This book tells the story about Chico’s Master, young Pete, and how he grew up in an English pub during the lean years of World War II and survived. His involvement in the historical events of the war. The war heroes he actually met and his other war time friends.
It also contains stories about the animals which were a big feature in his young life. All this interwoven with unbelievable and humorous tales of his life in the hotel business.
Of course, now and again, Chico can’t resist from making his comments as an outsider looking in.
Written in easy to understand English
AN AMAZING READ!
I arrived in this world about a year before war broke out. Little did anyone realize what the Brits were in for.
No one expected the war to last for seven long years, causing so much suffering and devastation on both sides.
It was my fate being born in a Pub near an airfield and then my fate again, when my widowed mother moved to Newhaven with its Military Training Centre in the Fort and its important harbour as well as the Coastal Command, based at nearby Denton. Therefore while still a young boy my family and I were directly involved in so many historical aspects of the war.
Today, over 70 years later, if I shut my eyes I can still vividly see most of my wartime friends: Jean Claude wearing his typical French beret, that he mostly took off to play the piano, sometimes even placing it on my head, which excited me even more. Old Bill, my true friend and sparing partner, jolly Aunt Alice then Joan and Ivy, the two Women’s Royal Air Force Officers from Coastal Command. Their faces are so strongly etched in my mind that they’ll remain there until the day I die.
As I grew older there was Stanley, the purser and Kelly,the cook, my friends on the Paddle Steamer. I have a face for those two, but not for Joe, our milkman who was so kind to Snowy, our cat or Ken, our fish monger, who toured the streets with his barrow, ringing his bell.
I was always sent to Ken to buy our fish.
Then even later, in my late teens there were Mr. and Mrs. Gatwood, the owners of Ye Olde Felbridge Hotel, East Grinstead. I was happy working there under Mr. Joseph the Maitre d’hotel or Head Waiter. Charming Mr. Joseph was in fact the Restaurant Manager, but of course he preferred simply to be the Head Waiter, because Managers never qualify for a share of the tips or tronc as it is sometimes called, but as Maitre d’hotel he received the lion’s share. This is where I had the privilege of serving Sir Archibald McIndoe at the Guinea Pig Club Banquet.
Later in this book are some extraordinary, sometimes even sad animal tales, including ‘The Beasts of Skye’ or Bob, ‘The Rent-a-dog-for-a-day’ Border Collie on the Faeroes. Sometimes even stories at close quarters with the wild life of Scandinavia, either on land, afloat or in the air.
For someone who has spent the best part of his working life in a Luxury Hotel then he will never be satisfied staying in a holiday hotel. So when his Aunt Phillis died, leaving a small inheritance, it was wisely invested in his first small second hand camper, a Mitzubishi Van.
To park high up on the cliffs on Scotland’s West Coast, grill an Aberdeen Angus T-Bone, while watching the magnificent setting of the sun, listening to the silence of the surrounding nature, What more can one wish for?
The number of Luxury Hotels that can offer something like that are few and far between.
For the last 30 years or so, when holiday time comes round, we jump into our camper and take off, seeking a new adventure somewhere else in Europe. We are now on our third, probably last camper. Like us it is also showing signs of old age. To think of it, our first camper van didn’t even have a loo. But then in those days we didn’t seem to need one!
The pleasure of travelling like we do are:
Every morning to wake up in a different place of outstanding beauty and peace, having witnessed an incredible sunset the previous evening. You’ll agree.
“The best things in life are almost free!”