Last week skimmed by on the proverbial wings: I looked up and it was Friday and I have little or no idea what I actually did. ‘Strordinary. I do note that I still haven’t finished unpacking from Rio and, as I am off to Ukraine at some ungodly hour in the morning, that is not eeeeenormously helpful. However I do know where my passport and clean knickers are, and I guess that is an excellent start.
The first part of the week was lost to jetlag, (I was sorry to miss Elizabeth Walker’s book launch at Moschino) but, after I perked up, there was an excellent lunch at Angela Hartnett’s Murano with her publicist on Wednesday, and an editor’s dinner that evening at the Conde Nast College to celebrate the success of Marks & Spencer’s Your Beauty, with beautiful flowers (at top).
I’ve had Posetta Baddog snoring on every available pile of not-put-away-yet cashmere over the weekend, as is usual, but am rather sad that I won’t now see her for nearly two weeks, as I am styling for M&S Marble Arch at the Oxford Street Festival on Thursday (details to come), and then the London Fashion Week merry-go-round starts on Friday.
I’m also fitting in a sneaky 48 hours in France after LFW ends to visit the Champagne maison of Bollinger. It’s not ideal timing, but as I pulled out of the last visit at very short notice, duty calls etc etc. And it’s Bollinger. In Champagne. So not exactly a hardship.
My not eating everything in sight régime is actually going rather well. I’m making sure to only eat giant plates of vegetables during the day if I have a work dinner in the evening, and am eschewing the contents of bread baskets, pudding, and most alcohol. I’m allowed one break per week, which I did at the Thames Festival Blackout Dinner on Friday night (I wrote about it here).
I haven’t technically completed a proper 500 calorie day yet, as the main issue I am finding is that I just can’t work effectively if I am not eating. I don’t fixate on what I am not eating, or get hungry so much as rather faint and fatigued, which makes it impossible to concentrate on work. So I’m going more for restriction than complete abstention.
I’ve just got back from walking the dog with my sister in Regent’s Park. As we were parking up on the Outer Circle, we heard the unmistakable thrum of a helicopter above and, peering through the windscreen saw the giant yellow body of an RAF SeaKing skimming the trees above Parkway. We get plenty of helicopters above central London, but a huge 22-metre-long Search & Rescue machine is quite another thing.
Imagine our surprise when we entered the Park to see it landing on the softball pitches by London Zoo. The fields had been cleared by armed police, and there was a CAT (Children’s Acute Transport) Intensive Care Ambulance waiting on the sidelines. Some moments later a medical trolley heavy with equipment was levered out of the helicopter and onto the grass and we realised there was an incubator resting on it, clearly transporting a critically ill baby, and heading to Great Ormond Street Hospital. It was a heart rending moment.
With my sister’s chronic illness (she has MS), we have had ample opportunities to see the NHS in action, but when you witness an extraordinary scene such as this, for which there will be no charge to the patient or their family*, we realise again just how wonderful and precious the National Health Service really is.
We found out later that Regent’s Park is a designated helicopter landing site for medical transfers. I have posted two Instagram videos of the helicopter in action here. (You don’t need an app any more for Instagram: just sign up and you can follow on your desktop.)
*yes, I know we pay taxes but that’s hardly the point