I love having a cappuccino in a swanky hotel while sitting on a fabulous sofa. It is a small luxury and, though I have quite a number of middle-aged hippy tendencies, the palpable sense of riches is somehow comforting. In such an atmosphere it is easy to imagine that a respectfully besuited man might at any minute approach and announce that one’s Learjet is ready for take off. Perhaps dinner in Barcelona beckons, and one will have a champagne lunch on board.
If lunches in Barcelona were a weekly event I might, of course, grow somewhat weary of them. The array of choices would require great discretion. Would Paris be preferable? Or Palm Beach for the weekend? Maintenance of a Learjet must also have its complications. However, unencumbered by these decisions, my sojourn in luxurious surroundings is restful. In swish establishments my cappuccino arrives in fine bone china cups with small and crunchy Italian biscuits. I can make my cappuccino last for a very long time.
Sometimes I browse through the collection of newspapers available on tasteful antique tables. And I occasionally eavesdrop discreetly on serious money conversations conducted by people who are actually staying in the pampered rooms. I imbibe the extravagant atmosphere of their requirements. I feel like a millionaire, but I do not need to ponder on my millions and how I got them…whether I was ruthless in their acquisition, roared at secretaries, paid low wages or was an exemplary entrepreneur. I have simply needed to buy a cappuccino and let my imagination roam.
One hotel I occasionally frequent has a magnificent art collection. I admire the paintings in a leisurely manner …enjoying the artistic intimacy the informal atmosphere bestows. Since no-one has come to announce that my Learjet is awaiting, I eventually leave the hotel. Dinner will probably be home cooked, not eaten from gleaming plates resting on pristine white linen. But buying some exotic sauce can add a dash of panache to the plainest cuisines. For small luxuries are many and varied and sometimes savouring a 99 ice cream while strolling on a beach can feel as delicious as any Michelin starred dessert.
Yes, that is the great thing about small luxuries. They rarely stretch the budget. And sometimes they can feel very big indeed.
(Re-shared with the kind permission of RTE Lyric FM.)