A Kuwaitit billionaire easily offended….an Austrian Prince with a secret mistress…A Lord of the Manor depleting the family fortune through alcoholism…A Right Honourable generous with his library…A Saudi Muslim with a bachelor pad…same life, different background…We all like sheep have gone astray…

‘Grandiosity’ is a documented symptom of addiction, also seen in people with personality disorders and mental health problems, as a means of escape from present or past conflict or challenge…here is a little more of my autobiography…you be the judge!!


Because of dissociative identity disorder brought about by unresolved childhood trauma, and because I have acted it out literally by travelling compulsively and chasing rainbows, it is difficult for me to think chronologically or even logically. This is why my autobiography is a collection of short stories as in The Dubliners if I might be so bold, and seems to flit like a butterfly and colour outside of the lines…it is for you, dearest Reader, to glean what you will, empathise when you can, and categorise at your peril!

The Writers’ Muse is upon me once again, with some degree of urgency, as I try to get clear in my mind how I should proceed and what, if anything, ‘makes sense’! The tone of this piece is olde Englishe, pompous, verbose and grand….a modality I adore and a personality I express with great aplomb and relish!

The quandary is this….whether to go to the Ball or not. And if so, how? Cinderella indeed.

Facts are boring to me sometimes, but for the sake of a little clarity, my Mother was a gentlewoman, beautifully educated, excelling in piano and soprano operatic singing, and ambitious for her daughters like a Dowager Duchess. She married apparently ‘beneath her station’ although later genealogical research reveals a far grander pedigree on my Father’s side. He was an uneducated man of little means, but a hard worker who obliged his wife by working up to 4 jobs simultaneously to facilitate their daughters in attending private school to learn amongst other things deportment and etiquette, and surreptitiously the art of finding a wealthy husband, although sadly in this department to date, all five daughters have failed to matriculate.

I was a delicate and sensitive child, yearning for attention as the middle child of 5 born in rather rapid succession as was the Catholic wont. My Mother gave her all in her attempts to prepare us for the life she had somehow surrendered, and my Father was mostly absent, or angry, at least until my teens, when a family business gave me more access as I worked alongside him in our restaurant for 25 hours per week and counting from the age of 12 . This was when I first began multi-tasking as I had also to attend to full time education, mothering my two younger sisters as my Mother was starting to get lost in addictions at this time and compulsively dancing (ballet, tap, modern, jazz and character) and reading which were the medicines for my increasingly wounded soul…..Between the ages of 11 and 15 I was also secretly molested and abused by a family member (my paternal Grandfather) a family friend (my German godmother’s husband) and a stranger (the brother of a French girl with whom I did an educational residential exchange) More of that in other writings.

I also ran a babysitting agency at that time….for goodness sake, did no one notice how manic my life was!!! Babysitting was a welcome relief because mostly the children slept, I could study, and keep the entirety of my wages. I had so much work, being as I was overly responsible and adoring of children, that I had several friends from school also employed, although I neglected to profit financially from this early entrepreneurship out of a sense of not being entitled which has been a feature of my life thus far.

One of my babysitting clients was a Right Honourable gentleman and his genteel wife who I think was a Lady, and their 3 splendid sons. They lived in a stately home, and I wonder why they did not have a nanny or a housekeeper, but nonetheless I babysat for them and dreamed of greater things as I gazed lovingly at the collection of books in the imposing library. The very kind Right Honourable lent me books to assist in my studies at this time A Levels in En glish, French and German. H e lent me a biography of Honore de Balzac and some of his novels in French, and I started to dream in a European way, relishing the means of escape that such reading afforded….

Let me flip back to the present for a moment to contextualise this musing. I raided an ex boyfriends’ friend list on Facebook after we split up and in a fit of pique at him for leaving me rather in deficit at the end of our 8 month affaire du couer. It had been mostly the written word and daily phone conversations lasting hours that had been the heart of our ‘relationship’, and sadly when we met reality did not match the dream. So anyway, I poached amongst others, a ‘Marquess’ from Spain I believe, who turned out to be the Grand Master of a House of Honor along the lines of royal courtiers, knights and Lords….this rather quaint and charming man then invited me to a Royal Ball in a palace in Vienna, after I borrowed a beautiful video from his page of Viennese Waltz to Strauss I think it was….the only unfortunate detail being that it is a charity ball and the ‘tickets’ are 1,000 euro a piece! As well as the additional challenges of travel, accomodation and a ball gown, of which I am already dreaming!

