Day 67

Well, it had to happen and last night was the first time I’ve missed a post for 67 days. After some thought I’ve decided to call this post Day 67, as it is the 67th one I’ve written, rather than the one written on the 68th day since I started. I hope that makes sense.

I didn’t feel bad about missing one, because after a week of travelling, intense emotion and even the odd bit of work, followed by dinner with four friends in a restaurant so ear blisteringly noisy we had to bolt our food and run to my house to recover, I was just exhausted.

This morning I allowed myself to stay in bed until 11am, which is a rare treat.

I watched three episodes of Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners back to back, which was heaven, until I couldn’t stand it and had to get up and bleach clean my bathroom.

It looks so much better.

I assembled and wrapped a 50th birthday present for one of my very very dearest friends which is so perfect for her, I was nearly hyperventilating with excitement as I did it.

I’m gutted I won’t be in Sydney to see her open it, so I’m thinking of asking her husband to film the moment for me.

I roasted a chicken.

I helped my daughter do her ballet ‘homework’ which is to study the arms in The Dying Swan. I was thrilled to find this video of Natalia Makarova dancing the role.

It moved me to tears, as this piece always does. We’ve both been practising our swan arms ever since. It’s hard.

Advertisements

Day 66

IMG_4072What could be better? Three of your absolutely favourite girlfriends, lots of champagne and the Savoy Hotel… Pretty much nothing by my reckoning.

About once a year Kathy Lette, Josephine Fairley (above), Catherine Mayer and I manage to synchronise our diaries for a meeting at the legendary London hotel. This year joined by new pal Jane Memmler.

It’s always a riot, with every clan gathering feeling like we’ve just seen each other the night before, even though it’s always months (although I see Jo a lot, because we live three streets apart).

Oh the stories, oh the laughs… with one high point for me this year being Jo saying to the waiter: ‘I need to eat something salty…’

B3AYhr7IIAAloyB

Left to right: Catherine, me, Jane , Kathy, Jo

 

Now I’ve got the next meet up to look forward to.

Not that they will be entirely absent from my life until then – and I don’t mean just the shared laughs on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

I’ve got Kathy’s latest book Courting Trouble to read at Christmas.

189027

Catherine’s new one – a biography of Prince Charles, written with unprecedented access to the subject, called Born To Be King – is out in February.

9781627794381

And regular emails from Jo’s new business, The Perfume Society, with its gorgeous e-magazine The Scented Letter, keep me up to date on everything fabulous and fascinating in the world of fragrance.

SL4_CoverWidget

I love my gal pals.

http://perfumesociety.org/

Day 65

IMG_4034

Today has been a techie day. First of all my friend Simon, who is like a vet for my computers, came over to give them a little health check and sort out some snags for me.

One of those snags was the printer in my writing office not working – which turned out to be because I didn’t have the cable plugged into the computer.

Embarrassing much?

Then I had a meeting with Roger, who very handily works in the room opposite my out-of-home writing office, and is a wizard website designer and conceptualiser.

That was exciting, because he’s going to help me sort out the massive mess I have created by having two separate blogs and a website that sits there with nothing happening on it – because it was created before you could have a blog on your website.

If you wanted to change the content on it, you had to get your web designer to code all the new stuff in for you. That seems like another universe, don’t it?

It was created, we realised, before iPhones existed. Gosh.

So that will all be happening sometime soon, so watch this space, as they say, although in this case, I mean it literally.

Simon did another thing for me, which is going to make my life so very much easier – and will enable me to use my own pictures more often on here, which is what I’ve wanted to do from the start. He showed me how to upload pics from my iPhone to my PC very simply.

So for those of you who aren’t into Instagram, here is the visual story of Tuesday’s post (Day 63) my day wandering around London.

IMG_4002

Forget Christmas sweaters – buy a Christmas bra from Agent Provocateur instead.

IMG_4005

Truly terrifying clown onesies – for MEN – in Primark. I would die if I saw someone in one of these. I have coulrophobia (fear of clowns, shudder). Also, I would be horrified by their appalling taste and willingness to wear man-made fibres next to to their bare skin. Quel horreur.

IMG_4015

The mysterious world of Albany, just opposite Savile Row, where you don’t have a flat, you have a ‘set’. It kills me that I’ve never been inside.

IMG_4016

Christmas in the world of Tiffany & Co. Why stop at breakfast?

IMG_4023

IMG_4041

An amazing and thought provoking exhibition, but not exactly a barrel of laughs.

IMG_4052A gown in the window of Alexander McQueen. Note how the skirt melts into feathers at the hem.

IMG_4053

A gown at Burberry. Layers of raw tulle and a trench coat tippet.

IMG_4055

Karl Lagerfeld’s new Monster Choupette range, based on his pet. So very vulgar. My brother suggested the furry dingle dangle is one of Choupette’s fur balls… The only good thing about them is that they’re not real fur. I haven’t been able to find the shop price,
but they’re on line at £137 – that’s just the fun fur ‘charm’.

And the inquisitive chap at the top was in the window of the DAKS store on Bond Street.

Day 64

Gordon 1This post is dedicated to the memory of Gordon James Peter Squire, above, whose funeral I attended today. That’s him, on the left in the picture, with me in the middle (pulling a stupid face), my mother and my brother Nick in the striped hat.

Gordon was (I still find it hard to type that past tense) the patriarch of a family I have known all my life. Our families have been friends ever since my parents moved to Staffordshire in 1960.

As in my family, they had four children and we all grew up together, from playing to partying. Since my father died thirty years ago, Gordon and his wife Norma have been the very best of friends to my mother.

