Sunday, 31 January 2010

Sunday ... walk in the park ... fresh air ... cider in the pub ... wine at lunchtime ... wonderful lunch ... now that's what I call a weekend!

Two days of editing to come!

Song of the Day: Len - Steal My Sunshine!

Weather: Brrrrr but hmmmmm

yes, there really IS a place called ...
cider! yum!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

On Monday it will be February (where did January go?) and by the end of the week, a year's work will finally be over. Yes, the entire series including the Food & Wine special and the look-back show will be all done, dusted and ready for broadcasting!

In one way it feels like the filming year has flown by, but in another it seems a seriously mind-boggling long time ago that the year began in Singapore. When I think of how many places we have visited in the space of 11 months - fine hotels, wonderful sights and sounds, fabulous people, amazing experiences ... it exhausts me!

Anyway, so pleased it's the weekend! Yay! I am in Oxfordshire ... near a place called Christmas Common! I had lunch in "The Crooked Billet" ... a wonderful pub with delightful food ... apparently it's where Kate Winslet had her first wedding breakfast!

I now have a whisky in my hand ... ahhhhhh!

Song of the Day: Sexual Healing - Marvin Gaye

Weather: Clear & cool!

Friday, 29 January 2010

I have been quite busy today but have found time to listen to our ex-PM Tony Blair explaining the Iraq War ... it's quite depressing actually ... he just can't say "sorry" for anything.

On a lighter note, a reminder of an old TV show I used to love (Yes, Prime Minister):

Jim Hacker (PM) :“Don’t tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers. The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country. The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country. The Times is read by the people who actually do run the country. The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country. The Financial Times is read by people who own the country. The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country. And The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.”

Sir Humphrey Appleby: “Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?

Bernard Woolley: “Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big ...” (The Sun is reknowned as the "topless" newspaper"). I think most countries have newspapers and readers like the ones mentioned above.

So pleased the weekend is here ... fun with friends in Oxfordshire! Yay!

Song of the Day: Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy - Kid Creole & The Coconuts

Weather: Hailstorms!

Sir Humphrey, PM and Bernard
Kid Creole and some nice coconuts ...

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Spent much of the day looking through old copies of the show ... comparing/ contrasting/ taking notes for next series! I look like a Muppet ...

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime - Mark Twain

Spent a little of the day rescuing baby birds from naughty cats ...

Hmmm ...

Song of the Day: You win, I lose - Supertramp

Weather: Cold

spot the difference?

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Not much to report today ... lots of driving ... lots of writing ...

I need a holiday ... oh, I have booked one for February! Yay!

Song of the Day: American Science - Duran Duran

Weather: Dry & Cold


Tuesday, 26 January 2010

the living wall at The Athenaeum hotel on Piccadilly... i LOVE this feature. it feels like the hotel is "breathing" ...

in reception there's a pooch with a bowl ... moo was NOT pleased that it was empty ...

so i took her for a walk in hyde park! she loved it!

she looked VERY small and gorgeous and cute! don't you think?

from there i went to a "luxury marketing council" drinks at The Fleming which my dear friend and PR Julia Record helped to organise. my new diet precludes champagne and canapes ... i did have a duck roll ... but stuck to water! missing bread, sweets, ketchup, Coke ... the list goes on ...

i was meant to see my dear friend Rupa who has two new chihuahua's called Rambo & Simba ... but sadly they couldn't make it! boo ...

anyway - sleep ... LONG day tomorrow ...

Song of the Day: Addicted to Love - Robert Palmer

Weather: Clear and cold

Monday, 25 January 2010

Monday! Monday! Monday!

I LOVE Monday's because I get so much done. Today, I wrote two articles on golf, finished off a VAT return, ordered some secondary double glazing, chopped fire wood AND I have yet STILL to eat ketchup, sugar and bread/potato products!

Life is good ...

Tonight, UK only, 9 pm, Travel Channel, Sky 251, Inside Luxury Travel - south island of New Zealand show!

Song of the Day: Brilliant Mind - Furniture

Weather: Perffffect!

memory 1

memory of THE series??!!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

This must have been one of the best weekends for months as I did ... NOTHING ... I just let my beard grow, didn't answer the phone and only occasionally looked at my emails.

Also my 5 week pre-filming diet has started ... 2 days so far without chocolate or Ketchup and tomorrow the no-carbs rule kicks in ...

I have managed to slouch on my sofa and watch all the shows I have recorded over the past few weeks including the fabulous "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and this rather odd hotel movie "1408" ... I will ALWAYS look under the bed when I check into a hotel from now on!

I can't believe that January is nearly over - some editing left in February and a holiday ... yes, folks, a holiday ... with no work, no stress and no Tim or James! Ha!

Song of the Day: Crazy in Love - Beyonce

Weather: Clear & Brrrr

1408 - with John Cusack

Larry David ... nutter!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Nothing to report today except I slept a HUGE amount!