Now here’s the rub… thus far has not been kind to me, at least not financially, and at 52 with 3 children, a grand child and multiple failed relationships to my name, I am almost despairing of my Knight in Shining Armour, the Prince I always thought would rescue me and carry me off on his white steed with my hair and my dress streaming impressively behind me…..


From here to there is only a dream away.

Aside from financial constraints regarding the ball, I have a crisis of conscience. On reading the small print, I see that it is to honour a great Muslim Knight known as Saluddin. He was kind, kinder than his Christian counterparts during the Spanish inquisition, and chivalrous to boot. But nonetheless, a Muslim. It is also a ball to honour the Royalty of the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates etc which needless to say are also Muslim. And disturbingly for me, half the proceeds of the ball are to go to the furtherance and maintenance and improvement of the historical and present state of Islamic cultural something or other in Spain! I will clarify on re reading the details of the invitation…..note to self! (The ball is also to build a hospital in Tibet…my ‘religious’ mind is telling me it is tending to Buddhists and Muslims what about the Christians??? But one of the patrons of the Order of Honor is King Juan Carlos of Spain who is Catholic!! Let me not be judgemental surely good works are good works whatever the creed?) There will be many middle eastern Royals, Sheikhs, Sultans and so on, at the ball, as well as movers and shakers of that part of the world who are all millionaires at the very least and billionaires for the most part……

Now what could possibly be ’wrong’ with that?

Well I am a committed and passionate ‘born-again’ christian. I believe Jesus will return in this generation, I believe the ‘saints’ who know Him and love Him will be raptured to Heaven for a 7 year ball to end all balls, whilst all hell breaks out down here on earth between predominantly Muslim nations and Israel, at least to begin with….the Quran refers to and waits for a leader who will reign for 7 years, whom Christians will refer to as the AntiChrist. Islam teaches that all non-Muslims are ‘infidels’ and Jihad is essentially a quest to kill off same. I also believe that towards the end of that 7 year tribulation, when billions of the world population have died, Jesus will return on a cloud as a King with a formidable army of saints and angels and totally defeat those who seek to destroy His people…He came to earth as a Jew and all Christians are Jews or Israelites because we are the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, it is written that Jesus will touch down on the Mount of Zion in Jerusalem and rule and reign from there for a thousand years…….this is absolutely NOT what Islam teaches…

So you see, is it right for me to attend this earthly ball in Vienna with such a profound difference of opinion and belief as many of the guests, and the stated charitable cause and purpose of the ball? I don’t know.

I have a deep love and respect for the Arabs I have met and worked with in my life. I have found them indeed chivalrous and honourable, and they are spectacularly wealthy, blessed and successful in this world …just look at Dubai as an example. (Now there is talk of Dubai going bust in this economic recession, and I heard an American bank bailed out by the government promptly lent 6 billion to Dubai to the horror of the American tax payer but aside from that,) one has to admit the Middle East has been exemplary in its march to abundance and opulence….every Muslim I ever met also had a social conscience and supported or sponsored poor children in education and basic needs and looked to meet the needs of those less fortunate than themselves all over the world, within their own religion and often outside of it too. God loves the Muslims and Jesus died for their salvation too………he was not just a good Prophet as the Quran suggests, HE WAS AND IS THE SON OF GOD and will return to take His own unto Himself…
So let me get back to personal experience, it is better than pontificating….

I believe God has a plan, a blueprint, for the life of every human being, and He knew us before we were even conceived in our Mothers’ wombs….He knew I would have strange and extraordinary encounters and friendships with Royalty and Aristocracy both European and Middle Eastern ….so if everything is for a purpose and leads to something, and if my life is sold out to MY King Jesus and doing what He wants me to do on this earth…..what is the purpose of my encounters with such, and what would You have me do and say Lord? Or should I stay separate and not put myself in alien situations to my soul? I promised myself I would only marry again to a born again spirit-filled believer, and I certainly would rather die than renounce Jesus no matter how many crowns were offered in this world……….and yet, Lord…you could use me for good in this rarified circle and bless me abundantly as a bi-product making my childish dreams of grandeur and amour come true! Wisdom cries out from every street corner…..You said if I ask for Wisdom Lord You will give it abundantly without criticism or judgement….I am asking

So to continue…well, I will just dip in and out briefly of my life encounters with royalty and aristocracy…in a quest for the truth and the purpose, or perhaps on a more base level, simply to entertain!

