Every time I put the BBC Olympic coverage on the flatscreen at Bloomsbury Towers it appears that Britain has won another gold medal. I thought we must be up to about thirty by now. Then I realised the BBC repeat the medal ceremony for those two birds in a boat and Sir Chris Hoy on a loop. This would also explain why I thought the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were camping out in the Westfield Shopping Centre because they seem to be in the crowd at every event every day at every second of it.
Isn’t the velodrome amusing watching all those athletes in lycra condoms wearing helmets that look suspiciously like a science project? If you have a few drinks it is like watching sperm hurtling towards the nearest ovary. A charming day today in the company of Guy ‘Dashing Tweeds’ Hills at his Primrose Hill townhouse. We’re working on a World of Interiors feature for December that needs writing sharpish. Guy’s brother and sister-in-law opened an architectural salvage firm twenty years ago called Retrouvius that has since become legendary in London interiors circles.
Retrouvius owns deceptively large brick warehouse space in Kensal Green and have the talent to keep way ahead of all the bandwagon leapers and rescue truly imaginative fittings such as desks from the Inns of Court, display cabinets from the V&A, cabinets from the British Museum and Derbyshire stone from Heathrow Terminal 2. The reason I bring this up is because Retrouvius redecorated Guy’s house and a spectacular job they did too. You’ll have to buy Interiors if you want to take a peek at the wonderful world of Guy Hills and Dashing Tweeds.
I walked home through Regent’s Park and the glories of the planting reminded me that I don’t make enough use of London’s parks and open spaces…unless you count Hyde Park when the 10th Hussars are billeted in the Knightsbridge barracks. On the way home past the British Museum, I spotted an aggressive gypsy peasant woman handing out cards for a private taxi service offering deals to get the Olympians and their guests back to the various London airports. ‘Old crone’, says I, ‘may I volunteer to help and do the weekend shift?’ The sooner these beatniks leave London to Londoners the better for the economy and the general wellbeing of Bloomsbury setters.
Somebody’s just set a world record doing something somewhere at the Olympics. Whoop-di-doo. I got through all of last year and that deserves a bloody medal not that I’m bitter. Here’s the thing with Olympians and ‘dare to dream’ and ‘it’s a journey’. There are people with terribly ordinary lives who don’t have the world’s attention – if any attention at all – and yet they perform acts of immense heroism every day of their lives with no recognition or applause whatsoever. I’m thinking about people who care for elderly rellies or disabled children or even themselves when alone and nobody else will. I shall now sing eight bars of We Are The World and join a convent.
But I do mean what I’ve just written. It’s all very well celebrating the fastest, strongest and loudest. But I suspect the Paralympics will be much more life affirming…not that I’m going to watch any of it. I hope to be back up to full speed myself and writing to compensate for the weeks when I have been relatively inactive due to you know what. It did occur to me that more feral Britishers would be claiming tax relief, benefits and meals on wheels if they’d gone through the ailments I have over the past weeks. Prosecco and Lillian from The Archers was my only benefit.
Reasons to be cheerful? Today the sunshine over London was glorious. The Artist left me a stack of very obscure Vivien Leigh DVDs to see me through the weekend – The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone, Anna Karenina and Ship of Fools - and I have lots of work to do from the daybed in Bloomsbury Towers. It’s getting to the stage now that I spend so much time with a laptop and a duvet that I feel like Paula Yeates on The Big Breakfast…or should that be Lily Savage who incidentally is being resurrected in panto this year. Thank you Paul O’Grady. We’ve all missed Lily.