Song of the Day: Dolphins were Monkeys - Ian Brown

Weather: Clear & cold

Friday, 22 January 2010

Woke up with a serious case of garlic/snail breath! Departed from The Athenaeum into the rain & cold ... & misery ... boohoo ... sometimes I wish that the UK could float and that I currently resided in the Caribbean Sea ...

OK - so in the first edit of the NYC show and it's looking fab.

Will be sleeping the WHOLE weekend!

Song of the Day: Come Rain or Come Shine - BB King & Eric Clapton

Weather: Rain AND Shine

I love mornings ...
Another perfect stay ...
Need a cigar anyone?
Richard & I share a cocktail at The Peninsula in New York!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

It's quite late and I am quite exhausted! Quite ...

So - checked into The Athenaeum hotel on Piccadilly avec Madame Poochie.

First up, a cigar at Davidoff with dear friend Eddie Sahakian. Yum.

After a DREADFUL lunch meeting with rather entertaining company, I headed off to the Travel Channel studios and appeared as a guest on "The Holiday Show" ... presented by lovely Cocker-Spaniel-loving Ginny Buckley and Gareth Davis.

Was painless ... but interesting to be asked questions rather than asking them!

Dinner was at one of my favourite restaurants in THE WORLD! Poule au Pot ... French cuisine - reassuringly expensive food & wine - amazing escargot ... heaven and joy!

Back to hotel for sleep - first cut of New York show in the edit tomorrow! EXCITING!

Song of the Day: Mango Tree - Angus & Julia Stone

Weather: Cold
the studio
yum yum yummmmmmy yum!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Today I stayed warm and waded through a 2 feet pile of paperwork.

We are off to Tasmania and Melbourne on March 1st filming for the new season (2 separate shows) and then it's either back to Asia for 3 nights or to the south island of New Zealand ... choices choices ...

Watched the 2008 version of Brideshead Revisited today ... gave me a real need to visit Venice again ...

Song of the Day: There's Only Me - Rob Dougan

Weather: Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!


Tuesday, 19 January 2010

I LOVE ketchup! It was my first love and probably will be my last. I am very selective about my ketchup - it MUST be Heinz and it MUST be from the UK. The stuff from the USA is too watery, in Australia it's too sour and from Hong Kong too sweet!

I also hate, hate, HATE it when people put another brand in a Heinz bottle and try and pass it off as the real deal! Awful ...

The bottle (BIG & sadly empty) came from a store called Lucy Perry on Madison Avenue, NYC and those lovely people from The Mark posted it to me in ONE piece! Thank you guys!

Anyway - I have been off my Blackberry for 24 hours and it's been painful. I am back now! Phew!

The Oman & Thailand shows are looking great ...

AND Maisy & Mittens are celebrating their 3rd birthday!


Song of the Day: Livin' it Up - Ja Rule & Case

Weather: Cool but calm ...
Maisy & Moo
Mittens - meditating!

Monday, 18 January 2010

UK ONLY - Inside Luxury Travel - North Island of New Zealand - 9 p.m. - Travel Channel - Sky 251

OK - so full of beans again! No caffeine today ... just pure adrenaline.

I don't find Ricky Gervais funny. Am I the ONLY person who feels this way?

So .. went to the osteopath today .. my little finger either has an operation or gets filled with steroids! I have opted for the latter ... for now.

A weird morning - walked past a truck filled with sheep on the way to an abbatoir, walked past a funeral and walked past a VERY pregnant woman. The three stages of life ... just made me think.

Song of the Day: Walk on the Wide Side - Lou Reed

Weather: Quite acceptable ..


Sunday, 17 January 2010

Song of Day: Us & Them - Pink Floyd

Weather: Bright!

Saturday, 16 January 2010

I am hibernating!

Song of the Day: Moonlight Sonata - Beethoven

Weather: Don't know, don't care!

Friday, 15 January 2010

TODAY is Day 300 of this diary! It's also the 4th Birthday of the Four Seasons Tented Camp in the Golden Triangle in northern Thailand!

My first email this morning was from The Tented Camp ... my dear friend Yuki had just been blessed by a Buddhist monk. They say that an elephant NEVER forgets ... and Yuki just never forgets me!

The Oman edit is in full swing .... and this is THE nightmare picture! Four of me in the Jabreen Suite at the Shangri-La. The suite was just inder 5500 square feet and we felt that we needed more than one of me to fill it!
Last night I stayed at The Athenaeum on Piccadilly ... dear Alison treated me to the whisky above which is extremely tasty!

We have started with the rough cuts of the Thailand show ... this was when I met the two water buffalo in Chiang Mai!

And this is the first meeting with the elephants ... they were a right bunch of piglets when it came to breakfast! There is a lovely shot from behind them as they munch. Their tails wag like Moo when she is scoffing her chicken-dinner!

The weekend is here and hopefully some sleep.

