Posted by: Megan | June 22, 2007

‘Mayfair Meg’ turns to ‘Minimalist Meg’

mm.jpg ‘Mayfair Meg’

*Bananas – not too big, not too small, not too green nor too yellow … in the basket √
*Bread – not too grainy, not too bland, not too thick nor too thin, wholemeal, unsliced … in the basket √
*Flora margarine – x 6 small tubs (as to opposed 2 or 3 bigger and more economical sizes) … in the basket √
*Tissuessuper soft enclosed in the gold and white box x 3 for John’s desk + 5 for the cupboard … in the basket √
*Organic milk – in the basket √
*Oranges – from Marks and Spencer after a marathon shop at Sainsbury’s … in the basket √

It is only a mere fraction of a typical shopping list I had to get through (like a ‘race around the world candidate’ lost in a supermarket) as a part of my former role of ‘Mayfair Meg’ (aka: Australian Nanny for John and Libby in caring for their two children Tom and Alice in Mayfair, London).

Daily life excursions of the mundane kind became new and exciting outings when working for John and Libby. Once I had memorized brand names, sizes, quantities, textures … the shopping assignments became easier to adhere to. Places only to have ever been a dream to really shop in became a reality for me … Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Harrods … For the first time I learnt the true meaning of food quality … a little bit of shopping for them and … a little bit of shopping for me … in the basket √ After my first big shop I had handed back to John the change and receipt to prove I was giving him back enough money. He took one look at the receipt scroll and questioned ‘Do I need this?’ From that moment on I began to learn one of life’s most important lessons … how to eat well! A slice of the ‘dream’ came though at a price for it wasn’t always a carefree event when working for John and Libby – mistakes were inevitable no matter how hard I tried … cheese that tasted like rubber, and the accidental purchase of UHT whipping cream. Just a couple of ‘no nos’ in the learning curb!

Prior to this role, London saw me living in anything other than luxury … unless that is, you could associate ‘luxury‘ with 5 supermarket trolleys banked up at the front entrance (1 more than the back) of the home I shared with hoards of other Australian, and New Zealanders (and their dossing friends in sleeping bags on wooden floors)? Yes, my ‘Mayfair Pad’ was certainly a score. I simply wanted to have guests over (preferably not ones from my prior living arrangement) just for the sole purpose of them being able to use my ‘guest loo’. Guests were also useful for economic purposes … a full dishwasher as opposed to a half empty one? ExactlyYes, a great address. So impressive in fact that at one point I contemplated having the postcode WIM5DJ tattooed in black on my top left shoulder!

ds.jpg A great address!

Tom and Alice? Oh yes about them … the very reason I was living ‘the‘ life. They were on the whole very cool. Alice (11 – going on 21) never gave me any problems. Tom (8) could be a handful now and then; however he had a certain charm and character that compensated for the fact. Both Tom and Alice had a great sense of humour that well suited mine. One day I took them to nearby Grosvenor Sq. and decided to make up a running commentary on every person who walked by. I would get the ball rolling with ‘There goes Harry – he works for a financial company in Central London. His colleagues find him such a bore that they release him every hour with just enough money to buy an ice-cream and walk four laps of the square before returning to this office. Harry is a man in his 40s and his wife is having an affair. In fact … there she goes now …’ Did I roll the ball too far … so to speak when it was Tom’s turn? ‘There goes Sally – the Soho Prostitute’! Yep … They were both very affectionate children and when Tom was sweet he was adorable! One afternoon during the school holiday period I dropped Alice off with her friends, leaving just Tom and I. When I asked him what he wanted to do, he replied ‘I want to do what you want to do’. While it was tempting then to see as many theatre productions back to back possible, reluctantly I came back with ‘No no, it’s your holiday so what do you want to do?’ To which he then hits me with ‘It’s your holiday too Megsy. I want to do what YOU want to do!’ ‘My holiday’? I guess one way to look at a job description but seriously he was killing me. Standing in the heart of Leicester Sq. debating filled in some time until eventually we browsed the shops and had a coffee.

t.jpg Tom a.jpg Alice

Driving the black leather heated seating V6 engine convertible VW Golf was a dream. For an Aussie motorist, driving amongst black cabs and red buses was certainly a novelty! Motorways provided more of a challenge, especially taking wrong exits and ending up at full speed to Oxford – the city of dreaming spires as opposed to Oxford St – the street of dreaming shops! It took a short while to become confident enough to drive the runs requested – ‘The School Run’, ‘The Thames Run’, ‘The Harrods Run’, ‘The Random Run’! Gosh, a game of Monopoly really behind the wheel … Thankfully I had some London experience up my sleeve before working for John and Libby as they felt their duty in terms of teaching me to drive in London was complete as soon as they handed me the ‘A-Z’ street guide. The rest … was up to me! ‘Me‘ … who at times provided the children with more adrenalin rushes than the time I took them go carting in the East End!

When human voices echoed in the sparse kitchen, one had to say that John and Libby had ‘minimalist’ living down to a fine art (almost as ‘fine’ as the original Picasso hanging in it). On viewing a picture of their kitchen, my friend Shelley commented in response ‘What, couldn’t they afford furniture?’ Clearly, she did not understand the meaning of being a ‘minimalist’ for they were actually paying millions and millions of pounds to have a place looking so bare and ‘perfect’!

k.jpg ‘The‘ kitchen

Libby’s unsystematic thinking gave me at least a physical workout for when I wasn’t speed walking around Hyde Park in my free time. She’d send me out to do one thing; I’d then hurtle back up 3 flights of stairs just in time to be sent back down then and out to do the next task … that could have been accomplished when I was first sent out! Mind you, her ‘unsystematic thinking‘ was often better than when she couldn’t think … ‘Oh, oh, it’s too early to think’, she’d say at a mere 09.00am! ‘Can you give me half an hour?’, she’d ask before she would end ‘Oh, I’m too stressed to think’! It was then time to go across the road to Seattle Coffee and read one of the latest magazines for free during her thought process! I’d often take bookmarks for those unfinished reading moments as one never knew when the call of Libby would come!

Sacked! Yes, read right … ‘sacked‘ as was I by Libby. Her ‘unsystematic thinking‘ after 6 months made it time for me to move on again in my world wind travels. John told me that I deserved better in life than looking after his kids. Libby told me I couldn’t cook. There was some truth in both! So from ‘Mayfair Meg’ I soon after became ‘Minimalist Meg’, moving back to Japan and becoming trendy without trying (‘T.W.T’) … no money to furnish my new Japanese apartment!

z.jpg The Mayfair entrance way

black.jpg The Mayfair living room!

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  1. Dear Megsy

    You are a story teller and a blogger of the superior variety. I love the way you can navigate between mayfair minimalism, to redwine stained brown couches and a sleeping bags on the floor of an earls court crash pad back to Zen clarity in Japan .

    How is the Mayfair family fairing.
    I’m having a fun time on curfing arund this site.
    Cant wait to see you in Hong Kong.

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