Back in the Saddle. October 2015.

Dear Rowley,

Can you recall a number of years ago the neighbourhood witch put on a rather charming event on Savile Row? The entire street was turfed and fenced and sheep were driven down the Row by a shepherd and two sheepdogs in Huntsman bespoke coats. It was all rather sweet and naive. But, then again, we were all playing nicely then.

Any road up, they are doing it again on Monday as part of the Campaign for Wool and tis rumoured the Prince of Wales will put in an appearance. Now listen to Gypsy Sherwood on this one. Keep a sharp eye out for the receiving line and get back to me about pigs-in-troughs. I’d rather like to meet Prince Charles again who, we sincerely hope, will write a foreword for the Turnbull & Asser book. He has the signed-off proofs right now. Will I get a look-in? Will I buffalo.

The launch party plans for James Sherwood’s Discriminating Guide to London grows apace. We now have Chivas providing a whiskey bar, we have Berry Bros & Rudd King’s Ginger, we have champagne and we have naughty Negronis. Chandni at Spencer Hart has proved to be a treasure and I so enjoy her company. Speaking of which, I had dinner with the First Lady of Savile Row, Kathryn Sargent, and her charming husband last night.

It was such a spoiling afternoon. We met at Dukes for Dubonnet & Gin cocktails and I had the opportunity to sign a book for Alessandro. We had a 7.30pm table booked at Wiltons and it was music to my ears to hear ‘welcome home Mr Sherwood’. The dinner was absolutely superb. We polished off a bottle of Pol with the oysters, shared a twice-baked soufflé and a plate of smoked salmon then we all plumped for the Dover sole with spinach and potatoes Dauphinoise. Much Chablis was drunk and much laughter made. The gossip was delicious.

Now you might have noticed I’ve got rather a spring in my step these days. Can I get an Amen in here? The last two years were so shockingly s**** and there were times when I didn’t want to go on. But I persevered, gritted my teeth, straightened-up my spine and grafted to get myself back in business. Well, you’ll be relieved to hear that my milkshake still brings the boys to the yard. In the words of Fascinating Aida, ‘I’m getting it’. Who’d have thought I’d be getting a bit of ‘Arthur in the Afternoon’ and wearing a thong at twilight at my stage of life?

Having always considered myself more Nell Gwynn than Christian Gray between the sheets, it comes as something of a shock that I am now considered a ‘daddy’. I’ve spent most of my life wanting to be the younger, prettier one and now those days are gone. I won’t miss them. I haven’t had much of the old oom-pa-pa of late so it is really rather a joy to be rode like Seabiscuit of a weekend.

I shall spare your blushes, Rowley, and desist from gloating. But Sondheim’s right, there’s nothing quite like burying one’s rage with a boy half your age. So what else is new on the Rialto? I paid an official visit to darling Trevor Pickett’s new shop on Burlington Gardens. It is absolutely stunning. Sickening. Gorgeous. Trevor’s office looks back on Albany and forward to Savile Row. Well, I arrived at noon and we cracked open the G&Ts, opened the Row window and stood cackling and smoking like tuppeny whores in the Burlington Arcade.

I do adore Trevor. He is a grafter, he is a life-enhancer and he is a major supporter of Made in England. Unfortunately he’s in Paris for a party on Monday so I won’t be able to mount the Eva Peron balcony for Sheep Day. Apparently the witch decreed that it would be a dry event – appropriate and all with the kiddies and lambs – but I believe everyone is flouting that command. I’ve had offers from Poole’s, Huntsman, Dege and Davies to raise a glass and nibble on a spit-roast sheep. Such fun.

Did you hear about the military coup at Savile Row Bespoke? I swear they’re like a military junta in Argentina or some such. Su’s back so that’s made me happy. But I don’t have anything to do with the trade body now. They still fight like cats in a  bag and I’m over it.

Bumped into the bumptious Guy ‘Dashing Tweeds’ Hills looking rather sexy with stubble and a shirt unbuttoned to the waist. He’s done so well and I am terribly proud of his achievements. It couldn’t happen to a nicer chap. I’m also terribly proud of Kathryn Sargent in all she’s achieved since leaving Gieves & Hawkes where she was the first female head cutter in the Row’s history. She’s a lovely lady too.

Speaking of lovely ladies, I have re-connected with Louise Kennedy. I wrote about Louise’s Dublin townhouse  chic boutique in Merrion Square for the FT a million years ago. We always do re-connect and this time it was at Scarfes Bar in the Rosewood cue more bubbles. It sounds like I am living entirely for pleasure: not true.

I loved writing Turnbull & Asser but it was intense work that is only just completed. I’m going to sign Project Sparkle with Thames & Hudson next week and the graft continues. So I think a little tra-la-la and champagne on my week off is entirely appropriate. Baaaaaa.