Writing one of these blogs in 2010 probably has about the same resonance as writing a few notes on a piece of paper, and sticking them in a drain somewhere on Gray’s Inn Road. There is a vague possibility that someone will at some point read it, but it’s fairly slim, and limited to people with a lot of time on their hands. Still, that’s partly why I am doing it, because it allows me to write whatever I want, while at the same time imposing slightly more discipline on the process than the random scribblings I make in my diary at times of either high energy or profound self-pity.
Anyway, here goes: the other day, I went down to Bond Street to get visas for this Kilimanjaro lark (silly idea of stripping life back to its most essential qualities, in the vain hope of finding some meaning). After finding the embassy shut due to a national holiday in Tanzania, I was at something of a loose end, so decided to go walking around London in an effort to break in my new, and still very uncomfortable, walking boots.
I wandered down Davies Street, turned into Bond Street, and found myself more captivated than usual by the shiny window displays. I wandered past the many windows of Asprey, each displaying some sort of slightly nostalgic idea of luxury. The huge leather suitcases with enough space for a clothes rail and coathangers; the collection of first edition books; the refined, small pieces of jewellery, along with some rather ugly charity collection by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.
Walking on up the street Tiffany’s is easily the dullest shop window. I amused myself at the size of the diamonds in Harry Winston, and that Russian place that makes no attempt at subtlety, next to Mikimoto. The name completely escapes me.
The security staff are now all standing outside the shops, rather than inside – presumably after the raid on the Graff shop a few months ago. They actually looked at me slightly suspiciously as I slowed down in front of each window , examining the ridiculously big necklaces and imagining myself wearing them. I suppose in my ripped Seven jeans, retro purple 70s puffer jacket from Uniqlo, and completely unmatching green gloves, I didn’t exactly look like their top customer.
In my own mind I imagined myself sweeping into a room, preferably somewhere like the Opera house, looking like Kim Novak in the opening scene of Vertigo. I would have to be wearing a one-colour silk dress, preferably not emerald green as it doesn’t really suit me. Perhaps it would be royal blue, perhaps a low cut Empire line; that could set off large jewels well, although perhaps would be too insubstantial. Certainly not a girlish cut, or pattern – nothing with flowers, structured rather than flowing lines, and definitely full length.
I remembered the time when my sister and I were in New York, and went to Van Cleef and Arpels for fun. For some reason, the shop assistant let me try on a blue diamond ring worth $500,000. It was so beautiful, so sparkly and so pure close-up, that I finally understood the appeal.
Having completely skipped the aspirational tat in Tiffany’s, I wandered into Charbonnel & Walker. The two shop assistants were busy laying out chocolates on display trays, moving each chocolate a rather imperceptible inch one way or the other. They looked very satisfied, as you do if your job involves eating chocolate all day, and popping out to admire priceless diamonds every lunchtime if you so desire.
I wandered around, inhaling the smell of high quality dark chocolate and wanting to buy everything in the shop, particularly the very large boxes of Marc de Champagne truffles.
Eventually I bought an 80g block of plain chocolate for £3.75, and wandered down Piccadilly eating it.
The rest of the day was spent walking to Kensington, and from Kensington to the gym in Ladbroke Grove – where I ran 5k, did a fairly lengthy weights routine and spent a bit too long in the sauna. The other lady who was in there must have been German or in some way not English at any rate, since she actually got the assistant to come and turn up the heat, and then flounced out in obvious irritation because it wasn’t hot enough. English people don’t know how saunas work.