Category: London

The Caledonian Ball

One of the loveliest assignments I was sent on while I was in London was being sent to cover the Caledonian Ball at Grosvenor House.

The Royal Caledonian Ball, Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London.

Gill Faulkner rummaged around and found me a simple long black dress and you could hardly see the moth-holes.

I caught the tube from Buckhurst Hill feeling rather foolish. If you are wearing an evening dress surely you should be in a limo?

It was well past the midnight hour. The ballroom was sparkling with patriotic rocks. Debutantes delightfully dishabille, twirled like tartan striped barber’s poles in a forest of kilts.

Historic homes were deserted. Family seats grew cold.

From the Highlands and the islands, from remote shooting lodges and grouse moors, lochs and glens they had come. This was the…

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On Valentine’s day – then and now

When I was working at the Sunday Times in Johannesburg on Valentine ’s Day, my  office looked like a florist shop.

‘No one has the right to have so many admirers!’ adjudicated a reporter spitefully.

It’s a very South African thing to define someone by what they have, what they wear, what they drive and where they live.

I tried to heed the caveat of my yogi raj Mani Finger: Take your work seriously, but not yourself. If you take your possessions seriously what will happen if you lose them.

What will happen if you lose them?

I thought about that when I took the roof off the car and drove home with Talking Heads blaring, the song-snatching wind blowing through my hair. At times like this it was easy to believe that I had hit three gold stars on the fruit machine of life. Did I deserve my good fortune? What gods…

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Death by tabloid

Dear Nigella,

You probably won’t remember me. We met briefly in Londinium when you were still married to John Diamond. I was an avid reader of your restaurant reviews in The Spectator.

I have seen your star rise and scintillate. You truly are a domestic goddess. Actually, make that just a goddess.

But goddesses are on pedestals and how delightful it is knock something from a pedestal. How the public enjoys to see a fall from grace. This is the theatre of schadenfreude. How they love it! Why, the scribblers are filled with such joy as rises like the aroma from the bœuf en daube!

I have been reading about your trials in the court and my einüfhlung is at full throttle.

You see, Nigella, I also mistakenly believed that one could expect justice from a court.

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