area, before returning to the hotel for an early dinner, and retiring to bed to get some sleep, to try and overcome the jetlag, although it won’t be so bad, as we did not travel very much in time zones, but on long distance instead.
The following morning, we just relaxed after breakfast, and at 11am, we had a limo take us to our new home on the south side of the river, and I was very pleased with what I saw when we arrived. With a large wall cutting off any views from the main and side streets, and a large front garden with the garages, which are separate from the house, and the house itself was enormous.
After nearly two hours of viewing the house and grounds, we left the property a little over awed at what I had bought, it would be the perfect home base for the family. I decided that I would spend 3 ½ days a week working at the company headquarters in Bern, Switzerland, and the rest of the time in London, leaving London City Airport at 1.10pm on Mondays, arriving in Bern at 3.50pm local time, and leaving Bern at 12 noon on Friday afternoons, and arriving in London at 12.40pm local time, which is one hour ahead of Bern in time zone.
With travel time I would arrive back at home at about 2pm, giving me just under 3 days with the family. Once back at the hotel, we sat down to discuss what to do with the house, and the twins right away said they would take two bedrooms with shared bathroom on the first floor, and Xander said he would have the bedroom, on the first floor, close to the master bedroom, which I would take.
This meant, that we have guest bedroom on the top floor and second bedroom adjoining Xander’s room spare for guests. Because we have such a large house, Louis suggested that Mrs Cooper take on the supervisor role of Housekeeper, and we employ extra staff to take on most of the manual work. Joachim suggested that Mrs Cooper do the breakfast cooking, and that we have a live-out chef do the other meals, with a butler and a maid as the live-in staff.
“How about we wait until Mrs Cooper arrives, then we can decide that to have with her recommendations, as she will know what is best to keep the family home running smoothly, we may need a part time gardener as well, to keep the beautiful gardens in order” I said after hearing all of the suggestions, and everyone agreed to this.
What about accommodation for her, which room will she take?” Louis asked me, “the best one of course, the guest bedroom on the top floor, if she is ok with dealing with the stairs” I replied smiling. Xander announced that he wanted to go up to the hotel pool on the top floor, and I agreed, but asked him to be careful, and not to disturb or annoy any guests, which he agreed to.
The twins decided they would go and do some shopping, and so I retreated to my suite to contact head office in Bern, to let them know of our new plans, and my plans to return to head office 3 ½ days a week. I was on a video conference call with the office, when about half an hour later I received a call on the suite main phone, and I could hear crying as I answered it.
“Xander, is that you, and why are you crying” I asked concerned, “I was just doing laps in the swimming pool, when I was dragged out of the pool and downstairs to the lobby, and they hurt me Sebastian” my cousin sobbed between tears, and I was furious when I heard this, “Where are you buddy?” I asked, “Concierge office in the lobby” Xander replied, “I will be there in a moment” I said and I ended the call and raced out of the suite.
When I reached the Concierge office I saw that the hotel manager, had already arrived, and he looked quite shocked when he saw me enter. “Mr Wagner, is this young man with you?” the hotel manager asked nervously, “Yes he is, Alexander is my first cousin, and he informs me that he was forced out of the swimming pool and dragged down to this office forcibly” I replied angrily, as I motioned Xander to come to me, and he wrapped his arms around my waist.
The manager turned to face the concierge, “Is this what happened to this boy, Mr Jackson?’ the manager asked, “Err yes sir, I think so, one of the porters brought him down here, thought he was a freeloading local” the concierge responded, “Alexander is my ward, he was born and brought up on the Isle of Mann, and lost his mother just recently, and his father died seven years ago, so I am his legal guardian now” I explained.
“I see, well I do humbly apologise for the actions of my staff, I will make sure that nothing like this happens again” the manager replied, I looked down at Xander, who I could feel was still shaking from the experience, and it was then that I made a decision.
“My family and I will be checking out this afternoon, before dinner time, and you cancel the booking that my brothers made for Mrs Cooper for next week also, Good day sir” I announced as I grabbed Xander’s hand and lead him out of the office, and we went up to my suite.
Once there I sent a text message to my brothers, “Return to hotel now, incident with Xander, we are checking out” and I received a reply shortly afterwards, “We have just entered the hotel lobby”.
I sat down at the desk and opened up my laptop computer and started it up, then did a Google search for hotels south of the river, and I found a 5-star hotel not far from our new home, in the same suburb of Battersea, and it is right on the banks of the Thames, so I called them, and they had two suites available, so I booked them for two weeks, and informed them that I was transferring from a hotel in Kensington, at short notice.
I was pleased, when they informed me that they would send a limo to collect us in one hours’ time, and gave them the name of the hotel, and the suite number. Once we had quickly packed up our belongings, of which most of it was already packed, as we were only using one suite case each of clothes for the next two weeks, until we settle into our new home, we called a porter to collect our belongings to take them to the main lobby, and I went to settle the bill, with the manager asking me to reconsider leaving the hotel, with the offer of the cost of one suite not to be billed.
I thanked the manager for the generous offer, but money was not of any concern, that the health and safety of a boy was, and I paid the bill and followed the porters outside to the waiting limo, which had just arrived a little early, which I was pleased about.
Once we had settled into our suites, at the new hotel, which were adjoining each other, with a connecting door, we just relaxed for the remainder of the afternoon, and as we sat down for dinner, at the hotel restaurant, I suggested that we go to Switzerland, for the weekend, and everyone happily agreed with the idea.
This would be the first time that Xander had been to mainland Europe, so he was a little hesitant at first. I informed him that we have a luxury apartment, that has a guest bedroom, which will now be his bedroom, and that we would deck it out with everything that he wants.
The following morning, we organised a helicopter flight from the nearby heliport, to take us to the London city airport, and we checked in for the 1 hour and 40-minute flight to Bern, Switzerland. “Wow, this is a smaller plane than I expected” Xander said to me, as we approached the plane from the ground. “It is, and until recently the company – Skyworks, was struggling to survive, until a recent financial backer, took up 56% shares in the company, to keep it operational” I whispered, so that Xander and the twins could only hear.
I saw the shocked looks on my brothers faces, and I just chuckled, as we climbed the stairs and were greeted by the air stewardess, “Just another investment for the family brothers, nothing to worry about, I have had the company checked fully, before I made the investment” I said to them quietly, as we took our seats, which are one seat on the left side and two seats on the right.
Xander sat near the window next to Louis, and Joachim sat on the seat opposite, while I sat one seat up from him. I had travelled with Skyworks Airlines before, over the past six years, when I needed to travel to the UK, and I found them the ideal airline to travel with, as it meant avoiding the bigger Heathrow airport, and going through Customs and Quarantine was a lot faster.
When we exited the airport, a Limo was waiting for us, and the driver welcomed us back home, in Italian, knowing, that it was the favoured language for our family, even though Xander didn’t understand, and I thanked the driver, as he began to load our weekend bags into the vehicle. “We will have to start teaching Xander some language lessons in Italian” I said to my twin brothers as we climbed into the vehicle.
“We have already started on that brother” Joachim replied, “casa per favour autista” Xander said loud enough for the driver to hear. “Well, I never, bravo cousin, bravo” I replied a little surprised that made the request to the driver so fluently, and the twins chuckled at my surprised expression.
“We live in a four-bedroom apartment on the first floor, in the town of Belp, which is about 5 miles South of Bern Airport, we have a part time housekeeper, who comes and keeps our home clean and tidy, and our fridge and pantry stocked up, and she even cooks dinner for us on occasions too” Louis explained to Xander.
“Our original home, was a chateau near the border to Liechtenstein, about 200 kilometres due east of Lyss, as our maternal grandparents come from that country, and we often went there for holidays, the twins and I are actually connected to nobility” I explained. “Oh, we didn’t know that? Why didn’t you tell us before this?” the twins asked me together, “Because we are no where near being in line to the throne of Liechtenstein, or Austria, so there is no point” I replied, revealing for the first time of our family history.
Copyright May 2018 Preston Wigglesworth. All Rights are Reserved