I’d been mulling over how I was going to write this for a while, but it seems that for the second time in a short period I am the barer of sad tidings.
After losing Kathleen in November; unfortunately Marie my breakfast partner of many years passed away a couple weeks ago. She hadn’t been well for much of the last year, but we tried to breakfast together as regularly as possible.
It all started about 10 years ago, when Marie was in her mid-seventies.
One morning I was sat at breakfast in The Wolseley reading “Corriere della Sera”, trying to improve my Italian, when Marie approached me. She said how nice it was to see an elegantly dressed young man sat, relaxing, reading a newspaper and enjoying his breakfast without fiddling with his phone.
I was flattered and this approach completely disarmed me. The fact that I had been ‘fiddling with my phone’, and had put it down only a few moments before had escaped her. I asked her if she’d like to join me, she accepted and our friendship began.
Initially it would be coincidence that we would both be there at the same time, but in more recent times we’d phone each other to make sure that we would be about and I suppose we would meet up a couple of times a week.
Often she’d wonder what people thought of the two of us, nattering away at breakfast, a modern day “Harold and Maude” perhaps.
Even after her bypass operation we’d joke about her pills; how she’d keep tabs on what she had taken, and what she hadn’t.
I know that she was treasured by everyone at The Wolseley and that feeling was mutual. She made an effort to get to know everyone and with her husband Kurt, they were regulars at several of Chris and Jeremy’s restaurants, and she made friends in all of them.
The last time I spoke to Marie was just before her birthday which fell on Christmas Eve, she wasn’t feeling great, but was looking forward to spending Christmas surrounded by Kurt, her daughter Sally, her husband Harry and the grandchildren.
I was, moved to write this after breakfast at The Wolseley this morning. I like eating there, especially breakfast, and whether it is alone or with a friend, when I had Marie for company I always felt privileged.
Like Kathleen, I will miss Marie dearly.
Unfortunately Marie never accepted my request to have a photograph us taken together.
Marie was wonderful to be around and she loved being surrounded by people, making friends everywhere she went. We would joke that I’d end up pushing her round in a bath chair, Marie waving regally as I pushed her down Piccadilly from The Wolseley to Fortnum and Mason, covered with a cashmere blanket. Sadly, in the end I never had that pleasure.