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The School of Flaunt

Back when "Flying Was Fun" Alexandra Smythe and Cate Clarke were Flight Attendants with a Major International Carrier. Prior to Private Jets coming into vogue, Alexandra and Cate traveled in the First Class World, meeting and greeting the top celebrities, politicians who would become Presidents, nouveau riche, and yes the occasional Headline Grabbing Criminal in Handcuffs!

What the two ladies viewed and experienced became fodder for the School of Flaunt, so much money, such bad taste and oh those terrible manners. Something had to be done! Hence, The School of Flaunt Handbook was born. Read More

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Letter From James Swan

Category: Guest Writers  |  Permalink

Published: Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Connaught

Carlos Place

London W1K 2AL, United Kingdom

Dearest Smythe and Clarke,

London is lovely as always. A wee bit of rain broken up by the most pleasant human beings on the planet; one can't complain without feeling that you've insulted a nation!

I've just finished luncheon with Charles and Bunny Broughton. They send their very best and insist you call when you're next in town. Their new townhouse is a charmer; I'm sure you've had the "tour" so I'll save my "Oh's" and "Ah's" till we're face to face, cocktails in hand. But maybe just a snippet of a comment on Bunnies insistence on populating those glorious rooms with her sad collection of world weary potted plants. Honestly, you'd think the woman actually had a green thumb from the number of these sad specimens! It must have been those long months living in California (one never does recover from all that sun) for I've never understood Bunnies determination to "bring the outdoors in." Invariably the beauty is lost in translation leaving one's home populated by scraggy, ill-potted, lifeless limbs screaming for the compost pile. Not to say that the desire to fill a lonely corner with a stunning botanical specimen is an erroneous one, but, if you ask me, the rub falls into one of the following categories (yes, Dear Ones, I've gone and climbed upon my soapbox):

* The Scale. Nothing gets swallowed by space with same speed and consistency as do potted plants. That "tree" that seemed expansive when you shoe-horned it into the back of your Jaguar suddenly looks like a twig-in-a-thimble when dropped next to a window or fireplace. Who knew? If one is determined to live in a jungle I suppose you'd know you have the scale right when four strapping, sweaty delivery men are required to haul the tree off a flat-bed truck. Don't kid yourself Kittens. Size matters.

* The Container. If you've prevailed in the purchase of a mighty sequoia (or a merely magnificent fichus) with all your might resist the inclination to thoughtlessly "pick-up" an ugly plastic container. Much like a good shoe, a container will make or break the entire ensemble.

* The Care. As with many items around the house proper care enhances and extends the life and enjoyment of prized possessions. Think of all the hard work you darlings have put into your husband's. Would you leave either of those helpless creatures parched for days on end, lacking proper cleaning and feeding? Would you allow those spindly branches to feebly reach upwards without benefit of your caring and nurturing touch? Well, maybe so, but that's not the point. Plants need your care. They need it daily. They will die abruptly and pitifully -- a haunting testimony to your less than mediocre attentions. And unlike your dear hubbies who can stumble around for quite awhile without your doting; these little snippets of Mama Nature are toast without you.

Truth be told, my Dear Ones, other than the plants the house was simply lovely. Suppose I must add this to my little list of "Things I Hate"? Shocking how long that list has grown!

Must dash and change; the cocktail hour approaches. Trust the 'School' is flourishing under your wise guidance!

Hugs and kisses

James

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