And Another Thing…June 2011

Dear Rowley,

I do feel desperate for the Greeks, don’t you? They are being held to ransom by the European Union. Now I’ve got nothing against the EU, except I think it’s populated by venal, money grubbing career politicians who are milking the system and living high on the hog while the British tax payer pays their hotel bills. Don’t you get the feeling the bailouts, loans and crises is basically people playing with Monopoly money not their own.

Had a major catch up with Gail in Capri (you know the rest…) who has just returned from Cos looking bronzed and lovely. We were talking about luxury goods – booming worldwide apparently despite times being hard – and at what point does a luxury tip from a glittering treat into overblown excess. Gail’s gambit was a gold-embroidered shatoosh scarf for £50,000. Mine was Prince Jeffri of Brunei buying a green diamond to use as a keyring to match his latest vintage Rolls Royce. It does seem truly startling to me that the world’s economies are crumbling and the super rich seem to grow only richer. Surely some mistake.

Sorry to rant Rowley but it is raining on Wimbledon and I am getting the usual stage fright anticipating the start of a major new project: Handmade in England for Thames & Hudson. As my mate Mandi Lennard once said to me, ‘it’s all champagne or kippers with you’. When I am in the zone with a new project, all is well with the world. But when I am about to leap into a project I tend to pull back knowing the next three months are going to be at full gallop again.

Still, reasons to be cheerful darling. I’ve just received ten copies of the Royal Wedding DVD I voiced over the fashion for and wrote the programme notes. It is a very handsome edition and I will send you a copy as soon as. Jennie Bond voiced the main commentary so it’s nice to be in good company. Another reason to be cheerful was an invitation to join the Corthay Excellence Run: a classic car rally from Geneva to Milan mid-July stopping off at some of Europe’s greatest craftsmen’s ateliers. Shows you how dizzy I am at the moment. It had clean gone out of my head that the dates clashed with the Heyward Hill launch of Fashion at Royal Ascot: Three Centuries of Thoroughbred Style book hosted by the Duke of Devonshire.

There is the most heartbreaking programme on Radio 4 recorded from an old people’s home. Makes a boy think, doesn’t it. I think if we spent a lot more time emulating our grandparents we would be more contented with our lot. The wartime generation were remarkable, weren’t they. They put up, kept smiling and showed remarkable grace under pressure. No wonder ladies like my late grandmothers lived long and happy lives. They didn’t want for anything other than a happy family and good health. Anything over this is a bonus. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Be nice to your children and your pets.

After my recent travels, it is time to knuckle down again and get on with the Henry Poole & Co archive project, the Maria Callas Suite at the Savoy and my next book. Mrs T and I have a pow-wow booked tomorrow after we go and view the new Sotheby’s Diamond collection. We’ve both had much fun in the past weeks – particularly our day at Ascot with the Thames & Hudson Massive – and now it’s time to get cracking and rock out at the Savoy. This week we’ve got a lunch with Bromance and his PA Sharon at Wilton’s to plan our attack for the next three months.

Wasn’t it extraordinary that the Marilyn Monroe Seven Year Itch dress belonging to Debbie Reynolds reached £3 million? I can’t say I was entirely surprised but I am still staggered that not one of LAs movie land billionaires didn’t buy the entire collection and found the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Costume Museum. Hollywood clearly isn’t very sentimental about its past. I would cherish the golden era of Hollywood film. What will we have to look back on in fifty years? Shrek IV and Kung Fu Panda? Oh please my nerves.

While I was on the table at Relax with Santiago the other day, we got to speaking about whether London would be home forever. Santiago is from Madrid and I have a funny feeling that he is yearning to return to the city of sunshine. Me? I now have tunnel vision towards better half and I taking the house on Corfu in September where I plan to sketch out a novel. Masseurs and writers aren’t so dissimilar. Either of us can technically work anywhere. If it was the choice between Corfu and a London winter, I know which one I’d choose any day. Apropos of life being incredibly kind, Santiago happened to mention that he thought I had hands that Leonardo would paint. What a lovely thing to say considering I think I’ve got hands like a navvy.

I promised you a couple more photographs from Royal Ascot 2011. We had a lovely day not least thanks to Lolly for Dolly winning me the £540 that is, as it happens, terribly necessary at present. We are all feeling the pinch at the moment because London is so damned expensive. Much as I adore Wilton’s, I think I’d prefer a long weekend in Madrid than three courses with wine. Perhaps that’s the resolution for the rest of 2011: keep on trucking. Until next time…