The ‘dog days’ of August – people on holiday, searching for the sun, which they seem to have left behind in London. It was so very hot. I used to work in Mayfair in the 1970s for Heinemann – publishers in Curzon Street, near Shepherd’s Market. Mayfair was always wealthy and quiet, with an ambient buzz around the narrow streets of the market area. Not the Berwick Street type of market with stalls – more an ancient pub or two, bijou boutiques, art galleries and discreet restaurants. And one or two ‘ladies of the night’. The Mayfair Curzon cinema with its marble ‘toilettes’ is nearby – always a treat. And the upmarket Connaught hotel. I’ve never been inside but it was a favourite watering hole for Alec Guinness … (he played ‘Smiley’ in John Le Carré’s novels, which were adapted for television).
I stood next to the refreshing spray coming from the fountains – opposite was an exotic floral display at Roland Mouret – fashion designer. The display is by a friend of mine.
Designer fashion and sleek, purring cars with Dubai number plates are two a penny around here …
A lot of galleries have had to leave Cork Street because of modern redevelopment and presumably higher rents. Some have reverted to being ‘online’ only. I’m glad this one seems to have survived and look forward to its new persona. I especially miss the Medici … Some months ago I turned the corner left out of Cork Street, where there is a small café. It has been there for many years – this time I was especially happy to see Bill Nighy sitting outside, enjoying a cup of coffee. I smiled at him and hurried on.
So that was my Bank Holiday Saturday. In a few minutes I will see my two favourite bookshops on Piccadilly – Hatchards and Waterstones. I can’t pass a bookshop without buying a book … but first, a glamorous afternoon needs to finish with a glamorous cup of tea.
P.S. The book I came home with was ‘The Lady Vanishes’ by Ethel Lina White. She used to be as well known as Agatha Christie, writing over fifteen mysteries and Hitchcock made a great film of this book. Sadly, she fell into obscurity after her sudden death in 1944. Recommended!