Just got back to Bloomsbury Towers having had a knees-up and a flag wave at the Savoy’s Diamond Jubilee street party. Having spent the morning with the editor of Uomo Japan having breakfast at Cecconi’s, I can say unreservedly that all the other central London street parties were quite literally a washout compared to the Savoy. The poor peeps enjoying the ‘Big Lunch’ on Piccadilly looked like they’d just been rescued from the Raft of the Medusas. Still, that’s what you get when you endorse anything with ‘Big’ as a prefix be that ‘Big Lunch’, Big Society’ or ‘Big End’.
Let me set the scene. You know Savoy court is an Art Deco jewel built in 1930 that is half covered with a canopy with a golden statue of Count Peter of Savoy standing rampant on top? The entire street was closed and the exposed element covered with canopies under which trestle tables were lined. Belinda Bowles the Savoy florist had done the hotel proud with fresh sprays of blue and white delphiniums decorated with fronds of wild strawberries. Charlotte had booked three corgis to grunt and sputter at the guests’ feet and Brett had arranged a big brass band playing everything from The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba to Gilbert & Sullivan and Diamonds are Forever.
The placements were Savoy Diamond Jubilee rosettes and there was lashings of lovely Champagne plus the added touch of class whereby the Savoy Court fountain was engineered to flow with a Bombay Sapphire, almond and Champagne fountain. Now I’ve ended up underneath the Eiffel Tower and God only knows what else after a night on the punch so eschewed the amber nectar mixed by the rather dashing American Bar chief Erik Lorincz (who has just married Miss Brazil, natch) and opted instead for my weight in Champagne.
There was only one person who could be on my arm for the Savoy street party and that was my beloved Mrs T with whom I curated the Savoy Museum and toiled in the trenches on various Signature Suites. Uncharacteristically, neither of us consulted the other on our wardrobes. Hence Mrs T arrived in a blue and white ensemble and I wore my red cashmere corduroy Mark Powell and a white shirt. We were a walking Union Flag. It was pure heaven to spend a long and festive lunch at the Savoy where we were treated to a very British menu of pork pies, sandwiches and choice cuts of cold meat followed by summer pudding chocolate towers and cheeses.
When the band struck up God Save The Queen, the entire street party stood, waved flags and cheered. Our GM Kiaran gave a charming and succinct speech standing one foot in the Savoy Diamond Jubilee Punch fountain and gave us the loyal toast to HM The Queen. We all raised a glass and there wasn’t a dry seat in the house. Did it rain all day? Do Guardsmen supplement their wages in Hyde Park? Of course. But being British we were undaunted and resolved to have a ball whatever the weather. Reminded me of a Sherwood family picnic en route to the seaside somewhere on a lay-by off the M1 when Grandma Gandy went arse over tiara in a deck chair after one too many sweet sherries. Happy memories.
Nicest surprise was en route from Cecconi’s to the Savoy. I was stoating down Regent Street and bumped into my brother and Michelle who were in town for the Buckingham Palace Diamond Jubilee Concert tomorrow evening. Lucky ducks had got tickets plus a complimentary picnic and a bottle of fizz. I have everything crossed that the weather will improve sufficiently for them to have a right royal Knees-Up or – as one of La Farmer’s friends put it – a Legs-Up…which is something else entirely.
Now best laid plans and all that, some of the naughty children had cooked up a plan to get up onto the roof of the Savoy to watch The Queen’s River Pageant pass the Savoy at 3.30pm. Well, by the time it got to 3pm we’d all had a few too many to risk heights and, besides, I reminded myself that I have vertigo if I stand at the top of a staircase never mind on top of a ten storey hotel. It was also drizzling as only London knows how when there’s a state occasion. So we decamped to the River Room. I hadn’t been to the River Room since my Savile Row book launch so it was nice to watch The Queen sail by from a familiar and much loved London ballroom.
I don’t think The Queen’s barge had sailed under Waterloo Bridge before I turned on my heels and high tailed it back to Bloomsbury Towers. I realised I hadn’t really eaten more than a slice of pork pie and a whole summer pudding at the Savoy street party so cooked-up a dirty great plate of eggs and bacon sluiced down with a cup of English Breakfast so strong you could trot a mouse over it. Makes you proud to be British. I did stop off for another bottle of bubbles to watch the highlights this evening curled-up in my bower of bliss wearing Derek Rose jim-jams.
That’s quite enough excitement for one day. It is now pissing it down like a monsoon in Rangoon. You wouldn’t want to be out on the street much less in a three-mile River Pageant. I’d imagine HM is in desperate need of a cuppa and a plate of eggs and bacon just about now. Until next time…