Sunday 13 February 2022

Essential Snobbery 101: Sir Hans Sloane disturbed

What we truly endured

Bluebird took me down memory lane, for what I remember is it was the model of one of the official cars granted my father in his accountancy prime of the 1980s in the Nissan range, though now, I realise it was a broader model dating from 1995, the one in our fleet of vehicles being the U11 series. This was the thought on my mind as we sought the entrance to the King’s Road restaurant in Chelsea, for brunch.

The pictures of food we saw on Google Maps after we realised the Chelsea Farmer’s Market had been gentrified to the standard of unrecognisable and inaccessible, this became our fallback. The young lady, nails all done in a shade of pink that would appear as just pink to men looked like she had taken on a part-time role as a waiter, untrained, nervy and unsure, like she was just earning a crust she did not need to be able to go out to party with her girlfriends.

All the appearances of sophistication and shabby chic were soon dispelled, the service was unsupervised and unprofessional, the food pitiable in presentation, I had to scrape the dollops of hollandaise sauce off the eggs royale and still had enough to paint the walls, if I was so inclined. We sat through it with regret and left in haste, that one should resist posting a review on TripAdvisor, for a couple of stars would be overly generous to the lasting impression. Like a Jehovah’s Witness proselytiser, I did half shake the dust off my feet as I left.

Everything off in this place

Then, for the first time ever, I set foot in Harrods and nothing, absolutely nothing endeared me to the place, and it informs why I had never been there before when Fortnum & Mason had proved its standing.

Stopping over at a Harvey Nicholls cafĂ© for a cream tea, two ladies refused to be tabled beside us. I won’t want them for company either as they looked like Madeline Ashton and Helen Sharp, the two protagonists of Death Becomes Her, so artificially enhanced to occlude any semblance of natural beauty that once blessed their visages. Perchance there were a child in that restaurant, it would have squealed in terror at sighting them.

In a fashion for the history

Another patron was so grandly attired in exorbitant designer label apparel that altogether failed the basics of coordination and it did nothing to enhance her, she was more a clothes ass than a clothes horse. All that money and no fashion sense. Yet, I am informed that having the same designer label in 3 textures and 4 layers of clothes is termed Ghetto Fabulous; what do I know about fashion?

This area of Chelsea and Knightsbridge with its pomposity of class, old and new money, and antiquated aristocracy long past aspiration or adulation, that radiates from Sloane Square was named for Sir Hans Sloane, an Irish physicist from the 18th Century, who was buried at the Chelsea Old Church and out of whose bequest formed the foundations of the British Museum, the British Library, and the Natural History Museum in London. The unsavoury aspects of his provenance and activities are not accounted for in this piece.

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