The cup, the glass and the quiche
The garden of the Estorick Collection, Canonbury Square is one London’s sweetest secrets. Last week flowering cherry trees,an ancient brick wall enclosed this wonderful Georgian space. Once a year I visit my childhood ghosts which involve a trip to this gallery and its priceless collection of Italian Futurists (War is Good!), a walk down the now totally fashionable Upper Street and a poke around the stalls of Camden Passage. But now I am in the Estorick Caffe enjoying a double espresso. Unfortunately although the baristas are Italian their coffee machine comes from our dull modern age rather than the golden age of Italian machines where the chrome, steel and hand pumped beauties snorted their way to glory and cultural excellence. Anyway as an early bird I have this garden to myself and there is no where I would rather be.
A few days later I am in the Royal Overseas League Club off St James. I am there for a disappointing lecture about Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo . How could he have made these great artists and serial shaggers boring? But luckily I get there a bit early. I go into the bar order a glass of wine and move through the French doors. Another secret garden. On a little veranda , on a table with a crisp linen table cloth I sit. Overlooking a small garden which backs onto Green Park. Once again I am alone. For twenty minutes I enjoy the luxury, the pleasure and the hot sun. These are moments made in heaven.
About once a month I make the two hour walk to Richmond. Across the Common, down Priory Lane and through the Park. With its three spectacular views. The 800 metre Queens Ride avenue to the Royal Ballet School. On the Hill looking back over London with its increasingly interesting sky line. Here Henry VIII watched for smoke to come from The Tower to tell him of Anne’s end. And then out of the park onto Richmond Hill,by one of Mick Jaeger’s homes, to see the most famous bend of the Thames stretching with feminine ease round Petersham meadow towards Ham House. But on the descent into Richmond and the river, in Terrace Gardens there is a vegetarian café. Now as many know I am not one of nature’s veggies. No sir, we did not win Trafalgar to eat rabbit food, say I. But this charming little café serves the most amazing quiche and credit where credit is due. I make sure each mouthful gets its regulation thirty chews.
So,as the song goes. Maybe its because I’m a Londoner that I love London so.