Rebecca Taylor: Instructions for a Personal Assistant

Dear Miriam,

As per our chat, these are the additional tasks to complete & items to pack for my trip. (Am aware, of course, this is your first holiday prep with me, but you’ll soon get the hang of it):

Hostess gift for Jules (J): Should I use the Pashmina type scarf that Celeste bought on school trip to Nepal, but which did so little for her complexion? To clarify: Feel there’s no need for extravagance as paid for carpet clean in spare room after J and her chippy daughter Pippa stayed here last autumn (before your time)

Earplugs – in case J puts me in blue room by back garden (external aircon unit)

James Boswell: The Life of Samuel Johnson
Martin Amis: Experience
John Grisham: The King of Torts (pls upload this onto my Kindle as planning to read)

Sunglasses (Black Wayfarers, no need risk new Chanel. Too many bloody tiles in that villa)
Prescription sunglasses (not sure where are but pls check boot room cupboards and dressing room top shelves)
New Prada reading glasses
When you nip to Boots, please buy another pair +1.5 that I can lend to J at dinner as she always leaves hers at villa and expects to use mine (clogged pores around nose bridge – CAN’T COPE WITH!)

Lens wipes (x 2)

Anti-bacterial wipes, including special non-static ones for remote cntrls. Better get 2 packs, pls.

Andrex for own bathroom as J buys single sheet. Pls wrap individually and pack discreetly in large LV case.

Clarins bronzing milk – in case rains. Can’t always get at local pharmacy (pls pour into small Boots container)

Plenty 1 Euro coins for supermarket trolley + small notes for tips (credit card gratuities in group always complicated)

Antspray, as J never has because Pippa climate hysteria. Allowed in luggage? Please check by Thursday. When you call airline say it’s not aerosol but pump

Holistic Silk pillowcase (gold/green one)

Flat Gucci loafers – for driving to restaurants, as we take turns.

Panadol x 2

Special foot cream, the lavender one (pls pour into small Boots container)

Adaptors, as J never enough

Diet tea (pls place 7 sachets in small Boots container)

Think about any ideas you have re what can say re preferring upstairs room with balcony without making too obvious don’t want blue room by garden where air con thing

Home hair dye kit in case goes green (chlorine).

Toothpaste, as J never

Nescafe for room

Gin for room (pls pour into large Boots containers)

M&S special white suppt. bra, NOT off-white as must be identical colour to base colour of new Dolce white swimming costume as to be worn underneath

Tampax – in case J pretends period again to appear younger in front of PV-H (newly divorced) and friends

2 of own beach towels. J’s housekeeper collects them and puts by pool next day at random. Take the oldest Hermès ones (with letters faded). Best not provoke Pippa who has become very chippy since started uni. Last year, she pretended to read Guardian demonstratively around pool EVERY day.

Salt/pepper/sweetener sachets from Pret. I know, I know. But last year there were yellow bits in the outdoor salt mills, CAN’T COPE WITH!

Can you please speak to Rahni re list of French words/phrases for restaurant purp. My French getting sooooo rusty.

Oh, also remember to get FT and latest Economist. – Must be able to say thing or 2 re Brexit at dinner, especially if PV-H shows up (appears to be financially sound, just bought Range Rover and new terraced house (in Battersea, but large))

Berluti backgammon set, in case PV-H (pls print rules off internet)

Pls order same day delivery on Net-a-Porter Spanx full body suit (nude, 12)


While away:

Hugh will pick up Little Jonnie Friday. But he is useless, so important Little Jonnie’s stuff packed. Incl. money for tutors (cash) as Hugh always only credit cards.

If Diane with Hugh, let wait in drawing room on sofa facing family portrait. By no means Diane to roam house. V. nosy and leaves cheap pong which works itself into curtains and stays FOREVER.

Thanks a million, you’re a star.


Rebecca Taylor has contributed multiple stories to Funny Pearls, including How Florence Published a Bestseller against all Logic and Expectations and The Panel. Previous posts in the Fiona serial are listed below.

Dear Xandra

15th March 2019

Dear Miss

18th February 2019

Dear Hugh

7th February 2019

The Christmas Card

9th December 2018