I hope everyone had a good Holiday. I'm still in festive mode. Over the next week, while I spend some time with family, I will repost some of my earlier Lilly's Life experiences. Pour yourself a drink and enjoy.
I read that Robin Williams divorced his.
And that Ethan Hawke had a baby with his.
Then we all know that Jude Law slept with his.
And apparently Bruce Willis & Demi Moore had four at once.
Remember Maxwell Sheffield finally relented and married his.
No, I don't have any proof that Eliot Spitzer did that with his.
Although I do know Matt Lattanzi left Olivia Newton John for theirs.
And Michael Jackson has definitely taken up with his.
Poor Madonna & Victoria Beckham had to stop theirs from telling all.
Then there was was Britney Spears who got nude in front of hers.
And even I was someones just for a while.
What am I talking about?
NANNIES of course.
Most celebrities have at least three nannies per child - one for weekdays, one for weeknights and a third for weekends and trips.
I was a Nanny in London many years ago. I wanted the job so that I could save some money to travel. It paid well and you were able to 'live in' for free. I had no previous experience with children but this was in the days when you didn't need any qualifications. You just had to say you liked children.
I applied for a job at Nannies of Kensington and was offered a position with a Lebanese millionaire and his wife. They lived in Prince Consort Lane near the Royal Albert Hall in the most luxurious apartments I had ever laid eyes on. Gold, marble, ornate and spacious.
I remember my interview with the family as if it was yesterday. I pressed the door bell and the door slowly opened. I looked down a long marble corridor and there was a man wearing an ornate purple caftan standing at the end of the hall. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or run at that point. It was such a long walk and he stood there watching my every step.
He was the Master and his wife, who appeared some time later, was the Madame.
This was what I had to call them. Master and Madame.
Madame was at least 20 years younger than the Master. Beautiful. From top to toe.
They had four children, three boys and a girl. They ranged in ages from four to eleven.
With every child the Master presented Madame with a new fur coat and diamonds. Something she took great delight in telling me over and over again.
There were body guards, cooks, housekeepers and drivers.
I was the fourth nanny in so many weeks, the children told me with wicked grins on their faces. And I still remember those gorgeous faces.
The children were only allowed to see their parents once per day at 7pm (to say goodnight). They would literally meet in the middle in an adjoining living area between the parents' and childrens' apartments. They ate separately.
I am not sure what the Master did for a living as this was not a subject discussed with the live in help. It was however 'something' that required bodyguards for all his family. If I took the children out we were always accompanied by a bodyguard and a driver.
The Madame shopped on a full time basis. I remember she came home crying one day because her skirts were apparently the wrong length. She made her full time seamstress immediately start adjusting all the clothes in her substantial wardrobe.
Being the Nanny did not entail much other than supervising homework and meals, playing some indoor games, taking the children to the dentist and doctor and carrying out special assignments requested by their mother. For instance, I was asked to keep an eye on the ten year old girl and question her about who she was mixing with at school and report back. She also had to be kept away from her brothers as much as possible. I took the children on outings but not to the usual children's haunts. The children were not allowed to associate with other children outside school hours so we often took them to Harrods Department store to buy them whatever toys they wanted. Money was never an object. They would spend hours there. Playing among the toys...as if it was an adventure park. A scene that drew many raised eyebrows from other shoppers.
The Nigerian cook and I were often alone in the house for at least and hour or two during the day. The Master and Madame had bought her to the UK under the guise of sending her to school. She was made to work for her keep but was desperate to escape. Except, the Master had her passport. We tried to contact a missionary she knew who lived in Scotland but we had no luck.
We did have fun together though. We would go into the Master and Madame's apartment and try on Madame’s fur coats and eat caviar. It was all cloak and dagger fun but we always feared getting caught. They had the biggest custom made bed I have ever seen in my life – it was large enough for the inhabitants of a small nation to sleep in. It was the kind of luxury that I do not ever think I will see again. Nor would I want to.
Unfortunately 'the fun' ended when it became apparent that I was in a 'strange kind of set up' where you really were a servant and on call all the time. There was no time on your own and there was always someone watching. More importantly, the Master kept demanding me to give him my passport and I kept making excuses. He said he needed to take the children to France and I would need to come with them. He started to give me money on the quiet ‘for doing a good job with the children’. Then one night I woke up with a start to find him standing over my bed. He didn't say anything but was just staring at me. Even a young naive me knew it was time to fly the gilded cage. Quickly.
I literally waited for a moment when no-one was round. I grabbed my suitcase and ran. I always felt a little guilt that I had to leave the cook behind. She wouldn't come with me as she had a bigger fear that she would be sent back to Nigeria.
We all live such different and often bizarre lives. For all the money in the world though who would want a life where you are meeting your children in the same room for 20 minutes every day? Give me the cook and the cleaner but you can keep the Nanny (not literally as some celebrities have done).
I wonder what happened to those children....and how many nannies came after me. I, myself, went on to stickier pursuits, selling ice creams at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre.... but that's a whole other story.