For his 15th birthday, William wanted a hamper from Fortnum & Mason. It was an unexpected choice, but, he later assured us, a good one, as there were so many things to unpack. So we felt family pain to see Fortnum’s being attacked during the riots.
Lidl it is not an Easter egg may cost £85. But this establishment also enriches the thoroughfare on which it stands, through the taste of its window displays and the charm of its clock-installed, with mechanical figures of Mr Fortnum and Mrs Mason to strike the hours, in that otherwise bleak decade for architecture, the 1960s. They are pleasures shared by everyone.
But don’t worry. Only a week later, there is no sign of the occupation. The Fountain Restaurant is once again a temple of calm (I’m there at this moment; I recommend the kedgeree). Spray may have risen from the high-pressure jets cleaning the pavement outside The Ritz, but that, too, has largely been cleansed of graffiti.
Indeed, most traces of the riot, as we saw when on Piccadilly the next day, had been expunged within 24 hours. London has seen a lot during its two millennia of existence, from Boadicea to the Blitz. It’s big enough to absorb shocks, however rude. I tip my top hat to Noel Coward: ‘Nothing ever could override/ The pride Of London Town.’