The Head of House.

Iceberg is the nickname given to the Head Housekeeper, Ms McNab, by the staff of a London Happy Haven Hotel.

She is held in high esteem by her team of part-time women who work in the hotel. They are isolated from the main stream of other staff whose duties are spread 24/7 as they are always the first to arrive in the morning and their tasks are finished by midday.


‘Mr girls are the best in town,’ a cut above therowdy kitchen brigade, the precious receptionists and the waiting staff in posh tabards. The Managers are always busy and focused on other concerns, so I am left on my own with ‘my girls.’

80% of the space in the hotel is my patch. Every day, in spite of all sorts of problems, we serve the majority of the breakfasts in guest’s rooms. Then we clean all the rooms (140) dust, hoover, clean & polish and change linen, towels & bathroom stationery. We have many public rooms to attend daily. During this time, I have my daily dispute with the contracted linen hire firm who supply linen. towels and Kitchen/Dining Room whites daily. They cannot count accurately and I tell them so.

I set high standards for my girls to follow. They strive to help me to reach these standards. I always encourage them to improve and applaud all achievements. I am flattered by the knowledge that they all work for me, not the hotel. We work as a team in the hotel and we share our lives outside the hotel. I have and hold secrets which my girls confide in me almost like a confessionaL  never to be betrayed or repeated.

I came to this hotel several years ago with an impeccable set of references from my previous employers. None of my employers have ever succeeded in ‘owning’ me.. I treasure my independence. I stay aloof from petty problems and I shall stay unwed. My convent education in Scotland did not equip me for the 70’s and 80’s. All that is behind me now. The legacy is my inability to be shocked or outraged by any human behaviour.

When the time comes for me to retire I will buy a Bed & Breakfast House in Scotland. In the meantime ‘my girls’ need all the help and advice they can get from me.


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