Last Saturday marked the first of a possibly annual event – as the refined airs of Jermyn Street were crowded with visitors sampling free food and drink as the shops sealed off the road for the afternoon.

Sounded like fun so I wandered over and met a friend who shares my indulgences for the finer things in life (although neither of us has the wallet to support our hobby).

A slice of smoked salmon from the Ritz? Why not – although it was just help yourself and use a paper napkin. However the napkin was branded with The Ritz crest, so that’s all right then.

Please provide your name and address to win a dinner, or was it tea – anyway, something at the Hotel was being offered. Past the Rolls Royce which people were peering inside in curiosity at how the VIPs will arrive in London and past the musicians playing next to the statue of Beau Brummell.

More queues – one for Pimms and one for hog roast. Oh, why not go for the Pimms first. More names and addresses swapped for a small, but suspiciously strong Pimms. Hic!

Next was a lesson in how to make the perfect Martini – and I learnt that James Bond’s famous Vodka Martini, shaken not stirred was a brash invention of the author to make the character stand out at a bar where Martinis are always stirred. In essence, James Bond is behaving a bit like a cad, which is probably not how most of us think¬† of the character.

Also, no olives in an English Martini thank you very much!

Food time – off to join the lengthy hog roast queue. Sorry, we’ve just run out. Oh.

Despite a fairly large percentage of the people milling around the street being the sort you probably expect for the area, the allure of free food and drink affects them as much as it does the rest of us.

A shirt shop was plying visitors with glasses of champagne and seemed to be doing a brisk trade. Not sure if the shirts were purchased for need, or out of guilt by the shoppers who didn’t want to leave the shop with empty glass, and empty handed.

A few more goodies then off to find coffee. The Cafe Nero in the church next to the street was rammed full, so we crossed over Picadilly to another branch, which was nearly empty. Not sure if that was an aberration, but if it is normal for that branch to be so empty on a Saturday afternoon, I may have found that rarest of coffee shops – one where I have a decent chance of getting a seat!

A nice end to a nice afternoon.

Obviously, it was a publicity event for the shops, but it was a rather nice one to stroll down.

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