Tuesday, 3 November 2015

autumn diaries

At the very beginning of October, we spent a night at Cliveden House. I didn't think too much of the hotel interiors, but the grounds are beautiful. The views from the terraces are sublime because the Italianate mansion sits so high above the Thames. Also: impressive borders.

Post-Cliveden Sunday afternoon at home. Homemade Bloody Marys and a good read.

Dinner was enjoyed one drizzly October evening at Otto's - classic French food on Gray's Inn Road, of all places. The lobster soufflé was, I believe, one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten. Go if you haven't been, and do your best to ignore the awful signage and questionable branding - the cooking is top-notch.

Ancient Triptych - new work destined for a hotel opening this winter in Dorset.

Early Drawings, an exhibition of fifty five works on paper by David Hockney dating from the 1960s and 70s, was held recently at the Offer Waterman gallery in Mayfair. It was wonderful - I love Hockney's early work and to see so many of his famous sketches together in one place was a real treat.

My murals for the new flagship Murdock shop on Brewer Street in Soho were unveiled. Take a look if you're in the neighbourhood! I created six giant works for the space - they tell the story of a man's day as he makes his way around the city. (Dogs, tennis and cocktails included.)

Halloween arrived on Saturday and D. and I realised suddenly that we hadn't made any party plans, which in the end turned out to be for the best. I'd been feeling a little under the weather and wanted a rest. On Saturday morning we woke early. The weather was beautiful, so we headed down to Spa Terminus in Bermondsey - a favourite weekend early morning spot. I love all of the food producers who gather down there to sell their excellent produce. We bought coffee, flowers and jars of honey and wandered over to Maltby Street. After a browse in Lassco and a doughnut from St John, we settled down at 40 Maltby Street with glasses of wine, a few plates of ham and cheese and the newspapers. The rest of the day was spent at home, watching films and sleeping. Later on we made a good supper for a cold autumn day - crab linguine, rice pudding with jam.

On Sunday, the first day of November, the weather was spectacular again. We hotfooted it over to Hampstead Heath and blew away the cobwebs with a long walk and a stroll around Kenwood House. It was heavenly - grey mist rising from the ground, shafts of early morning light - clear and pale gold.

Lunch was brown shrimp on toast and pork chops at The Horseshoe on Heath Street. Next door to The Horseshoe sits Louis Hungarian Patisserie - I hadn't really noticed the place before but its pink and red cake boxes, lined up on shelves in the windows, caught my eye as we left the pub. Of course, I immediately had to run in and buy an éclair. Louis is a tea room as well as a shop and the 1960s interior is quite brilliant - my heart glowed at the sight of faded panelling, olive leather banquettes and patterned carpets. This, combined with those perfect pink and red cake boxes and the Hungarian owner (he likes to park his blue Rolls Royce out the front), brought only one thing to mind: Mendl's! I reckon this place is about as close as you're going to get to Wes Anderson's fictional bakery.

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