petite anglaise

October 21, 2004

guardian angel

Filed under: mills & boon — petiteanglaiseparis @ 8:51 am

A recent post by Andre reminded me of my own brief encounter with an angel years ago.

The year was 1994. The third year of my modern language degree, which consisted of nine months employed as an assistante d’Anglais in a French lycée followed by a few months work in a posh Hotel in Lindau, as my German was a bit rusty.

Lindau was idyllic: a picture postcard town crammed onto a tiny peninsula jutting out onto Lake Constance on the German-Austrian-Swiss border. The Hotel was a 5* palace. Behind the scenes, a motley crew of former Yugoslavians and foreign students on seasonal contracts kept the place in business.

First, I worked on the ‘Band’. This was an ingenious implement of torture: wooden boxes suspended from the ceiling on a metal chain – an upside down conveyor belt – transported food from the kitchen in the next building to the restaurant. My job consisted of retrieving food orders from this fast moving production line without dropping them or burning myself too badly, while simultaneously baking bread rolls in a tiny oven. Kitchen staff barked incomprehensible orders in German at me through an intercom. I couldn’t hear them properly as the ‘Band’ made such a racket, so I never knew what was coming and missed things so that they went round and round getting cold(er). It was undoubtedly the worst job I have ever had.

After a particularly bad burn I was transferred to minibar duty. *hic* This was an improvement. It involved the use of a master key, entering people’s hotel rooms after knocking twice and often catching guests in compromising positions. When I shouted ‘minibar’ they tended to beckon me in regardless and I filled up the fridge while they clutched the bedclothes to themselves to preserve their modesty. Or not. My minibar stock was not checked very closely. It contained lots of alcohol and Ritter Sport chocolate bars. A much better job. Things were looking up.

Until one morning I awoke to a searing pain in my abdomen. It worsened, and my temperature rose. I realised that something was very wrong and called reception, begging them to send a doctor, as I couldn’t possibly move. A Dr Wurms arrived and diagnosed acute appendicitis. An ambulance was summoned. A rumour swept through the hotel: I’d been seen clutching my stomach and was in fact in labour. One of the porters was the father. They obviously didn’t teach biology in Yugoslavia as the one night stand with the porter had happened only 3 weeks previously.

As if by magic, an angel appeared, to save me from all of the above. I can’t remember his face clearly. Only that he was very beautiful, had lovely wavy, shoulder length hair and there was something indescribably ‘right’ about him. He was a student, serving his conscientious objection time working with the emergency services. I don’t remember anything else he said to me, just his soothing voice. I forgot all about the pain and wanted the ambulance journey to last as long as possible.

I was wheeled into casualty, where several other people lay on stretchers in an open-plan area. There were no cubicles or curtains, but I wasn’t really aware of anyone else – I was burning up and the pain had intensified. As I lay on my back, a nurse took my temperature. The Angel turned to walk away, and I managed to prop myself up on one elbow, catch his eye and wave goodbye. He waved back. I think he winked, but I couldn’t be sure. And that, sadly, was the last I saw of him.

As I waved, I became aware of the fact that I was naked from the waist down. And that a thermometer was protruding from my rectum.

I can’t help thinking that I must have made a lasting impression on him too.


  1. hahah!

    So you were one of those people who keeps bursting into hotel rooms!
    No matter what you yell, and how loud you shout it, the time from their initial knocking on your door and entering your room has to be measured in fractions of a second.

    Comment by Adrian — October 21, 2004 @ 9:35 am

  2. Indeed. But with about 200 rooms to get round there is no alternative. And that’s half the fun.

    Comment by petite — October 21, 2004 @ 10:26 am

  3. I put a really good comment on here and it got eaten by cyberspace. Don’t you hate when that happens? I shan’t repeat it, because then it will appear 50 times in a tech-embarassing manner.

    Comment by Claypot — October 21, 2004 @ 10:39 am

  4. pretty please claypot

    You must get into the habit of ctrl-A ctrl-C before pressing ‘publish’. It will save your sanity.

    Comment by petite — October 21, 2004 @ 10:43 am

  5. ahahahahahah! sorry, nothing to say, just stuck with an image of you with thermometer stuck up yer bum… hahaaha. angels are nice too!

    Comment by vitriolica — October 21, 2004 @ 11:04 am

  6. petite you’ve just made me brust out laughing, now everybody knows Iam not working, bugga… Oh well, it was worth it.

    Comment by Bulwant — October 21, 2004 @ 11:22 am

  7. Vit – if you want to have a stab at illustrating the most embarassing moment of my entire existence, feel free.

    Comment by petite — October 21, 2004 @ 11:40 am

  8. It’s never as good second time round though is it? I want to see Vit’s picture!!

    I once spent a summer working in a German hotel as a chambermaid. Real fun that. We were all of the feminine gender, apart from one solitary boychap. We used to knock on the doors yelling ‘Zimmermadchen’ (chambermaid, or literally, room girl). Anyway, the chap thinks about this, and goes about knocking on doors yelling ‘Zimmerman’, figure that would be room boy. Turns out it means carpenter. Can’t imagine what the guests thought.

    Oh only only only in Germany could they still be sticking thermometers up arses instead of somewhere polite like mouths or armpits. Why don’t Germans laugh? We just had a German visitor. So dour. You feel like beating them with a ticklestick.

    Comment by Claypot — October 21, 2004 @ 11:46 am

  9. Oh, I had a similar experience after a car crash – my angel was the ever so handsome, young doctor.

    “now you might feel some slight discomfort” he cooed as I heard the ping of rubber gloves and he rolled me over.

    Slight discomfort?! I nearly died from embarassment that he’d just stuck his fingers up me arse to check for internal bleeding!

    Comment by PPQ — October 21, 2004 @ 1:16 pm

  10. Were you in France 1993/94 academic year?
    I was in Lyon that year…

    Comment by witho — October 21, 2004 @ 1:35 pm

  11. *counting on fingers again*

    Witho – yes, I was. Living in Rouen. I’m trying to think if any of my friends from uni were in Lyon…

    PPQ – I can hear that pinging noise. Very evocative. Just wait ’til you have a baby. Inhibitions. All gone.

    Comment by petite — October 21, 2004 @ 1:44 pm

  12. Hi Petite! Thanks for dropping by my blog. Your rectal thermometer story is a bit embarrassing to saya the least. Scary really!

    Comment by yayaempress — October 21, 2004 @ 2:29 pm

  13. oh what a glorious image I have in my head.

    Comment by andre — October 21, 2004 @ 3:04 pm

  14. Great blog! Like your Eng/French commentary. :grin:

    Comment by Court — October 21, 2004 @ 3:40 pm

  15. Classy image. I bet the angel runs his own blog and has published his own version of this story… :lol:

    Comment by claudia — October 21, 2004 @ 4:43 pm

  16. I thnink I’ll pass on the offer to illustrate the thermometer up your bum…. it would afflict too many too young! ahahahaahah!

    Comment by vitriolica — October 21, 2004 @ 9:10 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: