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Sara Jarrold

‘I hope Annie has done the toilets and that pale plush pile; just a few spot cleans I think’, Polly was mumbling to herself as she arranged the last of the loose cut flowers. And had the cleaners seen to everything without being told?

She loved a vase placed here and there, so she made up smaller ones with neat medium-sized buds packed tightly for the bathrooms, five in all. The colour was usually a blend of pinks, matching the pale pink guest soaps; guest towels were grey in colour.

Larger arrangements were due to arrive early afternoon, big, bold, white and beige flowers with green foliage. She did love grand ‘épergnes’, they set off a room. The largest one was for the foyer. It looked fabulous on the deco, light mahogany table with gold inlay. There would be another two for the ante-room, just before you got to the dining area. 

There would be a few Veuves in large, silver ice-buckets sitting on the inlaid table upon arrival as well.  Usually guests just milled around on the spot where they landed, she always noticed. Even with goodbyes they sometimes settled back into conversations in the foyer.

The flowers for the dining table would be sprawling arrangements, low so people could see and chat to the person opposite. After all, this was not Buckingham Palace but a chic Melbourne suburb; one had to try very hard so that no one would know.

Tonight’s menu had been taken care of by Polly’s ‘man’ down in Toorak Village, who ran a larder but did fabulous dinner parties as well. He took care of everything. Tonight was a smallish gathering of twenty of Jeremy’s work colleagues from the investment division of the bank. 

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