So the Right Honourable J.J. and family was my first aristocratic encounter. He was kind to me and his wife, Lady…gave me beautiful references as I entered the adult workplace.

Then, as outlined in my story “A Fun Job”, I worked with middle eastern Royalty Aristocracy and billionaires….the Merchant Bank for which I worked in London in the late 70’s was funded by middle-eastern money and I was second in command of an elite, trouble-shooting Customer Services Department comprising 20 multi-lingual staff members of 16 nationalities . Our budget back then was about a million a year and our brief was to attend to the requests of the top 100 clients of the Bank, ranging from travel to property to education to culture to recreation. One of my most exciting first briefs was to arrange the export of a racehorse from Ireland to the Middle East. My speciality became property in London during the boom of the late 70’s and I would find both rental and investment properties for clients, mainly within the exclusive Mayfair, Belgravia, Knighsbridge and Kensington areas. I had a driver, a secretary, a p.a. and a male assistant at the ridiculous age of 20 to fulfill this role, and my multi tasking during my teens bore fruit in terms of promotion and remuneration. I rode around London in limousines showing property mostly to Arabs, many of them Sheiks and Saudi and Kuwaiti and UAE Royalty…. trinkets of sapphires, diamonds and gold were left as little Thankyous on many occasions. I remember one Saudi friend opening a briefcase overflowing with jewellery as gifts and telling me to choose what I would like, it was like staring into Alladin’s Cave! Some wives would come with me to view summer rentals and they would be wearing the veil, and would stare in awe at my girl about town Sloane Ranger apparel. Some invited me to convert to Islam and many offered me employment back home in the Middle East.

Before even joining the Bank, I met a wonderful Kuwaiti billionaire who became a friend for a season, although not a lover. I never slept with any of my clients from work. My quaint, Irish morality was in keeping with the strict Arab codes of behaviour for women. I worked for 6 weeks in a Jewish Savile Row tailor shop in the West End…everything bespoke, silk, cashmere, linen and what we would today refer to as ‘designer’ although probably better than that because not mass produced…I was the newest and youngest employee and as such was rarely allowed to sell on the floor. All staff were on commission and this privilege was closely guarded. I did however serve this Kuwaiti gentleman who pulled up in a limousine and came in with a bodyguard, I think on the first occasion he just bought some silk ties. However, he was charmed by my deferential service and youthful beauty and made a point of returning to the shop every day for a week, insisting that he would only be served by me, much to the chagrin of my boss and the old-timers in the place! He was outrageous and hilarious in that whatever I showed him he bought in multiples regardless of cost! Suits, coats, shirts, ties, woollens…I was on 2% commission and I made probably ten times my salary in that week alone (sadly my bosses did not honour it and I left the job after 6 weeks, moving on to the wonderful position in the Merchant Bank) Predictably after a few days of this, the gentleman asked me if I would be kind enough to join him for dinner, and his British bodyguard assured me of his honourable intentions. I joined him at the Dorchester Hotel…he was in a business meeting and slightly delayed, telling me to feel free to do some shopping in the hotel stores and charge it to his room! I declined, thinking prostitution is not just about sexual favours. He may have wanted me to dress to suit his wealth and standing but I had not seen the movie Pretty Woman not sure if it was even made back then, and was overly cautious in not accepting gifts from gentlemen. Although my budget was small, I had always had a sense of drama in my wardrobe and had scoured jumble sales, second-hand shops and old ladies wardrobes for beautiful clothes….I have all my life dressed beyond my means and apparently above my station!

