No “elaborate” holidays this summer, then, as ordered by the Government, although I’m confused about what this actually means. A three-day camping trip to Bognor Regis where somebody else heats up the baked beans would feel pretty elaborate right now, but perhaps our ambitions will have risen by June.
Consequently, the super-rich are said to be investing in the most spendy holidays they can without leaving British shores. Luxury travel agency Abercrombie & Kent is touting a £600,000 jaunt around Scotland which includes travelling on a private train, seats in the royal box for the Edinburgh Tattoo and a tennis game with Andy Murray.
It’s not clear whether Andy knows he’s been enlisted for a knock-about with whichever oligarch shells out for this jolly, or if the holiday menu includes that Aberdonian delicacy, the deep-fried Mars bar, but it’s a two-week itinerary for a family of four, if you’re interested.
Alternatively, according to a newspaper report I read about this phenomenon, you could drop £35,000 for a week at a Victorian lodge called Glen Affric, an hour south-west of Inverness. “What the devil?” I hear you cry, “Victorian lodges are as common as deep-fried Mars bars in those parts, what’s so special about this one?”
Well, for that price, you’ll be hosted for the week by Kate Middleton’s brother, James.
I happen to know a bit about this lodge, since I’ve stayed there with James. Don’t be silly, I didn’t pay. It was for a travel piece since journalists are often invited on extremely nice holidays and write three very short sentences about them in the newspaper afterwards.
Glen Affric is owned by the Matthews family. You know who I mean, Pippa Middleton’s in-laws. That’s the link with James. Mr Matthews bought this gaff in 2008 and set about turning it into the sort of place that Americans with Roman numerals in their name fantasise about. Unlike other Scottish lodges, at Glen Affric there’s enough hot water for everyone to have their own bath every night and it’s also sensationally beautiful.
The lodge sits on the edge of the three-mile Loch Affric and, from my tartan bedroom at dusk one evening, I watched a mob of stags frolic about its shallows like teenage boys playing truant in a playground. James – charming, smiley, very obliging – gets up early to greet guests each morning and talk you through the activities on offer.
You can kill things in season (fish, deer, partridge); paddleboard, sail or kayak on the water; hike; bird-watch or picnic on the beach, which I recommend because the Michelin-starred chef throws together a hamper including coronation chicken wraps, pheasant-flavoured crisps and miniature bottles of Glen Affric bramble gin, which I merrily bowled through. There’s a spa, a yoga studio, staff wear kilts and there are overflowing bowls of chocolate Lindor balls in almost every room. When I returned to London, I found wrappers in my pockets for weeks (journalists really are the pits).
The only thing I wimped out of was a swim in the loch every morning. James encouraged this, promising that I’d feel “amazing” afterwards. But the thought of leaping into the icy water, revealing my pimply thighs to the brother of the most famous bottom in the world, just didn’t do it for me. Although if you can afford £35,000 a week for a holiday, then you probably have a personal trainer and a perfectly nice bottom. So that won’t be a problem for you.
I’m here to help… but apparently no one needs me to
Some weeks ago, I mentioned that I’d signed up as a vaccine steward and was eagerly awaiting my instructions. But although I check the volunteer app every morning, so far I’ve had no joy. Apparently no help needed. I’ve widened my travel radius in case that helps but still, zilch. Online, I see excitable headlines about luminaries including Peter Andre, Vernon Kay and Downton’s Lord Grantham reporting for duty at their nearest vaccine hubs, but there seems to be nothing going in south-east London.
Has anyone else found the same, or are the appointments in SE19 simply being snapped up by keen foot soldiers faster than new tellies on Boxing Day? “Granny! What did you do during the Great Pandemic?” future grandchildren will ask. At this rate, I’ll have to confess that I mostly ate toast and watched Netflix.
Why all the tables? Somewhere to put your G&T, of course
Much mirth has been caused by the picture of Princess Anne’s shabby sitting room, released last weekend as she watched Scotland beat England. A piece later published in the Telegraph analysed every detail, including the large number of side tables. “Posh people love little tables and have them everywhere… side tables, coffee tables, chairs used as tables, they just adore an extra surface,” it said.
There is a good reason for this: drinks. Posh people always have a drink on the go – sometimes tea but more often a gin and tonic or a glass of wine – and that’s why they need so many side tables. Rita Konig, the very smart interior designer (daughter of interior grand dame Nina Campbell) insists that wherever you have a chair or somewhere to sit, you must also have a table precisely so you have somewhere to put your mug or glass. Makes sense to me.
— to www.telegraph.co.uk