Collllllllumns30th July 2019
Very thrilled that this week’s Evening Standard column was included by The Week in their round-up of the best commentary today. It is something I feel VERY STRONG ABOUT. Maybe even more strongly than I do about electric scooters. Anyway, click HERE for it. And will paste my Sun Tel column below. More things I feel VERY STRONGLY ABOUT.
The Beckhams have been on holiday in Miami this week. Quite right too. Nice for them to have a bit of a treat. But it looked like an alarmingly active holiday to me. There were trips to a waterpark and an amusement arcade, salsa lessons from Jennifer Lopez’s husband, shopping, deep-sea fishing and a constant stream of social media from almost every member of the family, documenting their adventures. They don’t appear to have visited a museum or local site of architectural interest but perhaps they just didn’t photograph those bits. Elsewhere this week, Penny Lancaster practised her golf swing on a superyacht floating about the French Riviera and, in Antigua, Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi had a kickabout with a British boy also holidaying there.
I feel, therefore, that it falls to me to explain to these celebrities, and to anyone else who needs similar assistance, that throwing oneself down water chutes and doing the doble is too much activity for a summer holiday. Much too much activity. For why else did God invent sunbeds, if not for us to flop shortly after breakfast, only to peel ourselves up for lunch and later again for ‘drinks time’ which, depending on your family, may start at around 6pm. Although I understand that others pop that first cork much earlier, perhaps around Elevenses, and that is fine too, especially if you are on holiday with one or more small children.
I’ve just returned from a few days in Spain where the most energetic we got was during a discussion about how many Magnums a day was too many. The ice-creams, I mean, although we might as well have had a similar discussion about the wine because we knocked through that as well. Excepting the drive from the airport and back, I didn’t get in a car once, and while there was a chap who asked ‘Anyone for tennis?’ over breakfast one morning, we dealt with him fairly swiftly and he really was very contrite when we let him out of his room the following day.
‘Should we go to the beach for lunch?’ someone ventured at another point while we lay like sleeping lions around the pool. There were instant murmurs of dissent at the idea of forcing the children into hot car seats, a drive in convoy, a fight to find, first, a parking space anywhere on the Costa Brava and secondly a table where a desultory waiter would fling a basket of calamares at us before one of the children had a meltdown and we had to return to the now really quite scalding car seats and motor back again. My Fitbit kept shrieking on my wrist, urging me to increase my steps but, devil that I am, I ignored it. Any sudden movement, apart from eating and drinking, was simply too arduous.
I stress that I’m talking about summer holidays here. Feel free to do whatever you like on holidays taken at other times of the year. I hate skiing myself, largely because I’m rubbish at it, but it’s a perfectly adequate winter holiday activity. If you find yourself on the Amalfi coast in February then you’re quite at liberty to visit Pompeii. But during these hot months, you must try and remain as still and horizontal as possible. If these temperatures keep rising, playing golf or football could become increasingly dangerous, anyway.
Alarmed mutterings drift south from Balmoral where unmarried couples aren’t allowed to share a bedroom. Apparently courtiers at the Queen’s Scottish castle are worrying about what to do if Boris brings his girlfriend Carrie along for the prime minister’s traditional visit later this summer. They’re presumably not pushed for space up there but if I was in charge of bedroom organisation, I’d simply do what my step-mother did when my siblings and I started bringing home other halves for the weekends or holidays. We were allowed in the same bedroom on the basis it was the 21st century and also saved on laundry, but were instructed on ‘no account’ to tell our grandmother. So bunk up Boris and Carrie, just don’t mention it to HM over breakfast.
Huge fashion news. Signet rings are back, says Vanity Fair. Meghan Markle and Gwyneth Paltrow are wearing them and so the rest of us must scurry to the family safe (if you’re very grand) or H Samuel (if you’re less so) and slip one on. I remain unconvinced by this pronouncement because all those my age who wear pinkie rings tend to be pompous sorts with an insecurity complex which means they need to broadcast the fact they have a family crest. But naturally it was a topic that came up often in the Tatler office, which is where I learned that the 8th Marquess of Bristol has a different signet ring for every day of week. The posh, male version of Imelda Marcos.