I am in Austria at the Viva Mayr clinic and online again after several days. I am here for my new book deal; I am writing a diet book based on the Viva Mayr philosophy, which is all about chewing a lot and not eating too late. Well, there is more to it than that of course, but as I only just arrived you can’t expect too many details. And anyway, I don’t want to put you off buying the book.
London was good practice for Abu Dhabi. It was unbearably hot and full of people from the Middle East. We stayed near Marble Arch at our Society of Authors affiliated club, The New Cavendish Club. Let’s get this straight, there’s nothing ‘new’ about it. And that’s what makes it so charming and so very English.
“This is a proper Englishman’s breakfast,” said Olivia tucking into bacon, baked beans, tea and toast. “Grandpa would like this. He’s a proper Englishman. He fought in the war and he won it.”
I doubt the club has changed much since the war (hence the lack of internet connection). The ‘public areas’ require a certain dress code, copies of The Daily Telegraph are strewn over lavishly upholstered sofas and fish and chips is on the bar menu. It is a little corner of London that remains forever England.
Step outside though and you may as well be in down town Abu Dhabi. I would say at least 50% of the people walking down the street are Middle Eastern, quite amazing. Why are they all there? What is it they like about it so much? If you walk through Hyde Park to Kensington Park Gardens and up to the Diana memorial playground the average increases to around 70%. Here at least I can see what has attracted them; the sand around the pirate ship makes them feel at home.
Anyway I am pleased to report they seem extremely nice and I am looking forward to moving there next week even more. Bea met a charming and beautiful young boy at the playground who clearly fell in love with her on sight. Olivia spent her time asking young girls if they liked wearing head scarves. They don’t really think about it is the impression she got.
I saw some very elegant ladies in traditional dress with just a touch of frivolity; a pair of pink shoes, or a Prada handbag, or some gold lace lining the austere black garb. It seems under all that cloth they are a bit like us.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2008