The Nosy Maid


A few years ago I was staying in a hotel on the promenade at Eastbourne on the south coast. Iíd never been before and always thought Eastbourne was Godís Waiting Room where retired people lived. I was gladly wrong. I didnít know the Ardmore Language Schools were there and they invited thousands of young people into the area. Iíd go walking out each night and found the place was abuzz with young life.


One morning I set out to walk on the promenade when the battery in my mp3 expired. I thought I would nip back to the hotel for a battery. The maids were cleaning the rooms and doors were open. Perhaps there had been some thefts as they parked their trolleys across the doorways. The door to my room was open. Inside I saw maid slightly bent over the diary Iíd left on the dressing table. I had left it under a novel I was reading so she must have slid it out. Her knees were slightly bent as she read it - I donít think anything Iíd written was that exciting. Perhaps she was reading about a typical thought: nude midgets smothered in damson jam doing cartwheels on a carpet of bubble wrap.


My diaries are mostly dull observations but are sometimes confessional. Once the Inland Revenue looked into my affairs and I had to submit a lengthy list explaining every transaction through two bank accounts. I had to explain a £1,000 arriving into an account was a chum paying back a loan. The only way I could justify it was to photocopy a couple of pages from my slightly-confessional diaries where the money was mentioned.


So here is a painting showing the lady bent over the diary. Iíve tried to show her legs slightly bent as she stooped her torso over. Also Iíve tried to show the kind of tiny, tired, cluttered hotel rooms I usual stay in. The furniture rarely matches, thereís too much of it and there are enough drawers to hide £1 million in used notes.


What did I do when I caught the maid reading my notebook? Being a typical Englishman who backs away from confrontation I went to buy a battery at a local shop. Complete spineless coward. I donít blame her for having a quick look at the diary; Iím suspicious of people who arenít curious.