Ready for Take Off. August 2011.

Dear Rowley,

Aren’t you adoring the story that former Home Secretary Jackie (or is she a Jacquie?) Smith has been redirecting convicts from their community service to paint her back bedroom? It just about says it all about New Labour’s jaw-dropping, self-serving venality. One had hoped that Jackie would melt into anonymity and become just a distant memory of a woman in a bad trouser suit with an untidy bosom and a husband with a penchant for porn movies.

Equally high on the laughometer this week is the war in Libya which has of late had marginally less gravitas than¬†Carry on Follow that Camel. Apart from their oil reserves, I’m not entirely sure why we’re supposed to care about a tin pot dictatorship squabbling amongst themselves. The rebels certainly don’t seem up to much do they? I thought it was positively comedic when the BBC reported that Colonel Gadafty was cowering like a rat in his bunker only for his son to give one of their journalists an open top bus tour of Tripoli the next morning grinning like a doped-up chimp and giving the thumbs-up sigh.

Evelyn Waugh’s Black Mischief comes to mind with the Britishers feigning interest but really playing in the colonies. I blame the journalists for mistaking the Libya crisis for a weekend paint balling and bonding exercise. Kate Adie got it so right when she said the journalists should never be the story. There were pitiful photographs today of about three rebels half-heartedly trying to burn a laminated poster of Gadaffi presumably whipped up by the BBC in the Shepherd’s Bush branch of Prontaprint and shipped out to Tripoli in the diplomatic bag.

Speaking of Tripoli, the pavement outside Bloomsbury Towers has recently suffered more serious damage than the Colonel’s compound courtesy of several overweight, moustachioed men who appear to be from the Balkans by way of Camden Council who have cordoned-off the entire pavement, dug up the flags, dumped a big pile of sand next to the tree trunks and gone awol for days. Having absolutely ruined the aspect of Bloomsbury Towers, the comedy council workers got into their little vans like Super Mario and sped off. We haven’t seen sight or sound of them since.

I must say I am very much looking forward to Joan Collins’s new opus about what is wrong with broken Britain. It is being serialised in the Daily Mail. She told a tale about an obese monster chav in her local Waitrose who called her a bitch because Joan was trying to reach around said Medusa’s hulking mass to reach the crab sticks. Joan retorted by calling he a ‘sociopathic slag’. Bring it on Joanie. I think we should take a leaf out of Joan Crawford’s book who would threaten her daughter Christina with 40 laps of the pool. ‘If you’re lucky I’ll fill it with water’.

Comes a time doesn’t there when getting on a plane seems more necessary than your daily two litres of water, twenty St Moritz and an annual subscription to certain, ahem, websites. You know holidays are overdue when one finds oneself stoating through Bloomsbury Square audibly muttering at Balkan immigrants like a bag lady with a bit of silver foil caught between her fillings.

On the upside is my agent Geraldine. She is the Boadicea de nos jours. Thames & Hudson and I have reached a conclusion that Handmade in England needs a rethink when I get back from Corfu and the Savoy is giving us lunch tomorrow to talk about the redecoration of the remaining Signature Suites. I think the best way to leave London is hoping that it wants a little more. My usual theme song is ¬†All of Me (as in ‘why not take all of me?). Perhaps this is the sound of a new leaf turning.

Don’t you absolutely adore the new Terry Richardson portraits of Liza for the new issue of Love? No, I don’t like the punky hair, can of Coca Cola and fag shot either. But I am enjoying a 65-year old diva working monkey fur, military caps and thigh boots. She was rocking out to Arthur in the Afternoon before Lady Gaga was even a twinkle in her mother’s eye. More power to Liza with a Z.

Darling, you can tell I am running out of gossip because my mind is turning towards how many white linen shirts and naughty Aussie Bum swimmies to take to Corfu. I went to Reiss for a made-to-measure suit fitting only yesterday and noticed my body had altered rather alarmingly thanks to swimming 40 lengths every morning at the crack of dawn. This is good for health but plays hell with bespoke suits.

A calamity last night. My alabaster bust of Antinous that rests on a shelf above the stairwell plummeted down the stairs of Bloomsbury Towers after I gave it a minor champagne shove. It knocked the most terrific hole in the plasterwork and shattered a framed RAB print. I could have wept. Living in a compact and bijou space does have its pitfalls. I only have to swish a sable to scratch the paintwork.

What do you think I should do for my 40th? I am in so many minds. This is not a year I feel like celebrating. I am thrilled that Fashion at Royal Ascot has been a roaring success but the rest of 2011 has been about as much fun as the Eastenders omnibus. I am rather tempted to delay my 40th celebrations and host a jolly official birthday party in January to cheer everyone up in the bleak mid-winter. Someone suggested better half and I go on a cruise but if they think my idea of fun is shuffle-board, Jane McDonald and self-abuse then they’ve got another think coming. Roll on Corfu. Until next time…