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Dutch courage

Posted by (Andrew) on

A party this week for the staff at the Royal Netherlands Embassy near Hyde Park, and I am thinking of it as my last party for a while. On the outside, 38 Hyde Park Gate is your standard posh Kensington building, but on the inside it is a little piece of Holland: relaxed, airy and full of signs in Dutch, all lower case and Helvetica font. The hostesses are Daphne (the Cultural Attache) and Diana, both with impeccable English, wry humour and a tall blonde understated European glamour. There are Warhol-ish prints of the King and Queen on the walls, which perfectly capture the mix of laid-back and formal that you would expect from a Dutch Embassy.

The party takes place in the staff kitchen and is great fun, although I am hoarse by the end from talking over the chatting guests. The end of the working day is more of a chance for Embassy staff to chat over wine and nibbles than to listen to some bloke babbling on about Tupperware. But the orders come flying in. One lady confides hilariously that her ex-husband nabbed all the Tupperware during their recent divorce, and she has come along to restock. She gets the full range of Space Savers for cupboard storage. The FridgeSmarts (for salads) and CheeseSmarts (for cheese) are very popular, as my friend Caspar had predicted of his countrywomen when I rang him last week and asked for tips on which products to showcase at a Dutch party.

You never know who will be a fan of Tupperware. This week I had a message via my MySpace page from singer Elkie Brooks.

My friends Laura and Claire set off for their 6-month world trip this week. I took a similar trip 5 years ago, and wrote about it for The Guardian, so I gave them some things I wish I had taken with me: clothes pegs, soup cubes, business cards and a few chocolates to hide in your backpack then suddenly remember and enjoy when times are hard. I packed it all into handy Tupperware oysters, and I am hoping they might send me a few photos of the oysters in action, for me to include here on my blog.

I was in hospital last week for an arthroscopy on my left knee. I am all strapped up, and stuck at home for a little while. I can sort of get around, but slowly and awkwardly. Even so, because the Dutch Embassy is pretty much door-to-door on the 360 bus, I decide to do the delivery myself, knee permitting, rather than asking my nice neighbour Math to do it for me. I am glad I went back myself, because the security guard has been waiting to talk to me ever since he heard there was a Tupperware party, and he asks for six catalogues for his wife and her friends. As I wait for the bus back to Elephant and Castle from Hyde Park, I notice that the house opposite has a blue plaque saying Benny Hill lived there from 1960 to 1986. I shove a few catalogues through the door.

Not sure what the future holds for me Tupper-wise. Without my website I get very few enquiries now, and those referrals I do get via Head Office tend to be people who just want a catalogue or a couple of specific items. As I said in an email to previous customers this week, I am happy to take orders and run parties for them, but given that my main source of new leads has been shut down, and since I have decided to work full-time for the next months, I think that will be the extent of my business for the time being.

But who knows. I will keep my options open.

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