It’s a wonderful thing when your children become independent, start to lead more interesting lives than yours ever was, and then invite you to tag along from time to time.
That’s how Anthony and I got ourselves invited to a wine-tasting at Berry Brothers and Rudd last Friday – to be tutored by Olivia – and so we hotfooted it to St James’s, in our role as proud parents.
We were greeted by our hostess and a glass of fizz –
and then swilled, sniffed, slurped and chewed (yes, chewed) seven different wines –
– and by the end of the evening I had a series of interesting notes: smoky bacon, cats’ pee, leather, tobacco. I’m just hoping those weren’t the actual ingredients.
Then we had a tour around the shop, and for those who don’t know, it’s been there for over 250 years – and when you look at a photo, you can see why it’s been called the Hogwarts of the wine world –
– definitely looks like a corner of the Leaky Cauldron.
It’s full of intriguing little staircases –
– and of course, there’s wine everywhere ….
… even in the ladies loo –
Here’s a close-up of the wall –
– top marks for appropriately-themed wallpaper here.
In the shop there’s a huge, ancient set of scales, which was originally purchased to weigh coffee, but then became famous as one of the few places where a person could be weighed in Eighteenth Century London – and all sorts of people had their weights recorded in a series of ledgers –
Lord Byron’s records show that he lost a lot of weight when he contracted some nasty disease (best not to ask exactly what, I felt), and William Pitt, Beau Brummel, Nellie Melba and the Aga Khan were all regulars … what a fascinating piece of social history.
But it’s not just a piece of history; the scales are still being sat on nowadays. Matt Damon recently had a weigh-in and I was assured that the last bottom to grace the seat before mine, was Katy Perry’s last week …
… thanks, Katy – you warmed it beautifully.