A Walk in Belgravia with Orlando Murrin
A walk around the locations of Knife Skills for Beginners
Literary walks around bookish locations are what it’s all about! Why not have a wander around the locations found in Knife Skills for Beginners set in Belgravia shall we? Now THAT is a good place for a wander…
To enjoy a pleasant walk in Belgravia based on my book, take the Tube to Sloane Square.
Turn right outside the station and pass Colbert (the nearest you’ll get to a proper French brasserie in London), noticing on your left The Botanist, a bar with ‘too many mirrors’ in which the first scene of Knife Skills For Beginners is set.
Turn right, then right again into Bourne Street (where Paul gets his hair cut ‘among the duchesses and dowagers’, then right yet again into a little cul-de-sac known as Skinner Place.
Here is a real life hairdressers in that very street!
By this time you’ve come full circle, and are more or less standing at the site of Jubilee Cottage.
Listen for announcements on the District and Circle Line from the Tube station: Paul can hear them from his bedroom.
Now take an easy stroll along to Chester Square. If you see a gaggle of tourists en route, they’re probably on the Lord Lucan walk; in November 1974 the peer bludgeoned the family nanny to death in the basement of 46 Lower Belgrave Street and his wife fled to the Plumbers Arms at number 14 covered in blood.
The school is set on one of the junction of Chester Square and Eccleston Street. Though it’s not mentioned in the book, on this street you will find an excellent independent bookshop, Belgravia Books. (It’s also a highly esteemed publishing house.) I urge you to call in for a browse, and to ask the friendly staff to recommend you something new.
A central scene in my book sees Paul Delamare escape to Elizabeth Street to grab a much-deserved bacon sarnie. This is a fabulous street for browsing and snacking.
Check out Jereboams (wine), Walden Chymist (old fashioned pharmacy), Bayley and Sage (deli), Mungo and Maud (cat and dog outfitters), Peggy Porschen (cupcakes), Moyses Stevens (florist) and grab a coffee at TomTom; I think you will recognise all these if you keep your eyes peeled as you read.
(BT – Oh just look how cute this Tom Tom is!!)
My absolute don’t-miss, however, is Les Senteurs, an independent shop selling fragrances from round the world; this is where Paul poignantly buys his late partner’s fragrance, ‘Après un Rêve’. (The scent is, alas, imaginary but the shop’s olfactory experts will direct you to something similar.)
Now that is quite the tour of Belgravia is it not?
Thank you Orlando – and readers – be sure to do the trail as you will be very scenty and very well fed!