Placere Placet


These three things are hardest to bear:

To lie in bed – and sleep not;

To wait for one coming – who cometh not;

To try to please – and please not.

Arab proverb

Placere Placet

(It is pleasing to give pleasure)

This is the motto on the crest of the  Connaught Hotel. The motto used to be stamped in green on the otherwise plain white plates of the restaurant, and was one of the many frissons of pleasure which it gave me to be treated to lunch there by my sybaritic uncle-by-marriage, Sebag Shaw. Lunch always began with white lady cocktails in the Art Deco bar and the whole experience was as far away as it was possible to get from the mundane surroundings of my boarding school, university or bedsit.

I have just had a conversation with a charming Ms Heirbaut of the Connaught. She broke the news to me that the plates no longer bear the motto, but that it survives in the hotel’s crest and is to be seen on their writing paper, umbrellas and all the other places you might expect to find a crest discreetly displayed.

Dear Connaught, might you consider bringing back the escutcheoned plates? It is so endearing, heralding a meal of undiluted willing service in which the hotel aims only to please. Hard to imagine a dissatisfied customer after that overture 🙂

I have spent a while looking for the right illustration. I rejected pictures of gift-wrapped boxes, chocolates and people grinning, as well as those hinting at some X-rated pleasures, in favour of a photograph of snowdrops. Before the snow fell, I had just seen the first in my garden, and the hope of spring that they bring is I think something like the pleasure I am trying to convey. This is by Khomulo Anna | View Portfolio  via Shutterstock.

About layanglicana

Author of books on Calcutta, Delhi and Dar es Salaam, I am now blogging as a lay person about the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. I am also blogging about the effects of World War One on the village of St Mary Bourne, Hampshire.
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2 Responses to Placere Placet

  1. Kate Greene says:

    I have just received a Christmas gift from my mother of a piece of China from the Connaughton with the motto on it. It is not plain white, but is a pattern from Dunn Bennett Co Ltd

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