Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Family

I've written about this before but ended up deleting it in case the wrong person read it. Well now is the time to expose my Family for what they are worth, particularly my Father and latterly my Sister and her Husband. I shan't name names as most of you who will read this know them.

Many years ago in the dark ages of the 80's my Mother and Father both died of cancer within a year of each other. Yes it was a very hard time but with it came some rather sobering and enlightening insights of how spiteful the human being can be.

My father was the youngest of four children brought up in a very Victorian atmosphere of the Navy during the second world war. During a long stay in India he became infected with Polio causing long term damage to his right leg, giving him a very slight but noticeable limp, so when he walked toward you it was a lomp rather than a strait forward walk. To this day it sends shivers down my spine thinking of him bearing down on me with this awkward gait and an expression of disdain for his son.

I was a disaster at school but had fun and have to admit that the experience of a boarding school
run by Benedictine Monks (all abusers) was on the whole quite good even though I did get beaten many times with the cane. I have no regrets in going there.

My Father on the other hand wasn't happy about it and virtually disowned me for being thick. These days I would be called a challenge in directional learning.

In the meantime my sister was born when I was 7 and life changed. She became the child he always wanted, bright, attractive and above all else compliant with his wishes to be what he wanted her to be, obedient.

I left school at 17 and went to a local college to do my 0-levels again. This was an enlightenment in the world of rebelling. I grew my hair long and wore jeans covered in oil paint with long moccasin, tasseled boots while smoking weed bought in matchboxes at Kensington Market.

This was a world away from the strict upbringing my father had anticipated for me. I had been cut off from any financial aid and had to work at a pub in town to fund my hedonistic lifestyle. I didn't care, I was young and the world was my oyster and I had a hidden talent that was just starting to develop. Charm!!!!

I had learnt that with charm you could get a lot done and go far. Don't get me wrong I wasn't a con artist, I became an entrepreneur who could convince people that I had a good idea and that I could pull it off and for 90% of the time I did.

My Mother was probably the finest woman I have ever known. flawed in many respects but immensely attractive and the life and sole of any party. We were a sorry family that had very little love shown to us by hugs and kisses, just expectations.

I did however have another place to go, to get the warmth of a family and have immense fun. My Aunt and Uncle. My Uncle was my Mothers Brother and was known by me to be the Bumper book of fun with an endless repartee of stories from his life as the Ships Store man on SS Orcades. For a large amount of time they ran a caravan and camping park near Great Yarmouth, where I would help out during the summer and many other holidays from school. This should tell anyone that if I traveled directly from school to them rather than home I was not a happy child. Having met the first lust of my life while living there I traveled to Sheffield to begin my life as an adult.

My first job was at an Oil Depot taking orders for fuel and filling the huge tankers up from the rail tankers and learnt to manoeuvre the lorry's in and out of the yard, while brewing up large pot's of rich dark tea for the lads.

Then I moved out to Buxton to work at the Palace Hotel where I got the bug for catering and all that goes with it. This was a giant of a hotel with all of the staff living in to provide what I can only describe as an all day all week orgy of sex and booze, I was in heaven. Everyone was on the fiddle and I got caught, along with two others. My first sacking and in fact my last but a wake up call to get on with my life and think about making some money.

I arrived in London, walked into the Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane and asked to see the Personnel Manager. I said I wanted to make catering my profession and needed to work in any department that needed me. They gave me a job in the famous Terrace Restaurant as a commie waiter where all sorts of rich and wonderful people came and paid vast amounts of money for the best food and service in the world. While working there I was poached by The Claremont Club in Barclay Square to work in the private bar (I was very good at my job) much to my fathers anguish. He had been working for many years as an Agent for large Hunting, Shooting and Farming estates owned by some of the richest gentry in the land and many of them were members of this elite and discrete casino in the heart Mayfair, so he didn't want me to start rocking the boat. One of the paramount rules in this world of opulence was discretion and my father had little trust in me.

To cut a long story short I went on to work at The Playboy Club also in Park Lane and then Claridge's, probably the finest hotel in the world. My next lust took me to Paris, France where I worked at Le Prince de Galles in the Avenue George V. Many great years were spent there and invaluable experience gained in the five star hotel business.

While I was having a ball in Paris My Father and one of his employers had bought a hotel in Charlbury adjacent to the estate he was running. I loved this place and wanted it for myself but in his wisdom my father had re-employed the same guy who had been running it for nearly 20 years as a bed and breakfast pub along with his awful wife. Father had spent a fortune on the place to make it one of the finest country style hotels in the Cotswolds and they were running it as a bed and breakfast!!!!

One weekend when I was home from Paris The manager offered me a job to come and help him run it, which I jumped at. Now a few of you will notice that this story differs slightly from my many other stories of how I acquired the place but in essence it's the same. I left Paris with quite a lot of money in my pocket, to take up residence at my new place of work again to the disdain of my father. Within a few months I was in the awkward position of having to take it over fully as manager because of a drunken evening had by the manager where he fell over and cracked his skull, rendering him useless as a manager of anything more than a coffee pot.

