February 11 2013
My breath is taken away
on Friday morning, and not from the biting cold. Instead, I’m bowled over by a visit
to see my goddaughter, Sasha, at her nursery, Purple Dragon, just a short walk
from Sloane Square. I have never seen so many facilities to entertain
children, and parents: cooking, painting, climbing… It beats fighting rush-hour
traffic, that’s for sure.
With the weekend nearly upon us I need to tie up some loose ends in the office, which means sitting down with Georgia, my PA, Katharine, our finance assistant, and Roni, our financial controller.
Lunch afterwards is with Ben Goldsmith at a favourite haunt of ours, Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecôte, off Marylebone High Street. For years we have been addicted to the dressing they put in the green salad, not to mention the sauce over the steak. It is a winner every time. Ben and I are planning a trip to Israel and we race through the details, excited as we are to experience first-hand the high-end technology and the quality of innovation happening across all sectors there. The trip will end with Lord Rothschild hosting a dinner for leading investors and family offices. Lunch today is also poignant for another reason, as it marks seven years since Fitzdares started trading – something I could never have done without Ben’s initial backing. It is amazing how quickly the time has flown by.
My wife and I have friends over for dinner, which gives us an excuse to go to The Ginger Pig on Askew Road – a revelation as a local butchers since opening a year or so ago. Beanie cooks lamb chops and I open a bottle of 1995 Château Pichon-Longueville to mark the start of the weekend.
My son Hector and I start Saturday by watching his godfather, Nick Luck, present The Morning Line on Channel 4. Afterwards, I drive to Newbury Races, which today is branded as Super Saturday, with four excellent races to get the Cheltenham Festival juices flowing. At this time of year, the horse-racing world only has eyes for the Festival’s four days of racing, which take place in the middle of March. Several racecourses are currently staging important trials for the event. My father, Rod, joins me at Newbury. Dad is racing more than ever, which is ironic given that he’s now retired after 28 years as managing director of Goodwood Racecourse for Lord March. I love wandering around the course with him; it’s something we have been doing for a long time – 33 years ago he was pushing me around racecourses in a pram.
With a full Premier League programme and Six Nations matches complementing the afternoon’s racing, it is a very busy day in the office – we thrive on this, the phones ringing off the hook.
Sunday is much the same, with Manchester United beating Everton 2-0 and England dispatching Ireland in the rugby 12-6 in Dublin. Results – surprisingly – are favourable, which I put down to luck more than anything else. Through a combination of BBC Radio 5 Live and Sky I keep on top of the afternoon’s sporting action.
Beanie and I have a quiet Sunday evening, reflecting on exactly this time last year when, during the Bafta Film Awards, our boys started to make their way into the world, arriving as they did at 6.03am and 6.18am the following Monday morning.