The Steeple Times asks journalist and author Jessica Fellowes: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”
The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?
To learn from history – in all senses of the word – but listen to the needs of the present.
“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?
“No man lives by bread alone – he needs his bit of crumpet”.
Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2013?
Parking wardens. Although I’d love to be like the rich uncle of a friend of mine who, when asked whether he should put money in the meter, said: “Oh no. They have a marvelous system in London – they simply leave an invoice on your car”.
Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?
Although a freelance life is heaven in so many ways, I do miss the excitement and pace of working with a team and creating a weekly magazine (I worked for the Mail on Sunday’s ‘Night & Day’, then as deputy editor of Country Life before writing books).
What might you swap all your wealth for?
Not so much wealth as coins found down the back of the sofa… I’d like all my best friends living within a ten-mile radius.
Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?
Everyone forgot that what goes up must come down again. Also, there should be more women at the top – I don’t think it would have happened if there were. Unfortunately, the reason that women don’t occupy half the boardroom jobs is not simply down to sexism and I cannot see the solution… yet.
What phrase or word do you most loathe?
‘Moist buttocks’: Fortunately, one doesn’t hear it that often.
In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?
Remember to be charitable to those you love – often, it’s your family that gets the brunt of your frustrations and tiredness. MIND and Honeypot are my chosen causes.
The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?
Be polite, which is to say, use your common sense. I mind phones less than I do people who take incessant photographs without ever actually looking at the thing they’re aiming their lens on. Also, I detest the practice of being unknowingly tagged, usually looking red-eyed and hideous, on Facebook party photos.
If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?
Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Barack Obama, Consuelo Vanderbilt, Mervyn Peake, John F. Kennedy, HM The Queen. I’d just sit in the corner seat and eavesdrop.
If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?
A spicy Thai soup to start followed by lamb chops with minted peas, potatoes dauphinoise and roasted root vegetables, finished off with an outsized chocolate fondant. All accompanied by wines from the Italian Domodimonti vineyard. I’d eat it sitting on the balcony of the Hotel Danieli in Venice on a warm evening.
What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?
The English are the only people in the world to look at their watch before deciding when they’d like a drink. On Christmas Day, 10am is perfectly acceptable. On a Tuesday in March, perhaps less so.
A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?
Martini – dirty.
Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?
My husband’s – Simon Jacot de Boinod – he throws several a year and they are always huge fun, even when they’re for work.
Who is the most positive person you know?
My son, George, not yet three years old and unsullied by negativity and cynicism. It makes him great company.
What’s your most guilty pleasure?
No guilt attached to anything pleasurable and I’ll partake of pleasure often.
If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?
‘No’ tattoo sums me up better.
If you were a car, what marque would you be?
I don’t even know what a marque is. I’d be one of those embarrassing old cars with the wooden frames that midwives used to drive.
Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.
I love Cilla Black.
What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?
There’s no mantelpiece in the current house, which is kind of annoying – but it would be covered in party invitations. Mainly for my two-year-old son. Toddlers have the best social life.
Jessica Fellowes is a journalist and author. She has written for many titles including the Mail on Sunday, Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times and The Lady. Fellowes has published five books, the most recent of which include The World of Downton Abbey and The Chronicles of Downton Abbey.
View her website at: http://www.jessicafellowes.com