Sunday, 4 June 2017


I was in London last night at the Opera, watching LElixir of Love at the ROH.  Its a happy opera, so rare these days.  As I left, London was buzzing and I walked through Covent Garden.  Such an interesting place, you forget how good it is because the tourists never do.   There was a woman singing her heart out to a blues song and the restaurants were full of sushi, falafel, German sausage eating smily people.  
I got home to turn on the radio and find there had been a shooting. I texted Tom who is with his dad in London. In the City. No reply.  So I texted his dad.    Tom replied. I am fine. Its not a terrorist, he texted back sagely.   He's fine, his dad replied.  

But how many mothers texted their sons that night and didn't get a response. Not because they are at that monosyllabic age but because they're dead, stabbed in some hellish lottery for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  

Thursday, 1 June 2017


I attended the Marie Claire Future Shapers, which was a collection of workshops in a day, telling the good and great how to build a personal brand, build confidence, start a business from scratch, switch careers, how t get a head in the digital world, how to be your own influencer and the power of collaboration.  I stayed for one talk to see a friend speak and then left, but you can get all the talks on line.   #futureshaperslive


Ostensibly to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Eurodisney, this trip also celebrated what is great and good about Paris, namely, what's outside of it. Eurodisney #eurodisney itself is about an hour outside Paris - travelling from the Gare du Nord, if you arrive by Eurostar (still very good and with a business lounge now which you will only be able to enter if you travel business class - not premium economy).  Sorry.   (we tried)

We also visited a fabulous chateau just by Meaux, where the mustard and brie are made, where one of 
my favourite films Dangerous Liaisons was shot.


Stunning chateau with a fascinating history - the Pompadours were regular visitors, and Charles de Gaulle entertained loads of dignitaries here. 

Originally owned by a banker, who was caught embezzling money from the state, and promptly (and rightly) executed by the King, it was given over to another family who were very forward thinking and installed electricity and bathrooms all over the place (the French allegedly wash the least in Europe - the Italians (four times a day) the most).   All clean living here.  Wonderful weekend and Eurodisney, 25 years on, still has its magic, although you ideally need a four or eight year old to make you see with better eyes when you walk around.

Buffalo Bills Wildwest Show, is still, in my opinion, one of the best things to see - although I will aways have a soft spot for the Peter Pan ride. I do, I do, I do believe in fairies....


Happy Pictures in all this stressy time with Brexit and elections and Donald Trump.    Sometimes downward dogs are just not enough and you need to walk in countryside and get the fountain in the courtyard flowing.    So we did.

One pix is of the fountain that has taken fifteen years to install in my courtyard.  And the others are of the Isabella Plantation which is stunning even when the flowers have lost their colour.

It is God's Cathedral.   Stunning.


the fountain.  Yeyyyy it works!!!


I attended Carole Stone's 75th birthday at the Reform Club this week. She is a marvellous lady and amongst others I have her to thank for my break into writing.   There were 399 of her other closest friends there - all of whom she had helped and supported in some way and who were proud and privileged to know her.  The Reform Club is very formal, but Carole is not, and discussions always range from the surreal to the abstract. As the last year has been particularly surreal, there was a lot to discuss.  Happy Birthday Carole.


Day spent at the Hay Festival.   I sat in the Green Room and watched the good and the great come in before their stints on stage.   Stephen Fry, Alan Yentob, Simon Schama, Sheila Hancock, the author of The Girl with the Pear Earring, various actors I know by face, but not by name.    I have never been before and one day hope to return and actually be one of those who talks rather than accompany one of those who talks, but its a start.  My friend did brilliantly.   Very proud of her.  And I also watched a talk on Quakers. They like silence a lot although it did make me smile when Sheila Hancock said it was very difficult to be quiet when she felt to angry at the moment.  I completely get that.  

And I liked the Hay Festival.  Its a long one, and they must be shattered by the end of it, those who attend every day to help with organisation.  I attended the party at the Wacaba Farm - although for some reason I kept thinking it was called Macaba, no matter how many times I asked.  No wonder the taxis driver was confused.     Shepherds Pie and chandeliers, under a huge marquee, with the same good and great who had earlier been on stage, now strutting their hearts out on a stage floor to Foo Fighter and a very good set with the CEO of Cannongate publishing as the DJ (I SO wish I had known it was him,  would have pitched, or at least told him how good the music choice was).

Hay itself is delightful, and I'd like to visit when there are no festivals - which is rare in the summer. I also like Herefordshire, which always gets mixed up with Hertfordshire but this place has more depth and soul to it, and less commuters.    Herefordshire has more character.   I would describe it like The Shires in Lord of the Rings, only its next to Wales - like Middle Earth.

I stayed at Burton House, Leominster #burtoncourt @burtoncourt, which is agothic building, with stunning views from each of the three bedrooms on offer, and lovely hosts. Lovely rooms, beds to sink into, perfect weekend retreat.   The owner was actually born at the house and grew up here, so knows a lot more than most people do about the properties they B and B.    Most guests book there for a night and end up staying for two or more because there's so much to do and the walks are interesting and exhilarating.   There's nearby villages to explore, and Ludlow, one of the prettiest places in the country (in my humble opinion) is close by.   I stayed for a day and a night and had to journey back to Paddington.    The train service was good as well.   My only recommendation is you will want to stay here for longer than time permits. Two days is not enough - make it four. And definitely go to the Hay, for a day.