Song of the Day: Islands in the Stream - Dolly & Kenny

Weather: Pathetic

Thursday, 14 January 2010

I am back in the UK.

The flight was SO atrocious that even the Captain had to apologise. My television didn't work (no biggie), toilets were dirty etc but the HUGEST issue was that the heating broke down and at one stage I was so cold, I lost feeling in my toes! I asked for orange juice and got an orange ice-lolly! Only my kashwere blanket and pillow saved me from pneumonia ... I usually fly well - VERY well ... but odd disasters like this don't help me at all.

Anyway, it's cold and raining here ... after the snow ... it's the flooding that's hurting London!

I am in the edit with Richard for 2 days - Oman and Thailand ...

ALL GOOD ... yawn ...

Song of the Day: To Make You Feel My Love - Adele

Weather: Yuk

Richard ... the camel

I read this and thought I should share! This theory is shared by Tim my cameraman - who used to be a Mastermind champion.

From Cheers. Cliff Clavin explaining the ‘Buffalo Theory’ of eugenics to his buddy Norm:

“Well ya see, Norm, it’s like this. A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. So when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members.

The human brain works that way too. It only operates as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. So, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That’s why you always feel smarter after a few beers.”

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Departed hotel around 8 a.m. full of extra-hot-venti-all-soya-6-squirts-of-chai-tea-latte from Starbucks! Wandered past Central Park ... hundreds of people with pups! It was so lovely seeing all these pups running around .. or on leads! What a wonderful place to go for a morning walk. It was around minus 4 degrees though ...

Pups in coats - dragging their pet down up path! Priceless!

Like London's Battersea Park there is a wee petting zoo! Guess what - there is one too at Central Park! And I spotted a cow, some goats and a couple of black sheep! Were Bert & Ernie on holiday in NYC without telling me??? I did laugh!

Plaza - where "Crocodile Dundee" and "Home Alone" was filmed

where? My advice to anyone who is stressed ... have a massage! I was going to get one at a Day Spa but Tricia insisted that I had one at The Peninsula Spa. For 90 minutes, Margaret the therapist soothed 10 days of work away! I floated back to The Mark!

The Pierre where "The Concierge" with Michael J Fox was set ...

Back home to The Mark -- just time for a glorious lunch at San Ambroeus (just round the corner from the hotel) with the lovely James Sherwin (General Manager) and Carrington ... and now I am packing for the flight home!

NYC is brilliant and my time here has been fabulous! I can't quite believe that the series is over ... can't wait for the new one to start in March!

Song of the Day: Men Without Hats - Safety Dance

Weather: Brrrrrrrrrilliant!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

So, woke up at 7 a.m. This is a lie-in for me because on filming days I am up at 5. I am staying at The Mark in a 1-bedroom suite on 9th floor. It's perfect for a unassuming, low-maintenance, unfussy person like me! Ha! Actually - it's a WONDERFUL homely suite ... not too big, not too small ... the kind of place you could have a meeting in or slouch on the sofa with a pizza!
SO - first up - scripts - Oman and Thailand. I leave NYC tomorrow - arrive in London on Thursday and am straight into the editing suite ... phew!
Today was a trip down Memory Lane. Orsay - on Lexington - was the first place I ever ate in NYC! It's still here ... but looks rather rundown ...
Last night I got home at after 2 am! Why? Well, I smoked cigars and drank lovely whisky here! A couple of blocks from the hotel.
Nice cakes!

I LOVE FAO Schwarz ... I visit there EVERY time I am in NYC. Always pop up to "THE" piano from Big to reminisce about my childhood. As far as I am concerned Tom Hanks only starred in one good movie - Big ... and the piano scene is just a classic.
A row of Yukis (the elephant I mahouted in Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand before Xmas)
A life-sized Lego model of Batman - only $26,000 ... plus tax! Whammo Blammo Kerpowey!
After all this shopping, it was time for a rest and where better to "put my feet up" than The Four Seasons hotel. The delightful PR Leslie Lefkowitz (right) and her assistant for the day Jessica "Rabbit" Rudin wined me (lovely Pinot) and let me chatter incessantly about my recent adventures. I have known Leslie for a long time but don't see her often enough. I am thinking of revisiting NYC in 2011 for filming ... and this hotel ... plus The Greenwich are at the top of my list ...
On my way back to the hotel I spotted Lisa Perry a wonderfully cool, retro, 60's, homage to Twiggy & the Beatles store on Madison Avenue (between 76 & 77). Everything is VERY colourful (including "Pretty in Pink" Katie above) ... and there is a HUGE bottle of Heinz Ketchup (sculpture) that will hopefully find its way back home with me!! I bought some very cool plates and cups ... dinner party anyone??? If you are bored tonight and want to watch my ultimate 60's movie - The Party with Peter Sellers! I model myself on his character in this movie ...


Song of the Day: Walking Down Madison - Kirsty MacColl

Weather: Chilly but bright
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