Letters to the Editor Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, May 2021, Letters to the Editor

PostBoxLetters to the Editor

Regarding that video shot in the Maldives

“Great memories. I have since learned how to hold a camera still! I learned so much that day, not least of which; how to tie a proper bow tie. You can’t spend a day with Steven Ferry and not come away wiser and more knowledgeable.” Frank Mitchell

Ed: What a lovely message, but I have to say, you are the one who is a mine of information on numerous topics, such as the ones you kindly provided columns on for the MBJ, and I never cease to be enthralled by your depth of knowledge. I still tell the story of when we were in the Maldives and someone had a golf cart modeled after a classic American car from the early 1960s, and you nailed the make and model. And there was I thinking your knowledge of cars was limited to every model down to the nuts and bolts of the Rolls Royce family! Hope all continues well for you.

Of Rice and Forks

“You’ve lived in America too long and worked in many places overseas but you certainly know how to upset a true Englishman and also an ex-sailor. You don’t know half the tradition that goes with port neither do you know about sailors hands. Why do you think we salute differently to other services? The public schools of England are proud of tradition and just because other countries have their traditions, they are still seeking the English way, so there!! Otherwise, my kindest to you both.” RF

Ed: I love it, thanks for the slap on the proverbial wrists. Yes, I found it upsetting too, but thems facts is thems facts and much as I love the English culture and way of life, I am concerned for its future. I would love to hear about those traditions in the Navy, though. I was told they never stood for the royal toast because they’d hit their heads on the rafters of the wooden sailing ships. Correct? If so, is it still the tradition?

“After perusing your forked article, I do so continue to get your point or, dare I say it, tang? I can see that despite Covid being forced upon us in conjunction with maniacal politics, you both are still at the zenith of your game. Bully for you!” LW

Ed: Good to know that you are holding your own through the bizarre efforts at governance being visited upon us. Dang, not a tang but a tine, but I get your point!

“Very thoughtful & interesting message, I especially liked the informative article you attached from Sara Goldsmith, The Rise of the Fork. My only observation regarding other comments is to say, ‘Each to their own.'” RS

Ed: “Glad you liked the message and especially that fascinating dive into fork history. It seems we do not just have strong coffee for which to thank the Iranians/Persians. Without contrary comments, we would never expand our horizons and knowledge, so we always welcome them.”

“On a few occasions, I have had the pleasure of dining in cultural settings where the norm was to eat with the fingers. Being game and with the, perhaps misguided, intention of being respectful to the culture, I had a go at eating with my fingers. Let me tell you – it is a learned skill and not nearly as easy or intuitive as one might imagine. I felt a little bit like a toddler making a mess at a highchair! I was even offered a fork out of pity, so my struggles did not go unnoticed. However, I was rewarded for my efforts with huge smiles and managed to keep the goat meat off my tie! I will never look at anyone struggling with an unfamiliar knife and fork again without remembering that, as children, we took years and tears to learn the skill.” FM

Ed: You must have cut quite a figure, tie and shirt, jacket perhaps, maybe even cross legged, struggling to eat rice with your fingers, (I imagine sticky rice is easier), but relieved that your tie remained goat-meat free! Thanks for sharing your excellent effort at cultural ambassadorship and taking away some worthwhile lessons!

SABA Again

“SABA lies about job offers. The work ads they place on social media are lies. Their skill is in advertising their so-called academy. The picture they create during training about butlering is one of a cruel and mean world. Their inferiority complex they disguise with arrogance and rudeness and is an experience to see. The teaching is so basic that it was on a par with what I learned in my mother’s house. I will never forget the unfairness with which they treated a person with skill and knowledge. I wish I could join the butlering school in Belgium—it is my dream. SABA was a bad experience. I had to resign my job, lost my bonus, lost my income and all for what? True lies and broken promises. Sadness is not a word, it’s a reality. The sadness is that they still carry on with their ways, catching others in the same net and nobody can warn them, so this mission of lies grows bigger and bigger.” CI

Ed: Thank you for having the courage to share your experiences and I am truly sorry that you (and others) were treated so poorly and have suffered so much. I do not know if you are already involved in the case, but if not, please do reach out to the chief litigant who can help guide you.

“Thank you for reply. I don’t have the time to become involved as I am back in Export logistics, which requires a lot of attention to details. I lost a lot of money, I lost a lot of precious time, and it is not worth my time defending myself against a lot of lies. I have had to bury my dream because of a fake company—another potentially excellent butler lost to the industry—it’s sad.” CI

Ed: I am sorry you had a dream and that it was dashed. I do understand you want to leave the whole subject behind you—we are sorry to have lost you as a potential member of the profession but wish you success as you move forward.

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