Many of us have used the current lockdown as an opportunity to learn new skills, such as knitting, a foreign language or DIY.
But for a privileged portion of the super-rich society used to having an army of staff to help out with basic tasks and chores, this period of social isolation has required a crash course in keeping up their living quarters.
London and Berkshire-based Lucy Challenger, 36, CEO of Polo and Tweed, a Mayfair recruitment agency that supplies staff including butlers and chefs to the wealthy, told how clients at a loss with housework have reached out to her for help.
From advice on how to do the laundry to cooking for their family and looking after their children, those without live-in staff are desperate for domestic support.
‘People are wanting to know — literally — how to do the laundry,’ Lucy told The Times.
‘They’ve never used a washing machine before. We explain how to understand the settings, how to separate the items.
‘To you and me, maybe this is common sense, but if you’ve never had to do it before, it’s a bizarre new
One client from Chelsea, south west London, she claimed, had been on the phone to ask how to change her toilet roll.
Another who has had staff all her life and was never taught how to do anything around the home by her parents is currently ‘drowning in laundry’ while having to look after her four children – without the aid of a nanny.
Lucy conceded: ‘If you’ve never had to multifunction at a skill like laundry and entertaining children, it’s tough.’
She previously told The Telegraph that her agency is receiving regular calls from property owners asking for advice on how to change the bed and iron and fold the sheets, having never done it before.
When it comes to cleaning, Lucy said a number of panicked clients had been in touch reporting disastrous consequences. She told how one had tried to scrub their antique mahogany dining table, while another used a Brillo pad to clean their prized enamel bath.
Lucy revealed another client, based at a huge 35,000 sq ft mansion worth £140million in Henley, is now struggling without his 10 full-time housekeepers, chefs, groundsmen and estate managers.
She added: ‘We had one client say, “I really wish I hadn’t bought such a big house”.’
Lucy reported a flurry of activity at her agency prior to lockdown, with people eager to hire live-in staff, but she can no longer supply workers as it’s not considered essential within government guidelines.
Some of her clients are taking the opportunity to send their furloughed staff on training courses – focusing on the positive as opposed to the lack of help.
She added that having to take on many of the tasks their housekeepers would normally do for them is making them more empathetic and appreciative of their work.
Polo and Tweed offers online training courses and its website provides tips on what to consider when hiring a house manager or housekeeper. Daily Mail