Come in to the Garden Maud. July 2011.

Dear Rowley,

So t’Internet has felled a giant in the form of the News of the World. Is that an admission of guilt or what? Perhaps it is more a sign that the guards are changing and power has returned to the people a la Citizen Smith. One always knew that the world wide web would be a formidable force but feared it would have the braun but not the brains like a hormonal teenager. Well, turns out public opinion can be a giant slayer. About time too. For far too long, England’s establishment has been pandering to billionaires such as Mr Murdock. It is high time too that we register disapproval of people who use dirty tactics to earn very grubby money.

I have long since concluded that anyone in a position of power is on the take. Our Parliamentary system is utterly discredited and I think the silent majority in England is decidedly teed-off about the billionaire boys’ club who act like pigs in a trough and think we are just the civilian class who pay our taxes while the generals siphon cash off to Monaco or some such. You know me darling, I only need enough to keep me in Prosecco and suits. I am not avaricious. But I do draw the line when I see people in power abuse their position, live high on the hog and expect the rest of us to put up and shut up. We’re all in this together? As Catherine Tate’s Nan Taylor would say ‘not f****** much we ‘aint’.

On to more amusing subjects. Yesterday I drifted down to Mess – the restaurant annexed to the Duke of York’s Barracks in Chelsea- for lunch with my St Martins mentor Bobby Hillson. Bobby is a total up. She is the lady who interviewed Alexander McQueen for a tutorial role and suggested once she had seen his sketches that he would benefit from being one of her MA students. From thence a star was born. I adore Bobby. She is elegant to her finger tips and is fearless in giving her opinion even to friends. Without Bobby’s gimlet glance at the layouts, my Fashion at Royal Ascot book wouldn’t be half as good as it turned out to be.

From lunch with Bobby, I had a couple of hours to kill before meeting the Savoy art consultant at the Chelsea Arts Club. I drifted from Daylesford Organic in Pimlico up the Thames path to the Chelsea Physic Garden. This magical acre within a walled garden dates back to the 18th century. The plants cultivated within this secret garden are by and large holistic: plants that soothe a manic conscience, plants that combat carcinogens, plants that soothe pain and ease the burden of daily life. All of this is terribly admirable but for me the true magic in the Physic Garden is the beauty of the planting, the sense of calm one gets stepping into this Arcadian world and the sense that all is right with the world when you see butterflies dancing in central London.

You really need to see the Physic Garden Rowley. It warms the heart and lifts the spirit. Wouldn’t it be a perfect venue for my 40th birthday party? If only one could guarantee the weather on October 27th. Still, it has planted the seed of an idea in my mind to do something al fresco on my jour de naissance. As I was heading towards the Chelsea Arts Club, I bumped into my old Pitti Uomo compadre David Harvey coming the other way. I have not seen David since we were last in Florence many moons ago. We decamped to the Bluebird courtyard on the King’s Road and lifted a glass of Kir or three to Firenze.

Don’t please get me started about my unfortunate half an hour in the Chelsea Arts Club. How to describe the ill-dressed, slovenly miscreants gathered around the bar and pool table? Just imagine disappointment and frustrated creativity made flesh and served glasses of wine for £2. They looked at me in my Huntmsan three-piece as if I would foam at the mouth and scream ‘you crazy liberals’ with feeling.

Liberal? I don’t see anything revolutionary about middle aged people dressing like teenage vagrants in the name of art and having complexions the tincture of a nicotine stained finger. I took out my mobile phone to call Peter and the barmaid – not to mention the assembled mob – reacted as if I’d whipped a Smith & Wesson from my garter belt in a saloon bar in the Wild West. ‘Don’t’ – if you please –  ’use a mobile phone anywhere in the club’. ‘Don’t', I was tempted to reply ‘be such pretentious tossers’.

Long story short, I drained my glass, texted my still absent host and bid farewell to bohemia in Chelsea. Let’s face it Rowley, I ‘m more bohemian in appearance and behaviour than all of those frustrated artists put together. Let them marinade in cheap Valpoliparrot and bitterness. I got a taxi home and watched a marathon of Lynda La Plante’s Widows with a nice bottle of Chablis. Can’t stand affectation, can you darling?

Is one turning into a misanthrope? I do hope not. It’s just that whenever I leave the house I know there will be certain specimens of humanity who will make my blood boil, flesh crawl and prompt me to run back to the relative safety of Bloomsbury Towers. Besides, I do have to get my beauty sleep for the Fashion at Royal Ascot book launch next week at Heywood Hill. The Duke of Dev is going to say a few words. I have been asked to add my tuppeny-worth. Don’t love public speaking to a crowd despite adoring talking to camera. But as Marilyn Monroe said to her housekeeper Mrs Murray when she expressed reservations about Marilyn singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to JFK in a nude dress spattered with rhinestones, ‘Be brave Mrs Murray. Be brave’.