Lockdown London, Walks, Matters Spiritual, And Gorillas

Welcome to Christopher’s corner, a monthly blog promoting London life and Deakin & Francis style. Meet our London store manager, Christopher MacDonald. When it comes to style and culture, Christopher’s column aims to provide personal insights and experiences, while showcasing luxury from our resident Deakin and Francis ambassador. Despite the London store being closed until further notice, Christopher has been proving lockdown doesn’t need to halt your lifestyle.

Since moving to Westminster about 15 years ago, my commute to work has included a walk across St James Park to reach work. That brief twice daily immersion into nature proved itself a great boost to the spirit on the way to work, and a help to relax on the way home.

During lockdown the need for seeing trees, grass, squirrels, pelicans, swans and parakeets has continued so most days find me there for my permitted exercise. Because there are far fewer people around the animal residents have become more sociable. I do realise it’s not my magnetic personality however, but the desire for easy food that’s behind these friendly approaches. So it is not unusual to have your way blocked by a peckish pelican who look quite dangerous close to, or a squirrel trying hard to look cute sitting on your foot, but I think my silver and enamel gorilla cufflinks might keep him away.

The media often reports how animals in Safari parks or zoos are suffering from depression for not seeing visitors and I think the grand hotels on Park Lane are missing their guests too. All those spacious, gilded rooms devoid of light, laughter and simply life which makes London such a vibrant city. Shops too feel these strange times, they definitely have a kind of spirit that feeds off the emotions and enjoyment of their clients.

So, on hearing today that April might be when non-essential stores ( I strongly dispute cufflinks are non-essential) will be able to reopen this news is very cheering. How long my allegedly healthy walk takes is often controlled by the cigar I might, accidentally, have brought with me. Being a traditionalist I stick to a Monte Cristo number 2 or 4 depending on the likelihood  of rain. Being my only bad habit, that I can enjoy in public anyway, one of smoking benefits is that the cloud of fragrant smoke keeps away tourists and small children and it brings a genuine mellowness and delight in doing ones bit against political correctness.

When the spirits are duly lifted thoughts turn to a more liquid form of spirit, a favourite Highland single malt for example, from the excellent Thompson Brothers of Dornoch. This liquid gold tastes even more special somehow when poured from an English crystal decanter whose stopper is an endearing grumpy gorilla.

For those still awake in reading this you may have noticed a Gorilla theme developing, and you are quite right. My two sons when they are allegedly being affectionate refer to me as a “grumpy old gorilla” so I wear one of Deakin and Francis magnificent Gorilla rings too, in their honour.

Whenever normality in whatever form that takes, returns to my lovely city, and my commuting walk starts again, I really look forward to crossing the bridge in my park and seeing the distant view of Buckingham Palace. It’s a strangely comforting sight, with its flag flying high and colourfully above the trees.

Keep well and safe y’all.