The ham Yard Hotel

Diary , 23 July 2014

Summer Around The City

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I lose count of the number of times I’ve refrained ‘it’s so hot’ in the past week or so. Very British trait, isn’t it? We like to complain when it’s cold and complain more when it’s hot.

The problem for me, as you may have gleaned, is more advanced than a simple issue of discomfort. It is now an issue of discomfiture – I have lost the ability to hold a conversation. I believe people around me are starting to notice. My frazzled brain quite simply refuses to engage in anything other than looking for a nearby watering hole and waffling on about the heat when it becomes overbearing, which is often (London, though wonderful, is hardly equipped for soaring temperatures).

My husband has not only noticed but has started, wisely, to avoid trying to engage me in conversation. He told me he hopes for a return to form when I find relief from the heat. Said relief is imminent – today is my first day in Portugal and I hope a dip in the icy Atlantic will return me to my senses once more.

The Ham Yard Hotel Basement

I did, however, manage to find some reprise from London’s heat in the past week in the most unexpected places while in town. On Monday, I attended the launch of Vichy’s Normaderm Night Detox at the new Ham Yard Hotel with my friend Shireen. Part of the unchain-y chain of Firmdale hotels the basement is an air-conditioned wonderland, with delights ranging from the huge orange dispenser and bowling lanes to a screening room.

The invitation was a little mysterious: ‘Join us for an evening of movie magic,’ it said. I was trepidatious to say the least – ‘movie magic’ is rather unspecific. Magic it was though, in the form of Grease. Yes, after some teeny tiny ice cream cones and popcorn, we headed into the remarkably chilly screening room for a presentation of the new serum* followed by an indulgent two hours of Sandy and Danny dancing and singing their hearts out.

Grease at the Ham Yard Hotel

Wednesday afforded a second outing to the Ham Yard Hotel, this time to the equally agreeable and breezy rooftop. The launch was for Clinique’s Chubby Sticks and the rooftop was accordingly bedecked with displays of chubby sticks and cooing journalists. I once again took Shireen; we decided the hotel would be ‘our’ place.

As the rooftop is usually only open to guests of the hotel, if you secure an invite I recommend you accept, particularly if you like a rooftop with a view. It’s a beautiful space with dotted sofas, little twinkly lights and plenty of plants. In fact, the greenery surrounding the periphery is pretty special; not just agreeable to behold but a competent noise-excluder and chef’s garden to boot.

After some wine, we headed to the restaurant downstairs to have a proper meal (not spectacular, but perfectly respectable fare – stick to the small bites) and emerged into the warm night refreshed.

On Friday, I spent the day in London having meetings and was once more reminded that London parks are simply superb. When walking around the sweltering city, the verdant oases are too tempting to ignore. Of the Wildean school of thought, I never attempt to resist. Once within, the bustle of London melts away into the borders of my mind. My shoes come off. I always feel it is time well spent and, for those of you lucky enough to live in London, I hope you’re taking advantage of their leafy shelter from the elements.

London Parks - Marylebone

So off to the sea I go. I’ll of course be stationed near a drinks stand taking a requisite dip in the ocean to cool down hourly. My husband is coming with me for a little conversation in the hope that, in his words, ‘I’ll stop prattling on about the weather’. Fat chance – it is really, really hot here.

* Shireen tells me the serum is good, I’ve yet to try. My thoughts will go up shortly.

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