As you can imagine, I left the building emotionally drained, so I reasoned that I probably deserved lunch at Harvey Nichols. I had the papers for company, but I couldn't really concentrate, since the people-watching is so compulsive at HN. Half an hour simply slid away while I was waiting for one Sophia Loren-alike's forehead to move. Is that swarthy, sunsoaked, vest-wearing twentysomething her hired lover? Her gay tennis coach? Her metrosexual stylist? Or d) all of the above? Is that Rita Tushingham or just a posh Cheshire housewife on a weekender?
I wondered if anyone was doing the same to me. Why is that woman dining alone? Has she been stood up? I like her shoes. But why is she so incredibly pale? And then I looked down at my bare arms and noticed the localised chafing caused by carrying a WH Smith bag (a very inferior plastic bag – you could say it's a worthy green incentive, yet they have always been useless) weighed down by Sunday broadsheets and their rainbow family of supplements. And I realised that what they were probably thinking, if anything, was that I had been self-harming.
'Poor girl. And the waiter just left the knife on the table. Right in front of her.'
And one more thing – while I knew Harvey Nichols was not positioned right on the serrated blade of the cutting edge, I was still surprised to hear The Power Of Love by Jennifer Rush power-balladeering its way across the cafe. Mary Portas would not stand for that, surely?