Only an idiot would schedule a home move involving an entire, top to bottom, renovation of a new flat in the busiest work month of the year. That idiot is me. Dramas in the last week have included the discovery of three rotten ceiling joists (“Yes,” said my Polish builder, really cheerfully, “It is very bad news actually.”); an infestation of ants; mutterings about new problems with the roof and the news, just as I was about to order it that the new kitchen (and yes, the old one has already been ripped out) was going to cost 25% more than the original quote because the cabinet company had ‘forgotten’ to include certain vital components. (Cue emergency kitchen shopping elsewhere). Oh, and then there was the small matter of a three hour exam. Very weird to be back at a wobbly exam hall desk – “You may turn your papers over…NOW.” And work. On top of all that. Stressed? No, no problem at all *not sounding at all clenched* *pouring a stiff drink*.
Two good things:
1. The Fortnum & Mason food & drink writing awards on Tuesday night. They were lovely. Not just because to my astonishment I was given Drink Writer of the year. Also, my goodness that place knows how to throw a party. Apologies to those who spoke to me at the end of it by which time I was on Very Short Loop (blame the champagne). Lovely to meet the extraordinarily nice Rachel Khoo who told me her teeny Paris flat is just 21 square metres – she still has to pull the bed down every single night before going to sleep (sort of know I’d end up sleeping on the floor some nights because I couldn’t really be bothered). Also the very impressive Jack Monroe and her fab granny. Also Claudia Winkleman who teased me for zooming shyly off stage after accepting a little silver-hamper-trophy-thing without making a speech – “I asked Victoria if she’d like to say something and she said, ‘Absolutely not.'” Well except perhaps for – thank you Fortnums, on all counts.
2. I’ve been tasting too much wine by day to drink any at home (though have mixed quite a few daiquiris…get that El Dorado workin’) but as a completely frivolous antidote to all the house/exam hassle I have ear-marked one of the new wines I tasted at Waitrose on Thursday afternoon for the next sunny evening we have (there will be one, won’t there? won’t there?) It’s called San Leo Asti NV Italy (Waitrose, £6.99 down from £9.49 from Wednesday – 22 May – to 11 June). YES I did say Asti. Asti is my guilty secret. I really love this super-girly, frothy, fizzy, sweet, floral wine from northern Italy. I think of it as Nectar of Summer. Slightly nectarine-y too. Happy, stop-worrying stuff to drink with a big bowl of strawberries and a bunch of nice friends.This is a new wine to Waitrose, a sibling to the San Leo prosecco, and it has a super-smart red label. Look out for it on offer in the next few weeks, wait for a burst of sun and chuck it in a big glass (don’t fiddle around with flutes). Pure escapism. Like being a teenager again.