Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Lucian Freud ate my polo

This is a bit off-subject but it's my blog, yeah?

So, a few weeks ago my friend Ed, who does something in the army with horses, invited me to lunch. I met him at university, where he was the life and soul of the party. Often more than one party at a time. Then he baffled everyone by going into the army. Like John Cusack in Grosse Pointe Blank.

"There will be interesting people there," promised Ed.

"Great," I said. "Whatever. Did you say lunch?"

I love horses. And I really love a soldier - how can you not? All that subsidised health care... mm... great skills with an iron... irresistable. But most of all I love a lunch that I haven't had to cook myself.

Off I trotted on one of the hottest days of the year down to Knightsbridge, in my favourite new dress. A five year-old recently asked me if it was my "nightie". So that gives you a picture.

I arrived at Hyde Park Barracks and wasn't even frisked, damnit (I suppose it's not neccessary when you're wearing a nightie) but was led up some creaky stairs to where about 15 large men, including Ed, were standing around in thick uniforms, perspiring manfully and nursing pale fizzy drinks. And there, on the edges of the throng, was LUCIAN FUCKING FREUD (not in uniform). Well, I didn't really know what to say. Or do. So I just said "Hullo!" and shook his hand and started talking to not one but two people who had left or were about to leave the army to become barristers. It seems to be a trend.

A rumour flew round the room that Lucien Freud had exclaimed to a cavalryman called Peter: "I love your hips," and then put out his hands to describe the broadness of the beam. "Oh fucking hell," said someone. "Can you imagine a portrait of Peter in the nude?"

Here's why I worry about the troops in Afghanistan: as we were about to sit down to lunch, it turned out that only some of us had place cards. So finding out where we were supposed to sit was tricky. It was a bit like a round in a very, very posh Krypton Factor. We all scratched our heads and then some bright spark went out to track down the seating plan. Three Captains of the British Army, I think all of whom had seen active service really quite recently, bent over it, turning it this way and that, navigating by Lucian Freud, who had found his seat, and saying "So you must be there... or is that the other end? Oh no wait, it's upside down."

But we all sat in the right places in the end.

Lunch was an absolutely delicious bit of roast lamb with superb pomme mousselline and green beans. (Obviously I'm saying it was nice. I don't want a helicopter gunship to swoop into view and flatten my house).

Then we went to see the horses. Giant animals the size of elephants who all wanted to snog me because I had Polos. I told them I was married but they didn't care. I hid my terror by shrieking "It's going to EAT ME!"

A guy wearing shiny spurs and a pair of wicked trousers with a red stripe down the side said: "Those are crack for horses."

"Have one," I said to Lucian Freud, who was standing next to a mint-frenzied horse. I put a Polo in his steady palm, which had a small mark of white paint on one side, and he zonked it straight into his mouth. And then he laughed.


  1. I often see the Horse Guards (?) riding in Hyde Park in the morning and they're magnificent creatures, man and beast. Excellent story.

  2. I don't care a jot if that was off-subject, it's a lovely story! A reat pity about the lack of frisk action though.

  3. That sounds amazing.
    Lucien Freud and Polos, eh? I would have take him as a Lemon Millions type of guy. Interesting. Good to hear you making it down to the SW. As long as you stay clear of Brompton Road and the Lost French Students. hehe.

  4. You got to share Polos with Lucian Freud and have lunch with a group of sexy Soldiers? (in my imagination they must be sexy, please don't disappoint by telling me otherwise!). Seriously jealous!