Lady couriers
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#1: Lady couriers Author: Alison HLocation: Manchester PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2007 12:11 pm
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IIRC we had a discussion a while ago about what Maeve meant when she said that she wanted to become a "lady courier" and no-one was sure, but I think I've just found the answer in The Abbey Girls At Home. Two young British women have to travel to a Sanatorium in Switzerland, run by an eminent British doctor, because the mother of one of them has been taken there for treatment. A friend, who has just given birth to twins (do all these themes sound rather familiar?!), arranges for a "lady courier" to accompany them, because they are nervous about travelling Abroad and having to change places/get meals etc in Places Where People Do Not Speak English.

Basically, the lady courier escorts them all the way from Britain to their destination, makes sure that they and their luggage get on and off all the right trains in the right places, gets their tickets for them, orders their meals for them, etc - they refer to her as their "keeper-lady" and talk about her "taking people across" to Europe.

I prefer to think of Maeve as being something more like the forerunner of a modern holiday rep, though Laughing . I think she'd get bored doing the "keeper-lady" job all the time - although I bet Len'd be very good at it!

#2: Re: Lady couriers Author: KathrynWLocation: London PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2007 1:03 pm
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Alison H wrote:
I prefer to think of Maeve as being something more like the forerunner of a modern holiday rep, though Laughing . I think she'd get bored doing the "keeper-lady" job all the time - although I bet Len'd be very good at it!


That reminds me about my half-finished Maeve drabble in St Mildred's...exam season seems like a good time to try and write more of it!

#3:  Author: ElbeeLocation: Surrey PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2007 2:43 pm
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A lady courier also features in Mrs George de Horne Vaizey's book More About Pixie, when Sylvia needs to be escorted to Marseilles to visit her ill father.

#4:  Author: RoseClokeLocation: In my pretty box-like room PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2007 10:03 am
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Thanks for that - when I first read the 'lady courier' conversation I thought she meant air hostess. Although it was more glamourous in those days I wasn't sure if it would be thought a 'suitable' occupation for a CS girl so I was a bit confused. Smile

#5:  Author: Loryat PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2007 3:50 pm
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I somehow thought it was someone who transported important packages and had no idea why Maeve'd want to do it Embarassed . Think she'd be good at the above job though, and it's quite an unusual one for EBD.

#6:  Author: GabrielleLocation: Near Paris, France PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2007 5:55 pm
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Loryat wrote:
I somehow thought it was someone who transported important packages and had no idea why Maeve'd want to do it Embarassed . Think she'd be good at the above job though, and it's quite an unusual one for EBD.


If it makes you feel any better that's what I thought too. Embarassed That's what courriers do these days. I never quite understood why there was such an emphasis on the lady part. I thought maybe they were lighter packages or something.

#7:  Author: Smile :)Location: Location? What's a location? PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2007 7:00 pm
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Gabrielle wrote:
Loryat wrote:
I somehow thought it was someone who transported important packages and had no idea why Maeve'd want to do it Embarassed . Think she'd be good at the above job though, and it's quite an unusual one for EBD.


If it makes you feel any better that's what I thought too. Embarassed That's what courriers do these days. I never quite understood why there was such an emphasis on the lady part. I thought maybe they were lighter packages or something.


Laughing Laughing

at the lighter packages!

#8:  Author: ElleLocation: Peterborough PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2007 7:56 pm
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Loryat wrote:
I somehow thought it was someone who transported important packages and had no idea why Maeve'd want to do it Embarassed . Think she'd be good at the above job though, and it's quite an unusual one for EBD.



Same here!

#9:  Author: Sarah_LLocation: Leeds PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2007 6:49 pm
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There's a mention of a lady courier in CS Fete. She's staying with two elderly ladies at the girls' pension in Vevey.

#10:  Author: LizzieCLocation: Canterbury, UK PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 12:35 pm
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I'd assumed when I read this discussion that Couriers were a thing of the past, but I was discussing a recent holiday my elderly aunt had taken in Italy with her and she mentioned how amazing their courier had been while on the holiday, known all the languages and accompanied their group on the journey to and from Italy and smoothed over any and all problems that arose.

It sounded really interesting and I was impressed that the position still existed!

#11:  Author: RosieLocation: Land of Three-Quarters Sky PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 1:56 pm
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Don't the big companies like Ingrams have couriers? Is that the sort she means?

Also, when we used to go camping with Keycamp and Eurocamp they had couriers as staff on-site to help with language difficulties etc. I'm still considering spending a season in France as a children's courier. I do a very good line in leading small children astray...

#12:  Author: BillieLocation: The south of England. PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 2:47 pm
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Loryat wrote:
I somehow thought it was someone who transported important packages and had no idea why Maeve'd want to do it Embarassed . Think she'd be good at the above job though, and it's quite an unusual one for EBD.


So did I. I wondered why Rosamund in Problem (I think) was considering being what I understood to be similar to being a "lady postman" (as I still call them as Postwoman and postal delivery worker just sound wrong to me.)

#13:  Author: CarolineLocation: Manchester PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 4:11 pm
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LizzieC wrote:
I'd assumed when I read this discussion that Couriers were a thing of the past, but I was discussing a recent holiday my elderly aunt had taken in Italy with her and she mentioned how amazing their courier had been while on the holiday, known all the languages and accompanied their group on the journey to and from Italy and smoothed over any and all problems that arose.

It sounded really interesting and I was impressed that the position still existed!


I've been on holidays like that - we did a three week group tour around Peru (Inca trail, Lake Titicaca etc.) afew years ago, and had a guide with us all the way to talk about the things we saw and make all the arrangements - she was excellent. Our group of 10 people ranged in age from mid-twenties to late sixties. My parents have also done escorted tours in various European countries (a little more sedate than Peru!) - they like them because they don't have to worry about finding their way around or speaking the language.

Weirdly, I hadn't made the connection between these guides and a Lady Courier's job, but I guess that's exactly what they were.

I wonder if it would have been thought entirely gentile for an single, upper middle class girl of Maeve's age / background to be escorting strangers around foreign countries in the 1950s? You'd think she'd need a chaperone!

#14:  Author: FiLocation: Somerset PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 5:08 pm
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It may only be ladies that she would escort. Also would she work freelance or maybe she would be employed by an agency who would vet their clients/ only accept those of a certain class. I would think that the sort of ladies who could afford these services would prefer a courier from an upper middle class background.

#15:  Author: Liseke PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 7:34 pm
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It sounds a little like a modernised lady's companion. She's very common in Victorian literature, but fades away after that.

#16:  Author: KBLocation: Melbourne, Australia PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 3:14 am
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Surely a lady courier is a mix between a modern tour guide and a meeter and greeter. They might only have one or two clients, but their role would be to take people around and show them places of interest, as well as smoothing out any problems.

#17:  Author: KatherineLocation: London, UK PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:29 am
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Ooh, does that mean I was a (Lady?) Courier? I worked with my Dad on a school ski trip. The company he works for organises trips for schools and the like. We had four different schools and our job was to just be there to sort out whatever needed sorting as well as speak French for those who didn’t speak it. We organised entertainment (in conjunction with the place we were all staying), accompanied them to places like the swimming pool and doctor and generally made things run smoothly. Also managed to fit in a little skiing. Was great fun but hard work. Then it was back to the day job.



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