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12 July, 2004

Maid of Honour

Cleanliness at Cell Block G has broken down to such an extent that the services of a maid are finally required. This brings with it a new dilemma: what will the maid expect? Jumeirah matrons - with their decades of experience as expat paleface wives managing all numbers of maids, cooks, houseboys, drivers, gardeners, and general staff - are a wealth of information.

"Rubber gloves. What nationality is she?"

Most probably Sri Lankan.

"Medium. Buy medium-sized gloves." (Which race uses the small size? Or are they exclusively for child labour?)

The very intermittent - frankly rare - floor cleaning at Guantanamo has so far been done through a novel form of domestic skating: industrial-strength kitchen wet-wipes positioned under foot, whereupon a form of sliding around takes place until the floor is very slightly less grimy looking than the wipes are. Sadly, it appears that the maid "will not understand" wet-wipes.

"Jif. All maids know Jif. They like Jif, because they know what it is."

A trip to the supermarket ends up costing twice as much as the maid will, as brand new sponges, cloths, scrapers, sprays, gloves and things are piled into the trolley, along with the magical Jif.

A first-aid kit could be a useful standby in case she faints with horror at the sight of the floor tiles: once white, now a richly coloured impressionist splattering of culinary mess. Aliens excavating Cell Block G in a thousand years' time will probably prize it as art. The maid is likely to be less appreciative.



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