The Joys of Spring. May 2018.

Dear Rowley,

After the first hot, blue-skied Bank Holiday in living memory, I am genuinely feeling full of the joys of Spring. This being London we fully expect torrential rain come Tuesday but, for now, the magnolia blossom is in full bloom behind Bloomsbury Towers, the cherry make the Regent’s Park look like the set of a Fred Astaire movie and my favourites, peonies, are in the window of Bloomsbury Blooms. To quote Cole Porter, tt is delightful, delicious, delovely.

Today is also the first day since ‘the troubles’ that I have felt like my old self again and repeated the Miss M quote upon which I have chosen to live: ‘Fuck em if they can’t take a joke!’ I swear the burglaries nearly did for me mentally if not physically and the poison that is self-pity had started to creep in.

There is nothing in this world worse than self-pity and that includes Diane Abbott. It is a loathsome human response to a run of luck however bad. It is uglier than anger and drains the life out of one. Today I took my favourite walk along the South Bank, across Tower Bridge and past Traitor’s Gate on the way back to Bloomsbury. It was glorious and – again for the first time in a long time – I felt glad to be alive.

As you know, my finger has been within pricking distance of the Grim Reaper’s scythe at least three times to my knowledge ergo there has to be a reason why this existential problem in Savile Row suits is still buggering on. Again, for the first time in a long time I feel as though the best is yet to come.

As of May 1st, I am back on the Henry Poole & Co book deadline July 2018. I also have two further projects to put forward at the Thames & Hudson editorial board meetings: the first is titled Cabaret in Fashion and the second The Savile R0w System. I can’t say more than the former is my fun project and the latter a legacy one in collaboration with Su ‘Savile Row Bespoke’ Thomas who has proved not only to be a hoot but also as I suspected something of a treasure.

To quote Miss M again, ‘you’ve got to have friends’ and mine have been blindingly loyal for the duration of ‘the troubles’ as have my parentals. Not one of them held-up the ‘self-pity alert’ red card reasoning that I had to come to that conclusion myself and adjust behaviour accordingly. Nobody wants to be one of life’s drains when you have the capacity to be a radiator.

In the words of RuPaul – our fearless leader – I have made a few decisions. Why be Cruella de Vil when you can be Auntie Mame? I’ve learned more than a few life lessons from the shockingly shit first three months of this year and the first is to tap one’s troubles away. It is terribly hard to feel self-pity when lip-synching to show tunes while tap dancing round your kitchen after a glass of prosecco.

You notice I said glass rather than bottle. This is decision numero uno. I always thought alcoholism and manic depression was like putting the cart before the horse. I am manic therefore I drink.  But what if it is the other way around? It only took forty-six years to work that one out.

I’ve had a healthy love of alcohol for all of my adult life. Some would say it was the love of my life. But comes a time when Auntie Mame turns into Miss Hannegan. Everybody loves a drink but nobody loves a drunk. Too true as it happens. I always know I am in my right mind when I start counting the units and they cease to be the week’s recommended intake in a night.

I also know I am on the right track when I question whether paying £12 a day on bitch sticks (aka Vogue Menthol Cigarettes) is a wise investment. I can’t go into my fifties with nicotine-stained fingers and teeth like The Grinch. Nay, nay and thrice nay. Vanity alone should work miracles the nicotine patches cannot. God forbid you ever see me vape. How common!

Can you recall interiors good fairy Nicky Haslam’s etiquette column in ES entitled ‘How Common’? My favourite one of all was going ‘oooooohhh!’ when a Champagne cork pops. I think vaping is ten times more ghastly than a camp squeal when the fizz fairy blows her stack.

Resolutions are terribly easy to make and terribly taxing to keep. I am addicted to cigarettes and it will take the willpower of a David to defeat the Goliath that is Dame Nicotine. I think the best way forward is to have one if I’m climbing the walls and calling everyone the ‘C’ word but not give in to the pack. With the best will in the world, it will be a miracle if I do quit. That said, I’m in the mood for miracles right now.

Another of my decisions is to move house. I need a fresh start. Much as I love Bloomsbury, the shine has been somewhat dulled by being broken into four times. I’ve noticed a major rise in professional beggars bussed-in on a daily basis and am fed-up of the first language of the Borough being Mandarin. So watch this space. Letters from Clapham North might not have the same ring to it so we might be re-branding Letters from London. Until next time…