06 March, 2007

encounter in a kitchen shop

All right, all right, he wasn't brandishing a sword at the time. Boy are people picky. Just look at that face.

But yes, it truly happened! And like most things in life, when I least expected it. OK, deep breath, I'll tell you the whole story. I had decided to run into the Marco Polo Cafe in the Marylebone High Street for a spot of hummous for lunch, not having much in the way of an appetite lately, and had just finished and was meandering toward school pickup when I passed the offices of BBC London. Lots of weedy looking chaps and chicks, smoking, clutching their own ribcages in the wind, drinking coffee. Doubtless our nation's youthful cultural elite. I perused them to see if anyone looked like anyone. No one did. Just on the other side of the BBC is the lovely if horrendously overpriced kitchen supply shop Divertimenti, which I used to frequent in its old location in the Fulham Road, and I gazed into the shop windows, thinking, "See, Matthew Macfadyen was photographed in some undisclosed 'Marylebone' location just the other week, having lunch. Why doesn't that ever happen to me, seeing him wandering about? What's the point in having a crush if you never ever see him?" And there he was.

Truly! In the shop! It was but the work of a moment to realise, hey, I'm a cook, I might need something in the way of carrot peelers or Dutch ovens, so I darted in and... then what? I thought of Dorothy L. Sayers' referring to tailing a suspect, and finally cornering him. "The glass is firmly clapped over the moth. Now the only question that remains is how to extract the moth without injury." Indeed. What to do? He was deep in perusal of some extravagant Magimix machines, so I perused them too. Then he moved on to coffee makers, and that wasn't too hard, there were so many. By the time he moved to the vintage cookery books behind glass, however, I had to get out of the way. I found myself with a really topnotch grater in my hand and my wallet in the other, so I queued up at the till, and he walked right behind me. Actually brushed again the sleeve of my Barbour jacket (I'd say I'll never wash it again, but then I never have washed it). He is, as I always suspected, just the build of John, big and tall and comforting. Rimless glasses, messy hair, jeans and a sweatshirt, with what could have been a script, rolled up in his hand. The hand bearing the wedding ring, mind you, so I sighed and bought my grater. Then he walked by and turned for just an instant, and looked right at me! Not with any great interest, you know. But still.

So I called John, so far away in Iowa, and he can be forgiven for being less than entranced. But he tried, for my sake. I floated on up to school and got Fifi (and a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my dear friend Becky who I really missed so much last week), and we made our way in a taxi back down the High Street toward the stable. "Would you believe I saw him?" I raved, "And he could still be around here, anywhere!" And there he was, on the corner, carrying now a Daunt Bookshop bag in his hand, the kind you get if you spend more than 25 pounds. "It's Matthew!" Avery shrieked. But taxis wait for no obsessed fans, so we were on our way. What fun.

How exciting. I cannot imagine that today will bring any such adventures, the schedule calling for nothing more than a visit to the Royal Academy and the New White Cube Gallery with my friend Susan. But my eyes will be peeled, for sure.


Sue7 said...

Now that really is exciting. I can tell you exactly where those previous shops were in the high street photos but your news means that he's there regularly.....as am I! I have been going to the Marylebone Divertimenti since 1984 when I worked opposite the Cordon Bleu. It used to be in Wigmore Street but then they moved. I have loads of their stuff in my home. That it just the kind of encounter I love to have. Going about your regular life and finding a bonus event like that. People sometimes don't believe when I say that I've seen this person and that wandering around so I love it when someone else has a magic moment......and WHAT a magic moment. Are you free for a trip to see Middletown at the Prince Charles?

Kristen In London said...

Sue7, I couldn't manage to figure out how to email you, but I wonder if I publish a comment here with Matthew Macfadyen's dear name, you'll get another alert?

It was exciting! I do wish, in a way, that I had just said in a perfectly non-stalker way, "I really admire your work and it has brought me so much pleasure," and that probably would have been all right. But I couldn't do it! I don't think saying that would have been intrusive, though, do you? I would imagine most actors would be pleased. Anyway, yes, I wonder if they have a flat here now? I believe they used to live in Twickenham, didn't they? Perhaps they are flat-shopping?

Now then. Where is the Prince Charles? I certainly am up for the trip if it's local.

And where is the Cordon Bleu? I would love to take a cooking lesson in French sauces. My husband gave me three courses of my choosing at the Books for Cooks shop in Notting Hill but I haven't organised it yet.

OK, must face up to real life now. Thanks for getting in touch, and let me know about the film. I have some flexibility because another mother owes me a favor!



Sue7 said...

I have actually pm'd you at mm-online with a link to the Prince Charles (in Leicester Sq).

I'm pretty sure they still live in Strawberry Hill, Twickenham but Keeley's folks live just up the road from Marylebone High Street. IF we were real stalkers we'd work out if the last sighting was on a Tuesday.......perhaps that is grandparents day! No - they wouldn't stick to a routine like that......would they? ;)

The Cordon Bleu is in Marylebone Lane and I used to work in the old dairy building in Cross Keys Close. Happy Days. I think Divertimenti might still be in Chelsea but they always had another branch this side of town.

Shelley said...

"Lots of weedy looking chaps and chicks, smoking, clutching their own ribcages in the wind, drinking coffee."

...This is one of the -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------(I'm leaving the dashes in here because my cat just sat on the keyboard - perfectly timed as all cats are) ...most colorful descriptions...just perfect...I could see the whole thing in my mind. Please tell me your cookbook will be peppered with such great quotes.

cassandra said...

I came across your blog by a rather round about way, but am thrilled skinny to read it and all the details of your chance encounter. How lovely for you.

Btw, you may recognise me from MMOnline? I certainly know sue7 from there too.

When I come to London I very often visit the area for parking (which is becoming more and more of a nightmare I find) but have yet to check out any of the local attractions - although that may have to change from now on - especially if I ever chance to come down in the week rather than just at weekends.

I have set my dear Other Half on to Matthew watch now that he works in London, but sadly he is in the wrong area I suspect. He is however very close to RADA and - in fact he texted me a pic of the exterior only yesterday- the Masonic Hall Building entrance used for the 'Spooks/MI5' filming. Maybe one day ......