So when I established with my kind and noble Kuwaiti friend that I would not be a bedroom friend or even a girlfriend, he welcomed me as a dinner guest and companion for his business trips to London with no strings attached, and much laughter and mutual respect. Whatever I turned up wearing, he would match in a suit, be it burgundy velvet or powder blue linen! If he did not have it, he would buy it the next day and tell me to wear such and such an outfit again. It was hilarious and adorable and with hindsight he was possibly a shopaholic! We would go to all the best restaurants in town, we would go to Annabelles and Tramp and casinos and belly-dancing nightclubs and generally have a ball. I never accepted gifts from him, and when he would put me in a taxi back home each evening he always gave me four times the amount of the taxi fare. Finally, after a few weeks of this, he said to me I am taking you shopping I insist. You are to meet me at 12 noon and we will buy you clothes shoes hats jewellery whatever you like, I am returning to Kuwait and I want to thank you and this is my gift and you will offend me if you say No. So I agreed. And with great excitement started a mental shopping list of all the finery I had dreamed of…………
Then disaster struck…there were no mobile phones back then. As I was excitedly getting ready for our 12 noon rendezvous, a telegram came to the door from my Mother…”Desolate. Meet me at Paddington off the train. 12 noon”

I was torn…………I had never been late for a date with my friend, and he hated tardiness let alone a no show. And what of my glorious shopping trip? With a heavy heart I did the dutiful thing and trudged to Paddington to meet my Mother. I listened as she told me of my Father’s latest infidelity and her despair, and whenever I could get a word in edgewise which was quite some time later, she accompanied me to the West End to meet my friend and at least explain to him my absence…I was frantic because I knew he was returning to Kuwait the following day and not scheduled to come back to London until the following year…

He was not there. It was more than an hour after we had arranged to meet. I rang his hotel and left messages. I waited another hour. To no avail. I had indeed offended him. I never heard from him again. My chivalrous and fun companion and benefactor M Al M was no more.

I did not date any of the clients in the Bank. I had great fun with them, almost invariably found the property they wanted, got chastised by my Boss for being insufficiently reverent toward them….(because of 3 near death experiences in my life, and the personality disorder borne out of my abuse, I was not and never have been deferential or reverent toward wealth or royalty…I am respectful, just not ingratiating or insidious.)

I worked in the Bank for 3 years then left and went to University as a mature student, now 3 years older than my peers. In my summer holidays, I worked as a governess for the children of Saudi Royalty, and just like with my babysitting days in my teens, I was asked to reproduce myself multiple times as more and more branches of the family asked for these expensive, strict and quaint Anglo-Irish governesses for their childrens’ summer stay in London. In the mornings I would teach the children English. Then, chauffeur-driven, we would go off to lunch in Mayfair or Knightsbridge or Piccadilly with a bodyguard also, and then in the afternoons we would do an activity…horse-riding in Hyde Park, ice-skating in Queensway, swimming at the Elephant and Castle or Earl’s Court, museums and sight-seeing, and even occasionally visits to the game arcades….we had a ball. The children loved it, the parents loved seeing their children enjoying London, and also loved the peace it gave them! One of my clients offered to finance a permanent summer school for me to run, a little outside London, perhaps Surrey, with land and stables and staff….sadly I declined saying I was too young to take on such a commitment. Oh silly me!

At University I fell in with the aristocratic crowd almost by default. My boyfriend there was from a very good family although his father had died and left an awful lot of secret debt which his poor wife had to deal with, leaving her and her sons well-known and respected but financially challenged….he brought me to weddings in stately homes, weekend getaways to summer houses in Oxford, and a splendid opera of Dido and Aeneus in the grounds of a Castle where we spent the weekend…the daughter was at University with us and was part of our crowd. I was reading Scarlet and Black in the French original over that weekend for an assignment at Uni. The castle, although splendid, was freezing cold. The Father was an alcoholic eccentric of magnificence and his wife had organised the opera to raise funds to repair the roof, as her husband had systematically worked through the family fortune with his drinking and high life extravaganzas. He was not above disappearing with a priceless piece of art, selling it then high tailing it to Greece with an entourage of drinking buddies and hangers on, only returning to the Castle sad and boyishly ashamed, when all the funds were exhausted. His wife often hid his clothes and left him only his thermal underwear in her desperate attempts to stop him running off in search of alcohol and adventure, which possibly included ladies of the night…………
All of us students were sleeping in R’s bedroom the last night of the Opera weekend…at 3 am her Father stumbled in in his long johns and thermal vest saying Wake up Wake up! The sheep are in the vegetable garden you Must help me immediately! It was hilarious and surreal…..I don’t know to this day if he was drunk or merely agitated, but the sheep were indeed in the vegetable garden and the boys of our party were promptly dispatched to return them to their paddock amidst much laughter and hilarity. My friend, the daughter of the house, went on to be awarded an OBE for her services to drama during her adult life…or was it an MBE? Not sure which, but her family were beloved of the Royals, and she did much in the Theatre and still does to this day. The weekend with her family for the opera with the background of Le Rouge et le Noir and my fallen aristocrat boyfriend is a cherished memory which still brings a smile to my face and a sense of loss of youth and innocence……… my life has changed!

