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Blog 74 - Bellino & Shanghai Tang

My Italian BELLINO scarf is vintage silk and the photo shows it with a Chinese cashmere jacket lined with a wonderful bright pink silk. The border around the scarf picks up the luxurious pink lining and the multi coloured flowers are strikingly bold. How apt that the Italian name ‘bellino’ translates into English as ‘pretty’.

As far as I know, the Bellino label is no longer associated with scarves but rather bed linen. Thank goodness I don’t collect sheets which would really test my storage capacity!

My blog journey this week is around the jacket rather than the scarf, although today I am wearing both. I would certainly have to take the magic carpet to reach Hong Kong where the jacket originated. The label is SHANGHAI TANG and says the cashmere comes from Inner Mongolia. This company also makes beautiful silk scarves. I’ll keep an eye open for one of these. Last weekend, the journey was more modest, no carpet required. I was driven by car to Reigate for lunch with girlfriends and a game of bridge. My gift to our hostess was playing cards from the Oriental Club with a printed copy of last week’s blog. The jacket was rolled in my overnight bag as it was to be worn the following evening at a posh evening function in another London Club. From Reigate we returned to Holland Park to my friend’s home and spent a quiet evening watching Netflix. The jacket sat on the back of a chair, as yet unworn. On Monday we had a change of plans having to cancel the dressy evening out. The jacket was re-rolled and put back in my overnight bag…..Now, we had a whole day ahead with no fixed schedule. The No.94 bus took us to Oxford Street.

Last week’s blog prompted the spur-of-the-moment decision about lunch and later to find an answer to the question about what was going on now at 16 Grosvenor Street. We lunched at the Oriental Club in Stafford Place….and naturally we had a curry with a gin and tonic. You will remember the OC originally had its first meeting place at the Grosvenor Street address, so the Club by Bond Street Station seemed a fitting start to the day’s exploration. We got a warm welcome and it was uplifting to see the staff happily decorating a giant Christmas tree. Now fortified, we set off on foot to find No. 16 Grosvenor Street. Surprise, surprise! No Jacqmar scarf shop, but smart refurbished offices owned by a very powerful Qatari Property Company. Again we were given a warm reception by the staff we met. Of course, I had to explain my interest in the building and I babbled on about my scarf blog. I have a feeling the staff might be forwarding details of Scarfaid to their boss, the Emir of Qatar. I just never know where these silk scarves will take me. We had our photos taken in front of a plaque which the company had uncovered during restoration work, said to be the crest of the original architect, Thomas Ripley. It was now dark. Before leaving Grosvenor Street, we took selfies outside Agent Provocateur, but these are not for publication! The Christmas lights of New Bond Street beckoned. We light-heartedly gazed in galleries and luxury shop windows, little knowing that would be our last day of freedom before face masks are again compulsory in shops, public transport and elsewhere.

I suppose the lesson I learned this week is that we have to be flexible and make the most of changed circumstances. The Union Jack is still flying on my doorstep. I said it would remain until the pandemic is tamed. Omicron has emerged and we must adapt yet again.

Back to my day out in London…..An interesting journey back to Holland Park, again on the No.94 bus, seeing the bright lights of the Winter Wonderland fun fair in Hyde Park, the Mound and familiar sights from my previous life in Bayswater. I picked up my bag with the Chinese jacket. An Uber safely delivered me home to Richmond. If jackets could speak, I imagine it saying “Was my journey really necessary?”

I am redressing matters with the said garment today, adorning it with my Italian scarf and silver and shocking pink quartz earrings My daughter, her husband, my granddaughter and Brazilian friend and I are going to sing carols and have our first Christmas dining overlooking the Royal Mid Surrey golf course. I wonder if I will find a pink paper hat in my Christmas cracker today? I will be careful with the cranberry sauce. I wouldn’t want to ruin my pretty BELLINO.

Ps. I understand the Emir of Qatar went to Sherborne School in North Dorset. My granddaughter Ella, the blog art editor went to Dauntsey’s in Wiltshire. She tells me they played sports fixtures against Sherborne. The Oriental Club reservations manager was Lithuanian, barman Italian with a Romanian partner, security officer at no.16 Tibetan, and my Uber driver Hungarian. The world is a small place.

Busy Bee, Scarf Face!

Series 2, Blog 74.

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