AA Milne with his son Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh (Photo: Bob Thomas / Popperfoto / Getty Images)
Odd, isn’t it, how one comes to regard the month ahead? On the first of May, for example, one looks ahead to the next few weeks with the same slightly wistful but largely benevolent warmth with which one views one’s misspent early twenties.
February, on the other hand, is liable to be met with that same expressionless, monkfish stare as the one more frequently dished out to potential sons-in-law, the cold glare that unequivocally communicates, ‘This is bad, it will no doubt get worse – and it is surprisingly short.’
December, however, is a genuine pleasure. One can look ahead with the same comfortable confidence as one might feel whilst swirling a half-glass of something red around, seated in an old armchair in front of a favourite painting, waiting for one’s guests to arrive for dinner.
And on the subject of favourite paintings: 1. Drop by the V&A for the Winnie the Pooh exhibition. There’s as much to discover for the first time as there is to reminisce over: https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/winnie-the-pooh-exploring-a-classic
2. What with Marley’s Ghost rattling his chains, the vaguely pagan subplot of Christmas and the generally spooky, Edgar Allan Poe-ness of Midnight Mass, why not pop across town and pick up a few presents for one’s more spiritually-diverse relatives? https://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/satanic-flea-market-anti-christmas-fayre
3. On which uneasy note, how about a trip to the Royal Court? If this doesn’t whet one’s appetite for drama more than one of those infernal pantomimes ever could, what would? “Last night I woke up and found that I was not at home. And I was not wearing my own clothes. And then I wasn’t sure. Maybe they were my clothes, and I was someone else.” Details and tickets here: https://royalcourttheatre.com/whats-on/grimly-handsome/
4. One a less sinister, altogether more Christmas-ish level, there can be little so deliciously twinkly as the London Glassblowing Studio by candlelight. Pick up a few presents, throw back something mulled and even blow your own bauble. Here is the low-down: https://londonglassblowing.co.uk/exhibition/glassblowing-by-candlelight/
5. If the above all sounds rather exhausting, fear not. What better way to recharge the body and refresh the spirits than with a quiet but sumptuous feast at Harry’s Dolce Vita in Knightsbridge, the latest venture from the people behind The Ivy and J Sheekey’s? https://www.harrysdolcevita.com