I am renowned amongst my friends for being a birthday avoider: I always used to throw a party, but the novelty rather wore off as the number each year increased and now I prefer to take the sticking-my-head-in-the-sand route.
So when I was asked to spend the day on the Belmond Pullman, (formerly known as the Orient Express) by Mappin & Webb to celebrate their collections and their charming creative director Elizabeth Galton, and realised it was on my birthday, I thought this was perfect: no need to celebrate but still a feeling a very special day.
I don’t think you can grow up reading Agatha Christie novels without feeling a frisson of excitement when you hear the words ‘Orient Express’. And even though the trains have recently been re-branded at the Belmond Pullman, that frisson still remains when you board the train at Victoria. Excitement that was only heightened when I realised that my dear friend Mrs Trefusis, aka Helen Brocklebank was to be seated opposite me. Oh joy! Oh rapture!
Mappin & Webb’s Elizabeth Galton on the train.
We didn’t actually go anywhere in particular on the train – we departed London and, I think, headed towards Surrey, describing a loop before heading back to Victoria station. There was some lovely scenery en route, but it really wasn’t the point.
This is the most glamorous of moving restaurants, with delicious food, 30s style chanteuses belting out festive songs, and a feeling of all encompassing luxe, from the upholstered armchairs in Liberty’s beautiful Ianthe pattern, to the inlaid marquetry and heavy silver cutlery.
With thanks to Mappin & Webb for the most gloriously festive day