Monday morning is always a fresh start. Somehow we begin things on a Monday morning. New leaves are turned over and best feet are put forward. This Monday I had decided that though I was meeting someone for breakfast I was NOT single handedly going to keep the pig population at bay. No sausages, bacon etc. I sit down with Michael who is a tall grey haired but boyish ball of creative fire who organises big outside contemporary sculpture shows for Christies amongst others. I am discussing a possible plan for Masterpiece. We look at the menu and both discuss the merits of yogurt with berries. That suits our seemingly mutual new leaf. The waiter appears. He dutifully requests berries etc. After a moments pause I order a bacon sandwich, he immediately curses me and changes his order to bacon too. So much for Monday morning, feel afraid pigs! Feel very afraid.
In the afternoon I rushed down to Hatfields, a commode I bought is being delivered. Part of the deal was that a certain amount of restoration had to be included. I cycled over shivering but stately on my bike. Once there I thaw out nursing a cup of coffee. I look out of the window. Time passes, steam rises and time passes. Finally a shiny silver mercedes sweeps into the yard. Hugh, brisk and smooth with his country tweed, highly polished shoes and military bearing emerges. I am intrigued. He describes and demonstrates the work carried out. I cannot work out whether he is happy or sad. The work has gone well, possibly too well it seems. He gives me the impression that he has undersold it to me now the work is done. Once he leaves I realise what a clever chap he is. I make a mental note to try and copy his technique.
On Thursday I rushed over to the Bulgari hotel in Knightsbridge for the launch of the committee for this years charity party at Masterpiece. Marie curie are taking over the mantle of the Midsummer party and it is a huge responsibility as the evening should be worth around half a million in fundraising. The hotel is stylish black and the staff hover with the enthusiasm of the new. We are ushered to a cinema on one of the lower levels. There we are introduced to Heather Kerznerwho will lead the project. She is elegant and skinny and incandescent with energy. Everyone is greeted with delight, affection and purpose. We see the presentation and hear her plans and a buzz brightens the room. I think that she is the kind of person who will make things happen. The crackle is very appetising.
I whizz off to Sotheby's cafe where I meet Carol, the jewelry fashion guru from Vogue. I had not seen her since the fair and it is always a delight. For someone as eminent as she is it is strangely humbling how shy she is, or even lacking in confidence. Her "Brilliant" show at the fair required a huge amount of work and took diamonds from over 30 different sources to celebrate the Jubilee in an original and fun way. It brought with it enough headaches that I feared i might never be on friendly terms again. But here we are reminiscing positively and fashioning an idea for 2014. Wow.
Then lunch, not just an ordinary lunch though. Lunch with 71 other people. It was the Women in the Arts lunch at the University Women's Club in Mayfair. I had never been to this club and it is tucked away by Park Lane. I was impressed by this gathering. We men were there under sufferance, this lunch is the annual 'bring a date'. It was amazing to scan the room and see just how many businesses and corporations would crumble if a bomb landed. An incredibly powerful group. The food was pretty ghastly. A cow pat of pâté was followed by chicken with a dog bowl of vegetables, which cunningly managed to incorporate under cooked potatoes and over cooked broccoli. the pudding was a slice of cheese cake that would have better served as a door wedge. But the food is not the point. A fabulous, funny speech by Lucinda Lampton recalling pioneering work done as a proto paparazzi and her burgeoning love of architecture. She had paved the way for so many women, not just in the world of work but also in life. As I went back to the office I realised that I had spent the whole day surrounded by female power and success. Each of the women had achieved their goal in their own way, without any reference to so-called feminism. I felt I was privileged to be working amongst such a plethora of talent.
From the world of female to the world of male. Saturday was spent merging the joys of standing in the freezing cold, enjoying damp feet in driving rain, with fabulous Russian food washed down with Standard vodka and champagne. My son rows and I cycled down to watch him do his thing at Hammersmith. The bridge itself is fabulous, designed by the legendary Bazelgette, seemingly the author of so much of what we experience in London. A festival of cast iron, it glitters in green and gold. Every car that goes over seems to make the whole structure shake and tremor. I watch my boy pass below the bridge as I proudly point my iPhone camera. Then a chase back to the boat house. The gathering of testerone as steaming boys gather, chat and heave the massive boats out of the water, is impressive. None of them seem to feel the cold. I cycle home and prepare for dinner with Paul. He is a new friend, and he is passionate about Russia. He has been going since the 1960's. his house is a a peon to the culture and craft of Russia from 1760 to 1820. Malachite, rhodonite, korgon and other hard stones abound with gilt bronze twinkling in the candle light. No electrics here. Even the chandelier is perilously lit with a lighter dangling from a pole. We sit around a small English regency breakfast table and quaff from tall glasses engraved with eagles and resting on stepped square feet. A white Georgian lemon cream soup gives way to fluffy blinis layered with sour cream, herring, smoked salmon and roe. The whole blissful ensemble soaked in clarified butter. Great conversation coupled with frozen vodka, and the flickering late combine to make a late night. Boys will be boys.