In Breakfast at Tiffany’s (the first film I ever called my favourite) Holly Golightly describes Tiffany’s as her cure for ‘The Mean Reds’ and a place where ‘nothing very bad could happen to you’. My own Tiffany’s is Fortnum & Mason’s – a store that, thanks to Orinoco Womble, I have known about since long before I actually went there.
As a child I was a Wombles geek. I collected Womble figures. I had a Wombles pillowcase and a Wombles lampshade. I had all their albums and books. At the age of seven or so I probably could have won Mastermind if I’d picked the Wombles as my subject. I even had a Wombles vest (which I confess I still wore for many years after the lampshade got replaced).
My introduction to Fortnum and Mason’s came when Orinoco Womble got upset and ran away from Wimbledon Common to the shop (or Fortune & Bason, as he called it). As he described the luxury of all the things he found that they’d thrown away, I was hooked. Not that I’m even remotely into bin-diving – when it comes to Fortnum’s I’m a front entrance only kind of girl – I just loved the idea of a store that sold food for pure luxury. Growing up in the sticks in the 1970’s, my only experience of food luxury was spending ages picking out ‘one of those and one of those’ from the penny sweets section at the village shop.
Now I live in London and can pop in to Fortnum’s whenever I’m passing, or even just feast my eyes at their sparkling window displays from the top of a bus, and it always gives me that great ‘Tiffany’ feeling. A feeling that all is right with the world and so long as Fortnum & Mason’s is there, it always will be.