The author and his wife Kath in The Little Boltons, 1992. (See more photos from The Little Boltons here.)
‘I absolutely loved this book. It is a lovely, enchanting story from a brilliant writer.’
This is the story of the few months the young author and his wife spent working together as servants for a wealthy old couple in their large home of faded glory in The Little Boltons, one of the most desirable addresses in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
It begins by documenting their leap from the comfort and security of their New Zealand home into the bizarre world of domestic service in London. They secured a live-in position, he as the cook and she as the lady's maid, and the engaging narrative describes their duties and how they did their best to provide their eccentric employers with the quality of old-fashioned service and dining to which they were accustomed. In the process they met an odd assortment of people, somehow connected to the running of the house, whose lives were governed by the unwritten rules of the English class system.
It was, as the author says, a sad and somewhat surreal and shabby end of an era, unmarked by history; a metaphor for the demise of what was once the capital of the world's most powerful empire.