They have always been the ones, of all my parents’ lovely friends, who we all really looked forward to arriving at parties and we had so many happy times at each other’s houses.

Gordon’s death has made me feel very poignant – and although I have shed tears, I can’t be gloomy sad, because he was 86 and really had the very best of lives, with the closest and most loving family anyone could wish for.

As a testament to that, two of their daughters live in houses literally on either side of their parents, so they have a kind of compound with the grandchildren constantly running around.

My only-child daughter has spent some of her happiest times there, having a glimpse into what it’s like to have a bunch of really fun brothers and sisters to hang out with – and although they’re all older than her, she is always made to feel one of the gang.

Gordon held a place in the affection of me and my siblings second to none. He was of a breed of Englishmen rarely seen any more. A true gentleman. Perfect manners – but never stuffy – always immaculately dressed whether he was hosting a Christmas party, tending the barbecue (a particular passion of his), or helming his yacht. As seen in these pictures.

He was very well read (Rugby, Cambridge) and a joy to talk to. He had that quality of always appearing to find what you were saying particularly interesting and he was the same with everyone, whatever your age, or station.

Testament to that, many people who work on the shop floor of the family business attended the funeral today. I chatted to one who has worked there for forty years.

And it’s not just any old business. Squire Locks, manufacturers of security devices, was founded in 1780 – six generations back from Gordon. His son John is now managing director, making it eight generations.

Gordon didn’t just run the business very successfully, he was closely involved with technical and marketing innovations, introducing bubble packs to the UK in 1960, after spending a year studying the market in the United States.

But beyond all those reasons to admire him, Gordon was special to us because he felt like such a link back to our own lamented father. The same dress code and manners, immaculate fingernails, never seen unshaven – and a shared love of sailing.

Gordon 2

My eldest brother Freddie (on the right in this picture) – currently living on his own yacht in the Caribbean – crewed for Gordon several times, on races across the Irish Sea, several of which they won.

With my best friend Victoria, I was once recruited to cook on a week’s cruise with Gordon and three of his pals, across to France. I hope we did him credit, we certainly had a hilariously good time.

I still can’t quite take in that I will never see that very particular smile again and look forward to my moment at an occasion when I would get to chat to Gordon.

The funeral was a very fitting tribute, followed by a lunch at a local hotel, with the entire Squire clan, two of my siblings, my mum and all the family friends who have known me since I was a baby. Although it was convened for the saddest of reasons, it was a joy to be there.

And I had one bittersweet little moment of my own. When I popped to my mum’s house (which she’s no longer living in) to get her good black coat, I went to the outdoor safe to get the keys.

This is what it looks like.

H4277_229161_00_PP_300Wx300H

Day 63

I’ve had the most perfect day.

I stayed up in London after the awards dinner last night and the logistics of the next couple of days meant I had to stay there before coming to my brother’s place, near Oxford, this evening.

A whole day in London, without an agenda… what a treat.

I did some Christmas shopping. I walked around Soho, Regent’s Street, Bond Street. I went to the Anselm Keifer exhibition at the Royal Academy… it was bliss.

I bought my Christmas cards, I swooned over gowns in the windows of Burberry and Alexander McQueen and the jewels in Graff.

I don’t aspire to own jewels, but I do like looking at them, marvelling at the wonder of nature and imagining who might buy them and who might wear them. Rarely, still, the same person, I fear.

There were the most extraordinary emerald drop earrings – the size of almonds – and they were clip ons! Imagine losing one…

It was such an untold luxury to have time, nothing to lug around (I left it all where I was staying in Soho) and no particular place to go.

My final errand was taking my watch into Watches of Switzerland’s glam new shop on Regent Street, to book a service.

The delightful young man who served me – hi, Ludovic – made me feel like a minor member of the royal family. It was so very nice.

They offer you coffee while you wait. So civilised.

For some reason I can’t make the photos from my phone jump into this iPad like they’re supposed to, which is so annoying, because I took some great ones.

But if you pop onto my Instagram account you will see my whole day in videos and snaps. I got some corkers. I’m @maggiealderson

Day 61

imagesUPCY9ZU3

I bought a new saucepan. I’ve been soldiering on with a really annoying one I bought years ago which was never very good, but it felt profligate to just chuck it out and buy a new one.

I was so pleased when the handle fell off on Friday.

The replacement is really nice stainless steel with a good heavy bottom (great for sauces) and a glass lid.

And £10 from TK Maxx, so that was a bonus.

I didn’t buy the Christmas jumper I saw in there a few days ago, but I did buy another one. Grey with white Breton stripes and Chanel earring style pearl buttons on the shoulder by Clements Ribeiro.

05016824_large

It’s much nicer than it looks in this crappy photo. I bought it big and push up the sleeves. So much of styling is in the little details of how you wear a garment, not just what you put together.

My daughter is already wearing her Christmas jumper.

I mentioned 1980s Levis jeans commercials when I was writing my column this afternoon, which sent me off watching them again. Nick Kamen taking of his kecks in the launderette. Love all that.

I found this one, which I’d never seen before. I’ve been obsessed with Bruce Lee since I went to see Enter the Dragon with my dad in 1974, so there’s nothing I can find to not love in this either.

I’m a little concerned whether I’m going to be able to post over the next two days. It will be so frustrating to miss one after all this time now, but I’m travelling and not sure what the internet access will be like – or whether I will be able to work the WordPress app on my iPad.

So if there’s radio silence you know what’s happened. I’ll still write them though.