DISCUSSING the weather is generally a ‘get out clause’ style of comment to break an uncomfortable silence in a lift or waiting room, for example. But today I am going to make an exception and comment on how absolutely freezing London is at the moment. Temperatures are creeping down and there is a rumour that snow is a few days away… Boy, am I glad I went for the sheepskin coat after all!
One fabulous antidote to freezing to death is, of course, cashmere, so after considering my options of 1)not leaving the central heated flat (too dull), 2) investing in thermal underwear (too young) or 3) buying a gorgeous cashmere scarf, I took myself to the Cashmere Shop in Portobello Road to get a scarf and a pair of gloves. In the shop, the choice is so great that it makes it hard to decide but at long last I pick up a pastel pink and pale blue/grey knit.
Newspaper cuttings on their noticeboard show Hillary and Bill Clinton in the shop. Apparently they shopped there when they were last in the UK, and I am told that as Mrs Clinton shopped Mr Clinton waited in the pub across the road…
Well, all set for the cold weather and as I head back to the office a text message arrives. That will be my dad, I think to myself. It reads: “I am at Heath Road.” (I know he means Heathrow airport, but no matter how many times I correct him he still calls it Heath Road) My father, who lives in Madrid, is coming to town for business and has managed to prolong his stay
to spend some time with me. The plan is for him to jump onto the Heathrow Express and call me from Paddington. Then we can catch a quick pint in the Bonaparte and go into town for a spot of sightseeing.
Everything goes according to plan. At the pub, the fire is burning and we order our drinks -Guinness for him and OJ for me – and decide to go for a walk in Covent Garden. Coming out of Covent Garden tube station, a smell of roasting chestnuts hits you, adding to the festive atmosphere of the square. The place is buzzing with crowds surrounding buskers, mime artists and a very funny clown who runs after passer-byes and then hides.
After browsing around and buying some hand made soaps from an Irish lady and a woolly hat for my dad, we decide to go back to the hood (Notting Hill). From the Strand we can take a 23 bus all the way home and as we wait, a lady advises us not to lose our position at the front of the queue as youngsters “tend to cut in line”. I asked her what best strategy was to ensure that we did get on the bus, to which she replied “sharp elbows” and smiled.
At last, the double-decker, approaches, friendly, warm and brightly lit. We sit upstairs and watch people in the streets going about their business. We get off at Westbourne Park Road outside Lucky Seven and both have the same thought.
Just what the doctor ordered. Hotel California is playing in the diner and we sit in a booth by the window. Hot “cwoffee” to start with followed by some warm food: Chix Supreme for me and Classic Hamburger for my dad. We share a table with a family, a young couple with two children so excited with their Sundae Ice creams it makes us all laugh.
We get the bill and as we walk out into the cold with our woolly hats and cashmere scarves the song in the jukebox says it all: It’s Diana Ross telling us “we will survive”.
The Portobello Road Cashmere Shop 020 7792 2571
Lucky Seven 020 727 6771