Then after graduating from University…I did English and American Literature, with subsids in French Literature and E nglish Theatre and I was lauded as the brightest mind the University had had in a decade….they implored me to do a Master’s Degree and join the world of Academia but I declined. I had written a play and published poetry at University. I had led the students into a 10 day occupation of the Senate and Administration Buildings in protest at some awful law Maggie Thatcher brought in….I was only the second in leadership of the Students Union and the Chairperson was away the day of the vote so it fell to me and I was most alarmed and bemused to find myself leading an insurrection which quickly spread across all the Universities in England and got extensive media coverage, we were all rebels without a very good cause, and it almost got me in very hot water! My tutors pleaded on my behalf at a disciplinary hearing later, saying I was a bright light academically and should not be punished for youthful zeal! My American Lit tutor particularly told me that if my file had been stamped LEFT WING ACTIVIST any hopes I had in later life of visiting or living in America would almost certainly be dashed! Oh what glorious fun University days were, and how gracious my tutors!

My final encounters with royalty were a year after I graduated and went on my European tour du monde! Like many of the characters in the novels I read, I wanted to take a year out to travel before I settled down to adulthood having completed my degree. I was offered a job as a governess to the children of the Argentinian Ambassador to London, but back in Argentina as his posting had ended. Then the Falkland War broke out and my British accent would have been considered politically incorrect back home in Argentina. I was offered a job with a very wealthy family in Venezuela, but at the last minute, due to a lovesick heart, I sent my sister and best friend instead…I was offered a job with the same Merchant Bank in Colombia…I have always had a yen and passion for South America, but I was too scared to go and work there because of all the drug cartels and Mafioso…I was offered my old job back in the Bank but it had started to unravel with corruption from top to bottom and was one of the first major banks to crash spectacularly back then in the 80’s. I was offered a job as P.A. to a wealthy Sudanese politician with a house and office in Chelsea, I had worked for him briefly whilst his own P.A. was on extended sick leave…but I had stumbled upon documents that proved he was filtering millions into his own pocket from multi million allocations of funding to Africa and the third world for irrigation and so on, and I could not live with that knowledge knowing that my generous salary was probably funded by such corruption…..I finally settled on travelling to Spain, starting in Puerto Banus, Marbella, where a school friend was working as a chef on a yacht.

I did not need necessarily to work. I had rented out my apartment in London at a substantial profit to an American working for Exxon, so I had an income more than sufficient to the cost of living in Southern Spain in the early 80’s. Banus was charming and magical, much smaller back then, and not at all plagued by tourists as it is today. It was the playground of the rich and famous even back then, and the yachts were splendid and the parties fabulous. I can’t remember how, but I met an American starlet who had worked with Bob Hope and Grace Kelly and Lucille Ball and such…who had married millionaires and been widowed or divorced…she had been married to the heir of Bloomingdales, she had been a consort of the Kennedy boys, she attracted wealth beyond measure seemingly effortlessly…she was an absolute beauty and finally was courted and married by an Austrian Prince resident in Marbella, whose Uncle had started the now famous Marbella Club. She begged me to ghost-write her life story as she was now approaching her 70’s. She had had much cosmetic surgery and still looked stunning, but she had never been able to have children, due to a horrible, illegal back-street abortion when she was 15, and she felt a sense of urgency, perhaps a little like myself now, to document her strange and wonderful life in an attempt to make a cohesive sense of it for posterity. I moved in to their home at her insistance, to a beautiful en suite guest room overlooking the sea, cherry bedding and curtains, everywhere immaculate and exquisite, staff to cook and clean….and all she wanted me to do was listen to her reminisce and document it. It was a glorious three months. She took me everywhere with her and the Prince, parties, dinners, charity functions. She introduced me to her British friends Lord and Lady F. who also begged my help in organising plaza openings and dinners and balls as a social secretary. H wasn’t too happy to lend me out and jealously guarded me as her find and her secret. She became so controlling and possessive that eventually I moved out to Estepona, renting a tiny fisherman’s town house, revelling in my freedom, and joining the Princess daily for a few hours for work. We successfully completed three chapters and an outline for the autobiography…we sent it to Doubledays and received a publishing offer, although they wanted more salaciousness and less novel, which we declined….then disaster struck again…

