8 NOVEMBER 2003, Page 65


by Mrs Moneypenny

One evening, many Augusts ago, I spent an unforgettable evening with a remarkable man. Academically, intellectually and commercially he was leagues ahead of me: he had already achieved everything I had ever aspired to. He also had very beautiful eyes.

I arrived at the restaurant a little late and desperate to impress, but walking slightly oddly in an attempt to cover up my laddered tights. He was already there. He stood up as I sat down (as fast as I could to get my legs under the table and out of sight). Would I like a drink? I explained that in general I drink only champagne. Before, during and after dinner. No problem, he said, and summoned the sommelier. I didn't listen to their conversation — too busy surreptitiously checking how far the ladder had run under the table — so it wasn't until the champagne arrived that I realised that for the first time in my life I was going to drink Krug. Two bottles of it as A turned out. This man really was something special.

Sadly he didn't think quite the same of me. We have never had dinner again. But that evening was still the start of a love affair that I intend to continue for the rest of my life. It might have started with the Grande Cuvee, but like all enduring love affairs it has benefited from variety, both in terms of vintage and location — The Dorchester, The Ritz, The Pavilion in Finsbury Circus....