Where do we go?
Where do we go now?
Where do we go
Sweet child o’ mine?
Remember the final scene of Merchant Ivory’s A Room with a View? Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham-Carter before she became a Tim Burton cartoon) gazes into the eyes of George Emerson (pre-Arachnophobia Julian Sands), framed in a window of the pension in which they met, as strangers, at the outset of the film. Twin Florentine landmarks – the Duomo and Uffizi tower – lurk behind them like benevolent grannies, smiling witnesses to the ineffability of Love. A flame ignited in a Tuscan barley field, guttered under the disapprobation of Charlotte Bartlett (Maggie Smith wasn’t born the Dowager Countess), suffocated under engagement to Cecil Vyse (pre-bombast Daniel Day-Lewis) has finally blazed into an inferno in the city of Dante Alighieri. We once knew somebody who slept in a yellow Ford Cortina with a dodgy alternator outside Greenwich Theatre, hoping his smouldering passion for Ms Bonham Carter would serve to set the Thames on fire. He was last seen pushing the car round and round the parking lot at dawn, hopping in-and-out in a Sisyphean effort to enact a bump-start. Love refuted? We shall see: he may yet claim his prize. In some dank old folks’ home in Golders Green, the grinning beneficiary of early-onset dementia, his bride-to-be squawking ‘I used to be Bellatrix Lestrange!’
We have a new room. On the second floor. It has not one, but three views. None of them are of the Ponte Vecchio arching across the Arno. But if you gaze out of the southern one, you can see the West Branch of the Delaware gurgling under River Street and, in the middle-distance, the frosty silhouette of Bramley Mountain. Truth is, it’s not just a room. It’s two rooms. Two Rooms with Three Views. Do we smell a sequel? Hot-blooded Inez Honingskerk tears off her embroidered kraplap and makes for the mountains, meets chirpy chicken-whisperer Katrin (with a fistful of zucchini), recently excommunicated teen-mother Kathleen, and falls in love with a charming border-collie shepherd mix. Oh, and the room. Imagine two rooms connected by an open arch: hand-made queen bed in one, hand-made day bed in the other. Delightful jelly-cupboard-turned-wardrobe between. Caters perfectly to itinerant lovebirds who want to stay at Table on Ten, but don’t want their toddler to sleep in the bathtub. The traveling foodie who loves to cuddle up with her husband until he begins snoring like Aslan, then prefers to evacuate. Perhaps travel partners who like each other plenty, but not quite enough to meet between the sheets: or maybe are not sure, might get between the sheets but would like the option not to. Depends how it goes. The pizza, the candlelight, the biodynamic Grenache. Furthermore, in (discounted!) combination with its huskier cousin (Cosy Room to the Table cognoscenti) it allows for groups of five to descend upon us and commandeer the entire second floor, like pirates. Touring string quintets, One Direction, Guns N’ Roses tribute bands. But there are seven of you? Jesus, The Pogues. Take the attic as well! And while you’re at it, whip us up a cappuccino, cover the pizza oven and bang out a couple of verses of Fairytale of New York!