The Prince died suddenly and unexpectedly. His wife the Princess, the American starlet and friend of Princess Grace of Monaco was side tracked with grief and then horror as she discovered a secret I had stumbled upon whilst the Prince was alive and she had only now found out as she sorted through his private papers. The Prince had invited me surreptitiously to ‘view a property and meet a friend’ but not to tell H, during the time that I was living in their home. I agreed somewhat reluctantly, my curiosity getting the better of me, and also not wanting to offend the husband of my hostess. To my alarm he drove (I had said I would follow in my own car for which I am grateful) high up into the mountains to a rather poor and shabby urbanization and opened the door to an apartment which in comparison to the splendour of his marital home was rather dark and seedy. He then flicked on television which was pornographic and offered me drugs from an array that was like a candy store and beautifully organised almost labelled…..he told me a Spanish Madam lived here at his expense and she had been his lover for more than 20 years….I fled the place as quickly as I could, with him begging me not to tell H and apologising for having misjudged the situation in inviting me. I agreed to silence, and later felt so bad when H cried to me about the paperwork she had found indicating his decades long relationship with a lady of ill repute and the apartment in his name….she went there herself to clear it and was heart broken at discovering his alter ego, his secret life…

And also, his children, who were in control of the majority of his wealth, and were in charge of dispensing H’s phenomenal allowance, threatened to cut her off and cease all financial obligations if she went ahead with the planned autobiography which they felt would bring their Royal family into disrepute even by association. Poor darlings, I wonder if they ever knew or even suspected their beautiful Father’s weaknesses?

So our writing project was abandoned. I returned to live in London, a little lonely, and a lot disillusioned. I worked a while in London, one of the Saudi family that had employed a governess through my agency offered me the use of his apartment in the West End whilst he was away, he was not improper with me in any way and was respectful and kind. But again, this was his bachelor pad of which his wife knew nothing…it was filled with liquor despite their Islamic faith and way of life which excludes alcohol, and by a bizarre twist of fate I discovered he too availed himself of the services of ladies of the night…..I did a management course and happened to invite one of my colleagues on the course back to the apartment at the end of a day’s study…she was a beautiful and winsome blonde, always immaculately and expensively dressed, and as we sipped wine and shared life stories, she confessed to me that before returning to study she had worked as a high class prostitute or escort as they were called, and the owner of this apartment, whose photographs were scattered about the place, was one of her regular clients. Oh the tangled webs we weave………..

So my conclusions are that all human beings, rich, poor, royal or common, are fallible human beings….and maybe the saying is true, how the mighty are fallen, for it seemed to my young and innocent mind more shocking for royalty and aristocrats to have such secrets than for the ordinary man or woman. Secrets are universal, so is sin, and we all have need of a Saviour.

I retain my love of all things genteel….ballet, opera, great literature, good company, fine wine, gourmet cuisine, luxury yachts, beautiful homes and even balls in Viennese castles….I am a wit, a savante, a writer and actress and raconteuse, a now-ageing beauty and a charming delight…a little older, wiser maybe…still a dreamer…still hoping one day my Prince will come…but meantime totally, passionately devoted and committed to my King Jesus and HIS Royal court, where sins that were red as scarlet are washed whiter than snow. I too was a sinner and not just a hapless observer of others ….Now I am the daughter of the King!
Hallelujah Selah!Reminds me of my mare BLUE BAYOU I had her from age 2 to age 32!  I rode her side saddle to the chapel when I got married!Reminds me of my mare BLUE BAYOU I had her from age 2 to age 32! I rode her side saddle to the chapel when I got married!

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