Riddle Magazine – Trevor Pickett December Column

Seeing out the Year

Be it on foot or in the Mini, navigating London’s thoroughfares can have its moments. However, calm is always restored

Column by Trevor Pickett

A while ago I was the guest writer in The Field Magazine’s column “If I ruled the World.” I wrote on consideration, kindness, manners and the anti-social behaviour on the pavements and roads. I still stand by what I wrote, but fear it’s gotten worse and I have got better – though my unintended revenge on such has been sweet.

As bus drivers are trained in cutting me up in my Mini Cooper, one pulled out with no indictor on and I found myself on the opposite side of Sloane Street at the Pont St. Junction. I was left with no option but to pull over to not cut him up, but landed at a strange angle in front of him. After trying to move out again, I was just getting out of the way of oncoming traffic – it gave me great pleasure that maneuvering myself away meant he was using his horn. Being a “old person” (aged 55), I was so tempted to drive like ‘Miss Daisy’ at five mph, which would not have been inconsiderate to the 72 plus passengers on the bus, just making the amber green light and leaving him on the red light, the bus driver kept hooting is horn. With my mood calm and his blood pressure rising, I realized that I did learn something on my speeding course – don’t get mad and drive slowly with due care – when mistakes are made; don’t look at the person driving with indignation, just avoid eye contact, keep calm and carry on.

Well in fact, I do the opposite with most Chelsea drivers in 4×4’s. I always look at them (lets them know I am aware of them driving towards me at whatever miles an hour on the narrow streets of Chelsea). Poor things, they are not spatially aware and so are accused of being arrogant – some are, I always pull over – but ensure they acknowledge my five mph treatment with a ‘thank you’.

Holborn was temporally closed Monday evening at around 5.30pm for crowd control of those arriving at the station – I noticed it was not caused by the volume of commuters (note: I do not use the word ‘customers’ that all service industries now use) the issue was not the space occupied by the travellers, but the wearers of backpacks on the journey to Holborn. I noticed it appeared 90 per cent of the passengers were carrying a backpack, of which 60 per cent of it takes up as much space as their upper body does.

I would really like to randomly select a backpack and review the contents commuters carry and what they burden themselves with. I guess that’s why our selection of backpacks is so limited at Pickett. Like wheelie bags, I do have methods of dealing with these bête noires if I find one cutting me up (I should maybe not be sharing my method of toppling wheelie bags), they are always annoyed but by the time they regain composure and get the bag back on track, I have disappeared into the crowds with a wry smile! I am not making myself sound very considerate, but how does one get the message out to fellow travellers who might think of others when traveling with oversized cars or oversized luggage – so that’s my thought for the day.

Now I am on a roll of a mischievous thread, Andrew from Richard James came in the store to collect some gloves and he suggested that I should pop in and see their collection. After some not very stout retail resistance, in need of a pair grey trousers I succumbed. Richard was in that day, so it was a great opportunity to see him. It’s hard to believe RJ has been in business 25 years, I believe being celebrated for this great coming of age is essential, Pickett will hit 30 next year – how time flies. I was a customer when Richard James first opened three shops on Savile Row.

Clive supervised me for my sartorial needs and Andrew effortlessly took the batten. The walk through their collection was a case of adding a key item or two to build the wardrobe. In Sloane Street the term ‘customer consultant’ or advisor, plus many other various terms for sales assistants, has been created for when ‘customers’ go to hospital, travel on trains, buses etc. It makes me ponder, does that make me a CEO Managing director or owner? They all sound pretentious to me but I guess people do enjoy titles and need to pidgeon hole each other into categories. My XXX, Jenny, has an assortment of titles depending on who we are talking to. For the first four months we tried to find a suitable, multifaceted one, but this became confusing, so we swiftly settled for House Model, Muse, Director of external relations, Creative, Wholesales Manageress, Corporate Manager, Head of Hospitality, Pity Department, Visual Merchandiser, Fashion Consultation, Private Clients, Press Co-Ordinator, Social Media, Interval PR and the Au Pare of the Pickett Kinder i.e. she does her bit to control the gap year hordes I allow through my doors. In fairness, this year’s intake has been good, and a great team are also to thank for this.

Finally, I should shop prattling and get back to my original storyline. How do we choose gifts for special people that are impossible to buy for, but you want to push the boat out? Not make an impression, but an offering of a bottle of DP or kilo of caviar is just too obvious or not appropriate (if you have failed to find anything at Pickett of course)!

Last year I was going for Christmas as often I do to very close friend’s houses. Their hospitality knows no bounds, and arriving on Christmas evening, every detail has been seen too. So, my decision for a contribution came to light when I started thinking beyond Christmas, it was a difficult situation as I got wind of what the other guests were offering – it sounded like the three kings were arriving 12 day early! What was I to do? Knowing they were spending New Year at their country house and knowing the food on offer, it is thought that counts so a hamper of things that are wanted will always be eaten.

My cheese of choice is Lancashire Bomb Cheese. I always think waxed cheese are a good idea as they last longer than the 25th and are perfect with rich fruit cake. This salami is delicious and of course olives make for the perfect canape platter, push the boat out with half a bottle of Ruinart to kick off a simple start and the perfect substitute for breakfast in bed by adding a bit of decadence to New Year’s Day! Roka biscuits are very moreish, teamed with Keta salmon caviar from Prunier will be a total hit pre-lunch. As is an uncomplicated Gordons gin with Schweppes, not as a protest vote to all the fashionable gin, some just try too hard with the overuse of juniper and a smell of the perfumery department made in copper pots. I see them as an alternative drink, like Hendricks and cucumber or Sipsmith and Fever-Tree; maybe in the gin world they are trying to complete with malt whisky.

Finally, a visit to Sally Clarke’s restaurant, pre-or post-Christmas, I think is a treat, what a joy to rediscover, now with an extensive menu I was rather saddened that it was not going to be a surprise, luckily Sally was in saw my crest fallen face and took control decided my dinner with no input from me. What a success! Perfect two courses that I would have not chosen, or rather noticed, and achieved what I was expecting, with modern British art on the walls it’s an evening to repeat ASAP. riddle_stop 2