Lunch at the Adelphi Hotel

One day some silly ass just smiled,
And when he told my mum,
‘Queen Mother you remind me of’,
I thought, ‘What have you done!’
From that day on, a polished grin
She’s used for her own ends.
She’d charm the apples off the tree,
Whose branch would never bend.

Can’t quite now remember why,
But we took her out to lunch.
As we crowded through the door,
We formed a motely bunch.
She sailed in, head held high,
Her countenance serene.
Wasn’t certain that if before
To the Adelphi she had been

We ate our meal, a little wine,
We chatted soft and low
Until her ladyship, god bless her
Dealt her timely blow.
We went across reception
To the Ladies in the corner.
She’d already locked the door.
I had no chance to warn her.

I’m sure that those who’ve been there
Know the doors are solid oak.
‘Help! I can’t unlock the door.’
Her panicked voice had spoke.
‘It’s dark in here and there’s no switch’
My mind recalled a song!
‘I’ll go for help’ I told her
And she shouted ‘Don’t be long’.

The receptionist, with dead-pan face
Shoved screwdriver up her sleeve
Whispered to a colleague
That her post she had to leave.
Her deportment was just perfect
As she sailed across the floor
And set about dismantling
The lock upon the door.

With bits in hand and anxious look
She pushed the door back wide.
A rendition of some song Ma knew
Came from the dark inside.
There she sat on top the loo
From where her feet she swung.
Handbag swinging there as well
To the tempo of what she sung.

‘Ma! You’ve made a show of me!
I hissed through teeth clamped shut.
But she just smiled, said ‘Thank you’,
And swept past me with a strut.
The shame of it, the poshest place!
‘I’m bringin’ you no more!’
But her regal smile remained there
As she swept out through door.


With gratitude to the Hotel Reception Staff
for their quiet efficiency

By Jean Neale