The Greenhouse restaurant in Mayfair is as discreet and chic as it gets. You approach from a cobbled mews and tropical plants act as sentries until its hidden door is revealed. The reason for the Prosecco bellinis and foie gras (weren’t we glad not to be at an austerity Conservative party conference fringe meeting in Birmingham) was a lunch for some of our favourite people.
Sir Michael Parkinson and our very own Carla Carlisle compared notes on being restaurateurs. His has a Michelin star, but she has a vineyard. One all.
Kirsty Young and Libby Purves had tales to tell of their guests on Desert Island Discs and Midweek respectively (which included some of those around the table). If I carry on like this, the same fate might befall me as befell Parky’s son after a celebrityfilled weekend in the 1970s. On the Monday, his teacher asked him what he had done the day before. When he said ‘I played football with George Best’, he was warned not to tell lies. ‘What did you really do?’ Reply: ‘I was on a boat with Michael Caine and it began to sink.’
Sometimes, stories are just too improbable to tell, but I promise we really did have the general in charge of the army’s fighting troops sitting at the same table as a Unesco artist for peace.