Off to New York. It's chilly. But not that chilly, so we gave this gilet a little hair cut. It looks much better.
The only problem is the 5 year old thought this was a great idea.
On Monday, Ralph Lauren hosted a party for my mother. It launched her book 'Daughter Of Empire'.
It was to be on the first floor of their Bond Street mansion. In the elegant ladies department. Most suitable for my mother and her guests. Beautiful calligraphied invitations were sent out. Much to my mother's surprise, an overwhelming amount of friends and family appeared to still be alive said yes. Sadie, the senior director of press, rang me "We are changing the location. The party will now be held in our Trophy room, most suitable for your mother and her guests"
Into the Trophy room we piled, generation after generation. Walking sticks and school uniforms colliding. A queue formed. Prince and Princesses, Dukes and Duchesses, Viscounts and Counts stood patiently waiting for a signed copy. Patiently waiting to for The Daughter Of Empire.
Click to enlarge
Having spent 16 years living on a tiny out island in The West Indies it felt a slightly odd choice to be taking two days and several small airplanes to get to another post stamp sized island in The West Indies. With, of course, five moaning kids. When you live in paradise why leave?
Because " Travel is the only thing you can buy that will make you richer"
and because that is one fantastic landing strip, yes that little thin line between those two hills.
And because every body on the island of Canouan is having fun. Everybody.
And because when I travel I get inspired. The next India Hicks Fine Jewelry collection is going to be a blast.
Canouan is 14 miles from Bequia so on two boats, not much bigger than these, we crashed through a roaring sea (If you don't have 5 kids and do have a spare moment don't spend it on doing your hair when traveling between islands in the Grenadines, you arrive alive but soaking wet. Head to toe)
Leaving the strange deserted hippie settlements of Bequia we passed by protruding green breasts (I live with 3 teenage boys) swam with turtles, sunbathed on deserted beaches, picnicked in caves, jumped from cliffs and admired the unspoiled waters where Johnny Depp and Keira Knightly tussled with cutlasses....
.....before arriving in time for lunch, one dazzlingly hot afternoon, on the island of Mustique.
A very eccentric friend of my parents Lord Glenconner (also known as Colin Tennant) bought the island many years ago....there is a spine chilling but highly amusing documentary on him and the island. The Man Who Bought Mustique. In one scene Colin prepares a lunch in honor of Princess Margaret, and decides to dress the miniature temple below, where lunch would be served, with embroidered pornographic Indian panels .
There are only two places to shop on Mustique. The Pink House and The Purple House. With out a doubt you should go Pink over Purple. Because they stock India Hicks Crabtree & Evelyn Island Living
and once you've been shopping water ski home. Your hair will already have got wet.
Last weekend I stayed with dear friends in the Charentes (western part of France, on the edge bit) in their fortified farm which dates from 1428. LE LOGIS DE PUYGATY is so charming in every way I pinterested the hell out of it, including Max being humped by his pet donkey (now you are going to have to look)
They are excellent hosts, Max and Pierre. And decorators and guides and cooks and enthusiasts and baby sitters and zoo keepers. In fact there is not much that Pierre and Max can not offer, my two middle boys put them to the test however. Fascinated by knives, even before we arrived, the boys could not believe their luck upon learning in this part of France, local restaurants only hand you a fork, it is assumed that everyone carries their own knife, hunting, pen or otherwise. The boys began to badger our hosts. They had to find a knife dealer (exactly how I wanted to spend my bank holiday weekend, searching the Charentes for knives) And our hosts did just that. We were taken to the work shop of a true knife artisan, who showed us his extraordinary work, and how he uses the technique of 'folding' the hot metal in order to create the unique patterns on the blades.
A lot of pocket money was spent that afternoon.
Coincidentally a few days after returning to England, from France, we were in the Ashmolean Museum, in Oxford, where the 12 year old had been selected for the Young Oxford Artists competition where he had an unusual drawing on display.
Chasing after a not-so-interested-4-year-old during the presentation we spotted this knife, labeled a Damascene Steel Knife, made up of bands of iron carbide and steel, which allows for an extremely sharp cutting edge. Which made me wonder on what exactly are the boys using their extremely sharp cutting edges?
