Hotel Housemaid

In January and February 1972 I was working as a housemaid at the Strathspey Hotel in Aviemore when the Miners Strike resulted in large scale power cuts. Housemaids worked split shifts, coming to work early to make the guests’ Continental Breakfasts then to clean the rooms. If there were lots of departures we wouldn’t be able to finish before lunch because all the beds would need to be stripped. I can’t remember if all the beds had Continental Quilts which had to be manhandled into their seersucker covers but that’s where I learned to make “hospital corners” with the sheets. If the guests were staying for up to 3 nights the sheets didn’t get changed so then it was much quicker to make the beds and clean the rooms. When the power cuts happened it sounds crazy but I’m sure we used candles, I have a memory of chuckling at the paradox of cleaning toilets by candlelight.


At night someone would be rostered on to “turn down the beds”. We had to close the curtains and fold back the top corner of the sheets and quilt so the bed was inviting for the guest. One night I was rostered on during a power cut and dutifully knocked on one door and when there was no response I went in. A man was in there stark naked. I said nothing, just backed out of the room with my flickering candle and he didn’t get the sheets turned down that night!


When I was vacuuming a room one day a silk dressing gown was strewn across the bed, the tie must have been near the floor and suddenly it was gobbled up by the vacuum cleaner. No way could I get it out so I decided to just pretend nothing had happened but later I felt guilty and told the Housekeeper who retrieved it and replaced it in the room.


One guest hid his girlie mags under the Hotel Information Folder so each day as I went out I made sure they were sitting in full view on top.


You didn’t know that about Nana did you?



The Strathspey has changed hands and been renamed but it's the tall building in the background. The photo was taken by leonardo for a Hotel booking site.
The Strathspey has changed hands and been renamed but it’s the tall building in the background. The photo was taken by leonardo for a Hotel booking site.

Author: macmsue

I’m a sister, wife, mother, grandmother, auntie and friend. I prefer to be outside and am interested in photography, nature and different cultures. I believe everything on this earth has a right to be here but some things and some people would be happiest if their space was far away from mine. (Flies and biting bugs take note!) I don’t like housework and think dust is Nature’s way of saying, “This is my space, I was here first.”

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