By Kate Williams.
First I thought of Featherweight Kate, but I bruise too easily and was never much cop with a skipping rope. Real Estate Kate was out too; I just don’t have it in me to be that dishonest. I’m too clumsy for Rollerskate Kate, and while I like the sound of Magnate Kate but I’m lacking the gravitas and Donald Trump hair.
Inmate Kate is no good because horizontal stripes do nothing for me. Running Mate Kate would be cool but Obama is sorted on that front. My gender politics make Gyrate Kate a problematic choice. Same for Playmate Kate. I find parrots too creepy to become Pieces of Eight Kate and we don’t need to go into why Prostate Kate is a nonstarter. Which leaves me a bit stuck.
You see; I have a new theory. To be truly happy you have to dedicate your life to something that rhymes with your first name. And if you think that sounds like nonsense then you haven’t met Champagne Jayne.
Flute Bar and Lounge on Great Portland Street hosted by Champagne Jayne. I’d never been to the bar before; actually, I’d never noticed the bar before, though I must have walked past it countless times probably on my way to bargain eatery Vapiano.
Flute is intimate but not boxy, and has lots of private booths, and behind the bar cocktail bar men mixed expensive looking drinks. But there wasn’t time to look around for long. Behind a curtained area at the back of the bar, and exclusive class was taking place, lead by the aforementioned Champagne Jayne.
Real name Jayne Powell is an award-winning Champagne educator and was as bubbly, blonde and cheering as her name suggests. She warmly greeted everyone with a smacker on both cheeks before unceremoniously standing on a stool to talk us through each glass of fizz with an effervescent passion.
This is a lady who loves her job. Hardly surprising, it has to be up there with chocolate taster and bed tester as a dream vocation. And she knows her stuff when it comes to bubbles and was keen to share, beginning with how she fell in love with champers as a teenager on an exchange trip to France. Each wine that followed came with an engaging and vivid history from Jayne, some even in a spattering of impressive French.
And with each flute quaffed, the staff at, err, Flute delivered what Jayne told us were perfectly matched canapés, including mushroom crostini and frites seasoned with truffle salt (aka chips) (not that I’m complaining).
I left a little more light-headed and with a whole bunch of new words to talk about the bubbly stuff, along with my usual fall-back options: fizzy, and another-glass-of. The masterclass lasted just over two hours, but I have the feeling that Jayne could have gone on for much longer, and no one there would have objected. There is something so charming about listening to someone who loves what he or she does. In fact, it made me a bit envious.
So, back to the task at hand. Cremate Kate? Lie-in-wait Kate? Empire State Kate? Too creepy. Too impatient. Too short. This is going nowhere. If only Mum had named me Bastronaut.