Sir David Tang, entrepreneur and founder of ICorrect, offers advice on questions about property, interiors – and modern manners for globetrotters
Where do you stand on bed styling? Do you favour the piled-on textured cushion and layered bedspread/throw look or something more minimal? I wonder if this trend is just a ruse to get me to part with more cash when simple linen would suffice.
My wife and I believe that our house is run for the sole comfort and convenience of our dogs. So we have a large throw over our bed specifically for our two puppies, a Westie and a Jack Russell, as well as our grandfather Westie who is nearly 16. There is hardly any room for cushions, which shouldn’t belong on a bed anyway. I particularly object to large square ones placed in a diamond shape as decorative pieces. They look phoney. Save your money and leave your bed alone with its linen, so that you can conveniently get into and out of it without having to “make it up” or “turn it down”, like a hotel room. Only pretentious people would go out to buy bedspreads, often vulgarly elaborate ones with the ghastly neo-classical Versace look, as if they need to cover them up to make the bedroom look “grander” or “neat and tidy” – not dissimilar to having an ugly cabinet made in order to hide a television set, which is pointless. These are moronic practices derived from the pathetic notion of hotel designers that a bedroom looks better without a bed or a television set. How contrived and impractical!
Do you find, as I do, that it’s always a bit of a chore attending some wedding or big birthday party far away so that one has to travel for a long time to get there and back, and have to change and pack overnight bags, etc etc?
You are right that it is often boring to have to attend to all the logistics in order to get to a big event which always seems to last too long. When I have to go to one of these dos in the country, I always try to hire a Winnebago or a large caravan so that I can completely relax while travelling to my destination, and then only change when I get there; and after the party, I get back in time to have a good nap, with the driver driving back home. This saves all the hassle of booking into some unsatisfactory hotel, and allows one to enjoy the luxury of waking up in one’s own bed, which is always comforting, not to mention safest.
What do you do when, as a foreigner, you are made to eat things you don’t like, as I have experienced at Chinese banquets with shark’s fins and sea cucumbers, as well as bird’s nest and snake? Is it always impolite to turn them away?
I have every sympathy for those who feel obliged to eat ethnic food they are not used to, out of consideration for the host. At a dinner with the Mongolian governor, I was made to endure yak meat, yak sauce, yak butter, and yak tea – all of which was absolutely “yak” to me. I braved my best manners and gobbled everything up with a big false smile that camouflaged a sense of acute nausea. But I was sick as a dog afterwards. By the time I got to Lhasa, where they served even more “yak this” and “yak that”, I totally abandoned my manners, and declared emphatically to my host that I could not stomach any of that yak stuff or else I would die from retching. In this age of environmental consciousness, you have ready excuses for not eating anything you don’t like. It is clearly politically correct to shun shark’s fins or bird’s nest or snakes. On snakes, I wished Adam and Eve could have been Chinese, for they would have eaten the one in the Garden of Eden, and our world would have been considerably less complicated.
I marvel at your breadth of knowledge. Our 18-year-old cat Elvira has recently started bringing onto our bed a toy-stuffed sock right after we’ve turned off the lights. This is preceded by a howling announcement, seemingly of the impending act. While I’ve asked her the meaning of this gesture, she won’t enlighten me so maybe you can.
I am not omniscient, and am impartial to cats. Now that T.S. Eliot is dead, you would have to ask Lord Lloyd-Webber.
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