I was initially trained, while serving in the Household Cavalry, to look after officers’ clothing and wait at table. This eventually led to me running the household of a high ranking officer in Germany. After leaving the army I worked in various hotels and restaurants and as an area catering manager for a large leisure company.
I missed the high standards of the army so took a butler’s job in a traditionally run private household, a position that helped me to develop as a civilian butler. I eventually went to work in a high profile, busy, demanding household that regularly entertained kings and queens from all over Europe. It was this job that polished my skills and gave me a passion for entertaining.
I have been waiting at table since I was 18 and have CGLI 707 1/2/3. I have organised and worked on functions as varied as picnics at Ascot to hunt balls, and royal shooting weekends at country estates. This, above all, is why I enjoy being a butler - the entertaining gives me a real buzz.
I also count napkin folding as one of my hobbies and have invented many of my own folds.
My military service in The Household Cavalry has helped me greatly to perfect this skill with the maintenance of clothes and the ability to put a glassy shine on leather goods. When you turn your gentleman out well everyone notices, especially the shiny shoes. This is also a service I now provide by post and is very popular especially with the Armed Forces.
Wines and Spirits
I have a good working knowledge of wines (though I personally don’t drink) and I am proficient in the storage, decanting and serving required for each particular item.
I was trained at Garrard the Crown Jewellers in London to clean silver to shop standard. This is one of the activities I enjoy most about my job. I take great pride in presenting well-cleaned silver.
I would love to say I am a great cook, but I am not. My skills extend to breakfast, salads, and spaghetti bolognaise type meals. I have always been surrounded by great cooks, in the army as a butler, and at home by my wife, so I have never had the need. Maybe I will learn when I am older.
I have my own car. I learned to drive quite late in life as I was a die hard cyclist but I have a clean driving license with full no claims discount, and have driven Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes, BMW, Range Rover and many other types of vehicles, manual and automatic, in UK, Europe and the USA.
I have a heightened sense of security and believe in this day and age it is important to be aware of your surroundings and create your own safe environment using routine and sound security techniques - for instance, always knowing the quickest and safest exits from where you are. I have, as a butler, always been responsible for building security and am proficient in intruder and fire alarm systems as well as CCTV and other surveillance equipment.
I have a good working knowledge of Word, Excel, Publisher, digital photography and video editing. I also built my own PC and can diagnose and repair software and hardware issues with PC and peripherals. For my current job I have adapted an AI (artificial intelligence) programme on a laptop as an aid for visiting school children. They can ask it questions and it will tell them the history of the house.
It was by accident that I discovered I had an aptitude for this. I was given the ration department of my regiment to run and was sent on the relevant computer stock control and stores technician courses, and there I found the organised mind I never knew I had. I am proficient in ordering and maintaining stock levels
I can fix basic electrical and plumbing faults and can erect shelves, replace window panes and build cupboards. I can fix china fairly well and I enjoy maintaining clocks and furniture. Fixing vacuum cleaners and setting up TVs and satellite dishes are also on my list; anything more technical I leave to the tradesmen.
Basic spoken German.
I like to write poetry, mostly about people and places around me.
I am a trained cavalry trumpeter.
A trivia fan.
I hate football.
I dislike people who think they are doing you a favour just by doing their job.
Tradesmen who don’t turn up when they promise.
Intricately folded paper napkins.
Did I mention football?
The International Institute of Modern Butlers http://www.modernbutlers.com
The International Guild of Professional Butler http://www.butlersguild.com
The Guild of Professional English Butlers http://www.guildofbutlers.com