September 20 2011
It’s Monday at my country house, which is deep in the Cotswolds – a really magical spot that I use as my bolthole, but also my laboratory. The light is dashing about on our fields and the first signs of autumn are appearing in the hedgerows. I love it. But then I love my life with such passion that I can’t wait to spring out of bed every morning, which can be irritating for those around me!
I seem to have a great work/life balance and in this week of my life I shall try to share this.
Today we will be photographing imagery for a new look book for William Yeoward Crystal. I’m often asked which is my favourite piece from our collection; and do you know, it never stops changing, because 18 years on I am still as passionate about William Yeoward Crystal, which was an idea I had with my exceptional crystal business partner Timothy Jenkins of recreating the best of English and Irish 18th- and 19th-century pieces and making them right for today. We never stop producing new and exciting pieces, so it’s hard to cite a single favourite.
So at 5am I’m off to Bristol flower market with my friend Su Daybell, who has a floristry business in our local town of Tetbury. Not only is Su a friend; she is also someone who really “gets it” – she has a great eye for seasonal colour and is usually spinning about five revolutions faster than most. And her business is called Twig, which I like. We stuff armfuls of colour and texture into the back of my Fiat and totter back home to meet Gavin Kingcome, my photographer for this shoot.
Gavin is, in fact, always my photographer of choice; he’s a delight to work with and is happy, us being a two-man team, to help with all aspects of the shoot. We set a lavish table in our dining room and suddenly feel like having a party – a little difficult at 10am when everyone who has a proper job is toiling at their work!
My job at the company is very much about showing our customer how I love to use all the pieces we make. William Yeoward has a very wide product base and therefore there are often many different atmospheres and looks that we are photographing, so it’s important for me to try to show clearly the many different uses and applications. I’m not a great multi-tasker, so I have to keep my mind on the job; if it’s furniture or fabrics or lighting, it has to be just that, or I get muddled.
Luckily it’s now lunchtime, and my lovely Carol produces a great soup and bread (but the latter only for Gavin as I’m trying not to stuff bread down at present). Lunch is outside and I always feel that any meal eaten outside in England is so much more exciting than in the Mediterranean, where it is a much more regular occurrence. After we eat, I nip to my laptop and check my emails. I’m very busy organising a trip to South Africa for February, to visit both work colleagues and friends.
Then it’s back to the shoot, and concentration is paramount so I have a no phone rule and I need quiet to work. Digital is great because you can see the results.
At 5pm, I’m off to London to dine with friends at The Wolseley. Jeremy King is a great host and always sees to it that we get a top-notch position so that we can gawk at the beautiful people. I adore the Wiener schnitzel – hopeless for the figure but great for the humour. My partner, Colin [Orchard], is waiting at the restaurant with some American friends for whom he has decorated a hotel in Ireland, Ballyfin. Having stayed there twice at the invitation of our friends, I can say that it is by far the most delicious hotel in which I have ever stayed. I highly recommend it, along with Endsleigh and Tresanton, owned by the talented Olga Polizzi.
At evening’s end we’re more than tired, so we happily go home to our London flat to sleep.