I love letters. I don’t mean letters you get in the post, although sometimes I love those too, as long as they come with kisses and not with threats.
No. I mean letters of the alphabet. I am crazy about their shapes, and the fact that they can be purposeful and pretty. I get excited about fonts, which is, I know, quite sad. But very handy when I used to work in marketing, and you were required to spend hours debating the merits of Garamond versus Bookman Old Style. As a teenager I decided I did not like my handwriting and trained myself to write ‘a’s that look like this ‘a’ instead of the one we used at school. I also changed my t’s to look like this ‘t’ instead of a stick and a cross. Nobody but me noticed, but I was entirely satisfied.
Now I kind of collect letters. Not obsessively, but I am always on the look out for something nice. We have the first letters of our names on the kitchen wall, like so:
I have bookend letters:
and I have some small wooden block letters that came out of an old printing press. I tried to take a photo, but they look like dog biscuits.
When I was in London on Sunday with Andrea, we were early, for once in our lives, and took a walk along the Thames path, up past the National and Gabriel’s Wharf and had a mooch around the back of the Oxo Tower. I did not take a picture of the front of the Oxo Tower building, which is all shiny and done up. Nor did I take a picture of the tower itself. Mainly because I couldn’t get far enough back to get it all in without falling off something and killing myself. I have borrowed this picture, ahem:
If you haven’t been, I recommend it. There are art galleries and little design shops on the bottom floors, the middle bits are flats for the wealthy and childless, and the top is a restaurant. The food is divine. The views are unbelievably wonderful, showing the Thames and all the amazing buildings that line its banks. There are two restaurants actually, one for more formal dining, one for quick lunches, drinks etc. Both are owned by Harvey Nichols, and they are both delicious.
It is, amazingly, called the Oxo tower, because the word Oxo is spelled out in the glass on top of the tower. It used to be a warehouse, presumably storing Oxo (a gravy making stock cube product. mmmm), when the Thames was actually a river where commerce and shipping took place, instead of commerce and shopping.
Anyway. It has letters on it. I like that. It has good food. I like that. It is in an old warehouse. I like that too. Here is my impression of the back:
Going through into the middle courtyard to visit one of the galleries we found this:
a rainbow ampersand.
I want it. I want it badly.
I resisted the urge to try and lug it home. The cloak room staff at the National might have had a bit of trouble with it, and Andrea’s car’s sun roof is broken.
I may have to go back for it though.
I love it.