Domino and I were invited to Royal Island for the night. It was not our first visit there, but it was the first time chef John Tesar had cooked for us. John earned five stars at The Mansion in Dallas, but with that came the reputation for throwing knives. It was going to be an exciting visit.
The beauty of Royal Island, aside from the beauty of Royal Island, is that I don't have to take a plane or travel through a time zone. We can get there by boat (although we normally have to take a plane to get anywhere, even to the dry-cleaners, so it was understandable that Domino asked me as we arrived "Wait, did we just take a plane?")
We were meant to be working this weekend, designing another collection of Fine Jewelry (Bloomingdales will be most alarmed to read that the 4 yr old is my technical assistant) We were not meant to be eating ourselves into a cocoon like state, where sadly we did not emerge as beautiful butterflies, but spent most of the time contemplating our tummies, and trying to make amends in the gym.
But the food was certainly five star, and worth every extra step on the treadmill. The only complaint I had was not one knife got thrown. Such a disappointment.
On Wednesday I had to pop up to New York for a few days of work on my Fine Jewelry collections. On a Wednesday there is no morning flight out of our regular airport. No matter, I could drive an hour further down the island and leave from Governor's Harbour instead.
Governor's Harbour is an 'International' airport. Clearly not an exceptionally busy hub. I was the only person in there. A check-in lady meandered in after me. She was also the Sweet Shop lady and the Tourist Shop lady. Two other ladies arrived, in tired security uniforms, they shuffled in and sat down to read their bible.
After checking-in I was asked for $7. In cash.
"What's that for?" I questioned.
"New security machine, $7 to turn it on, for each passenger"
"But don't the security ladies just pat me down?"
I paid the $7 and walked over to the machine, put my bag on the conveyer belt and waited. One of the ladies looked up slowly from her bible "It ain't workin', power's off"
I remained the only passenger in the airport. The power also remained off. Some one had put a large rock by the ladies loo. It held the outer door open a slither. I fumbled my way in darkness to a stall and struggled with the lock. It was broken. As I peeed in the gloom with the broken door swinging open I realised there was no loo paper….
My connecting flight to New York from Miami was on time. We boarded the flight. I turned off my phone and closed my eyes. And waited for the engines to start up. THREE HOURS LATER we finally took off, the flat tyre on the plane having been changed. Half way through our journey the captain announced the weather was getting bad. The seat belt sign would remain on for the rest of the flight. We began to bump and lurch our way up the coastline.
I looked at my watch, with my layover in Miami and the mechanical delay and now the storm we would be landing way after midnight. The captain was speaking again. Unfortunately something more serious was now happening, the trim on the plane had failed. We were being diverted to another airport, with a longer runway, which was being prepared for an emergency landing. We were not to panic. NOT TO PANIC? They were making all the necessary arrangements. The runway was being closed off, it would be lined with firetrucks and police. We were to assume the brace position and to remove all high heels. There was a highly trained team of air stewards on board. There was absolutely nothing to panic about. I looked at the overly made up air hostess in the aisle…….there was everything to panic about.
Obviously we survived, unless Ghostly India is writing this from the twilight zone. Our Captain landed our plane safely, the firetrucks and police limped away and we retrieved our high heels.
But I would have been pissed off if we had died. I had just had my legs waxed.
A long walk in the countryside.....and look what we saw.
One brother said to another "that reminds me of you"
He was not talking about the swans.
What ever we may think about royalty and monarchy (I see my LAST POST has invited quite a heated debate) I, for one, was grateful for a national holiday.
We slipped off to Italy for a weekend of late lunches and long dinners, in very good company, very.
The Basilica di San Francesco, and her 900 year old Giotto allegories were breathtaking (or was it too much red wine that took my breath away?) The story of St. Francis of Assisi, who founded the Franciscan Order, and assisted in founding the woman’s Order of St. Clare (we have one of those at home) was astounding to my 11 year old. Did he really give up his Nike's, i-pod and jeans after a vision from God?
From much fanfare and noise in London the sleepy hills of Perugia were a touching sight.