Nannies and Nomads
It gets to the point doesn’t it — where you’re trying to “do the right thing”, whatever that may be. Lead a decent, middle-class life — and yet somehow whatever you do, it’s morally wrong. You know? It’s exhausting!
Pippa — you’ve been reading my thoughts! It’s why I’ve got something important to say to you.
So I was standing in the supermarket a couple of weeks ago trying to think what to buy for dinner. The shelves buckling with stuff of course. But I was stumped! What could I buy? Nothing. Can’t buy fish because all the fish are dying. Can’t buy meat because it’s — well I forget why. Why mustn’t we eat meat?
Well, they pack the animals in, don’t they? Don’t give them a decent life . . . And they mix them up with horsemeat and God knows what else.
Right. Anyway. So — there I was in the supermarket, reflecting on the moral corruption of my life — I had a sort of road to Damascus moment . . .
A what moment?
Because even the milk . . . apparently supermarkets pay farmers so little for their milk, farmers are all topping themselves. So you’ve got dead farmers, miserable animals, no fish, no bees . . . And everything else on the shelf had come in on an aeroplane. So. No pineapples. What’s left? Basically I was down to potatoes, Pippa. So I started crying. Which is why I’ve got a big announcement to make.
Never mind pineapples, Santa, if it’s come in on an aeroplane you can actually forget about employing it now too! That’s another middle-class taboo! As of last week. No matter a foreigner might actually be better at the job —
Question for you, Santa. Have you ever employed a quote unquote British nanny? Be honest.
You mean like a . . . with British papers?
I mean like a normal quote unquote British girl. Without a foreign accent. Who doesn’t like spicy food. That sort of thing. Someone who went to school in England. Have you?
. . .Well . . .
Or as a cleaner? Have you ever employed a quote unquote British cleaner?
No, Pippa. I don’t think you actually get quote unquote British cleaners in this country.
Well, it certainly doesn’t seem as if any of our blessed politicians are capable of finding them. Including the Immigration Minister. After he decided to lecture us all about cheap labour. And by the way, yes. Since you ask. I did employ a quote unquote British nanny. Once. And you don’t want to know what I thought about her.
Kate Middleton’s got a Spanish girl, hasn’t she? Samantha Cameron’s got a lovely Nepalese. I always had Aussies myself. But never mind that — I have something to tell you.
She was called Sharon. Believe it or not.
The nanny. My English nanny. She whined about PMT and period pains the entire nine months she worked for us. Do English girls have more periods than other girls? They do not. So what was that about? And I have never seen such a consumption of biscuits! Add that to the nanny tax, paid holidays, sick leave. Plus I just had this feeling she was going to get pregnant any minute. She didn’t. Even so.
Well, that’s lucky.
And yet there’s this sort of moral obligation to employ Brits. This sort of unspoken threat that if your cleaner has a foreign accent and isn’t whining about period pains she’s probably illegal. And the authorities are getting so tough now . . .
They can get as tough as they like, Pippa! I’ve been trying to say . . .
What, darling? What are you trying to say? Do spit it out.
After the Damascus moment — I just couldn’t stand it any more. School fees, bankers’ bonuses, battery chickens, celebrity dance-offs, mansion taxes, Spanish nannies . . .
Sweetie, are you all right?
We’ve bought a super new tent from Sports Direct and Gerald and me and the kids are moving to Nepal on Saturday, to be nomads.
Well . . . Gosh . . . I was going to ask if you were up for tennis doubles on Sunday. But I suppose you won’t be around?