This is where my entrepreneurial skills came into place. The guy my father worked for had a son who had been given the Hotel as a trust to run until he became 21 when he could sell it or continue to run it. I approached him and said that I would take it on as a lease for £16,000 per year and run it as my own, so he didn't have to be involved in the day to day running of the business. He accepted and my life as a self employed hotelier started. I made it into one of the most successful country hotels in the Cotswolds with accolades and publicity unparalleled at the time. Even my father was slightly impressed until we hit the huge depression of the mid eighties. I needed some funding to keep it going, so I foolishly approached my father who at the time was still quite impressed at how well it was doing. He lent me or in fact I think he gave me £5,000 to ward of various creditors.

This had a dire consequence of him putting my younger sister in to watch what I was doing. In fact she was a spy for him and would return home each evening to report on every move I made during the day including what time I got up in the morning to how much I was drinking or eating. It always amused me that no one was there in the evening when the hard work was being done and a work day would finish at 2 or 3 in the morning.

In the end the recession got the better of me and my father and his bosses son had me evicted. Yes he had me evicted. I have to say here that at the time may father was dying of cancer and his will to live had virtually vanished, so lets be fair about this and say it was a difficult time for all of us.

I didn't see or speak to him for nearly three months, until he summoned me (I was 30 by this time and was still being summoned to him like a naughty little schoolboy) to tell me that he had left me out of his will because he didn't want my creditors taking his money and my sister probably needed the money more than I did!!!! He had made a provision for my daughter to get £5,000 when she was 18.

Now, I have taken professional advice on this and have been told that he could have put the money in to a trust for me as well, away from any creditors and or me until I was deemed responsible enough to use it.

I took this like a man should when your father is dying and just let it go. My mother told the doctor when she was dying a year later that I has been treated very badly but would come through it all better and stronger. I did and went on to more successful businesses over the years but always had that nagging feeling that it was more of a punishment for the 5 grand he gave me rather than a creditor evasion tactic.

A few months later my sister met her future husband and everyone disliked him. We could all see he was with her for one thing and one thing only and that was the inheritance. My mother bless her was so riddled in cancer that she went blind, never actually seeing this bloke. But her sense of humour prevailed and I remember her making up silly rhymes about him.

One month after she died he (future husband) asked me to meet him in a pub in Oxford. He told me that he knew about the will and would do everything he could to make sure I was always looked after and to be fair he did do a few things to help me out but never financially except for a couple of pounds to tie me over on one or maybe two occasions and it was never a gift, always a loan.

For 20 years now I have been subjected to drunken lectures from him at family lunches telling me that my fathers financial planning was so bad that there was nothing left after all the bills were paid. Now its one thing being lectured to by your brother-in-law but it usually involved other guests at the table as well including friends of mine, so I have witnesses by the score.

Two years ago my sister calls me to say that they are splitting up. I asked as you do how they will split the house and how much have they got left on the mortgage? "we haven't got a mortgage" she says. "We bought the house with what dad left me" £110,000!!!!!!!!!!! Apparently that is nothing.

A little aside here: The £110,000 bought the house over 20 years ago and in that time they have redecorated once!!! and replaced some windows. The house has been sold this year for over £450,000.

Then I find out that my daughters trust of £5,000 had matured to over £10,000 with interest, excellent!!! Well this was the salt being rubbed in the wound. The interest was to go to my sister!!!!! 20 years later and he still gets the last laugh, what on earth did I do wrong?

In the spirit of sibling support I have said nothing over the past two years while she's been going through the split up. Many of you will think I am stupid but I do have strong family values and when my sister was having a bad time I would have been there for her. Not any more.

So, last night I went to see my sister to have it out with her once and for all and to my wife's amusement she denied doing anything wrong and that she was only 22 when it happened, so what was she supposed to do? It ended with me being unceremoniously thrown out of the house with the usual woman tears and tantrums. If I had been a better man at arguing I should have said "so, if it had happened now you are older would you have handled it differently?"

We will never know but I can tell you now I feel better for saying what I said in the very short time I was with her last night.

One little afterthought: She was moaning how broke she is at the moment and that she has to work Saturdays to make ends meet. This is on top of her grueling 40 hour week living in her £250,000 house with NO mortgage. My god how the mighty have fallen.

Oh.... and she is thinking of buying another house for her pension.

P.S. I want to make it clear that I don't want any money from her or her blasted husband, I just want recognition that they have treated me very badly and an apology.


ExAfrica said...

Very ugly - but I hope you got some relief from telling your sister that you knew the truth.

And never forget - you are far better than they - you'll rise above all of them in the end.

And in the mean time - know you are loved by tried and true friends...


Head of the Family said...

Thanks babe, I have decided to write a letter to her now just to finish it off once and for all. There was so much I wanted to say before she threw me out. Bitch.