Saturday, April 13, 2013

Of Goddesses, Rum Bars, Artesian Wells and Designer Afternoon Teas


It's been literally a heady 50 hours that I've just spent in London - with another 6 hours to go before jetting off to Toronto on the next pit stop of my first round-the-world business trip - and I've already met my colleagues, toured four hotels in the comp set, walked around Mayfair in the sunshine, sat at lunch near Terry Rogan and David Frost, watched in despair as a pimple signed a lease on my chin, overcame mini-bouts of jet-lagginess through plenty of sheer will (and iced Coke,) volleyed back replies to the endless stream of semi-frantic email messages from head office, succumbed to a massage at the spa, sampled black pudding for the very first time - am not going to repeat that culinary experience for awhile - ordered a designer afternoon tea set (at the birthplace of afternoon tea - the Palm Court - no less) and knocked back enough glasses of orange juice to stave off any potential viral bug that might threaten to derail me for the next 18 days on the road.

The Theo Fennell designer afternoon tea - and scones! - at the venerable Palm Court at The Langham, London
So it was in that frame of mind when I met last evening Stephanie Theobald, published author, freelance writer, and former senior editor at British Harper's Bazaar at The Artesian Bar at The Langham, London. Introduced by my favourite Frenchie parent - the delectable Anton Kilayko - Stephanie and I met, along with her former Harper's colleague and the hotel's PR director and managing director, for drinks at the site of a 360-foot artesian well with its extensive collection of rum and well-deserved reputation for inventive cocktails.  In just under an hour and after glasses of French champagne, Italian beer and Asian-inspired tea cocktails, my colleagues politely begged off, and I was left with my two new media pals, discussing loudly eight different topics seemingly all at once in a manic stream-of-consciousness patter that could only be made possible by chatty mates, a ferociously buzzy atmosphere, and after a couple round of drinks.
The David Collins-designed Artesian Bar, with its eclectic Chinoisserie decor, impressive display of rum, and the clever Artesian well-inspired champagne flutes.
It was around that time when all of us were lamenting about our inability to decide and make choices on certain aspects of our lives when Stephanie whipped out her Goddesses tarot cards and proceeded to give us - in my case, the first - reading.
What I'd selected from The Goddess Oracle cards
Being a newbie to this world of the occult, I was all set to listen and observe.  But even I was not fully prepared for my own reading (which commenced after I'd dutifully shuffled the deck of cards and turned over the one on the top.)  I picked Hecate, Goddess of the Crossroads which, I have to say, was pretty apt, and not to mention, a tad disconcerting, considering I'd only minutes prior elucidated out loud about being at the cusp of a life-changing intersection and needing the courage to take a leap of faith.  Having this card stare back at me, especially with the accompanying explanatory text using some of the same words I'd just mentioned, was, I have to admit, a bit jarring, even in my slightly inebriated state.  And to be perfectly frank, goddesses' wisdom aside, there have been other signs pointing me in this direction recently, so maybe it is soon time to heed all the internal and external spiritual and prosaic advice and guidance, stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and make the proverbial jump.

Watch this space.

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