Monday, January 05, 2004

My NYE in a four-star bunker in Knightsbridge

The 31st and the 1st were an eventful couple of days. On the last day of the year, Steve and I went to visit my sister and her children, the Mewlies. They’re two years old now, so not really mewling any more, but instead chattering, clambering, jumping, and standing over their Gran to see if she drops any of her meals-on-wheels lunch on the carpet. They are like pets, but with clothing: anything that an adult is eating must be better that what they get fed. (Having seen the meals-on-wheels menu, I think the reverse is true. But how to break this to a toddler?)

After doing the family thing, we went to check in to our swanky hotel, booked the day before on Our main reason for choosing it over the dozens of other places touting for business was that the description stated that the hotel had a solarium, gym, sauna and pool on site. Did it buggery! Once we arrived and were led to our room (in the basement, through several fire escape doors), we decided to call reception and see where all these treats were located, as there really didn’t seem to be room for them in a townhouse. Turns out they were a 10 minute walk away, and cost £15 to use. We complained and were given complementary day passes, but once we got to the gym, we discovered it was closed until January 2nd. I was about ready to cry, and I actually did shed a tear when the vodka martini I ordered back at the hotel arrived in a tumbler full of ice, no olive, and containing not a drop of vodka but Martini Rosso vileness instead. (The hotel bar was free – yes, free – and that is probably the only thing that prevented us from storming out in a righteous huff.) Oh, and the only place in our room that had mobile reception was far corner of the wardrobe.

The evening got better, though. Drinking champagne in the bath, going to Maroush for a cheap and tasty dinner, and walking around Knightsbridge looking at toffs’ houses. I’ll tell you one thing, the rich have really, really boring taste in interior design. So much cream! Chintz! Heavy curtains (to stop bitter proles like me peering in? Probably), dull antiques, nothing retro or punk, not even any Chinoiserie. This didn’t stop me from muttering “I hate you, I hate you” while my teeth chattered and I stared at a – blond, Tory – family toasting their wealth and incredibly fabulous life around a Christmas tree. Bastards. I was greatly heartened after seeing a rat darting purposefully towards a basement flat full of more nobbs. Vermin don’t care if you live in a pit or in a palace. Marxist Ilona, over and out.

Upon returning to our hotel, we drank more champers, set up the scrabble board (my drunk ass was whupped by a man who works in marketing, for shame!), and watched on TV the fireworks I could have seen – live! – from outside my front door…

Happy New Year!

No comments: