I arrange to meet Juliet Mushens in London. I tell her what time my train gets into Kings Cross (allowing a seasoned engineer’s 25% margin of error). She suggests the Groucho Club. I am impressed.
Suit or dress? Twitter tells me that Juliet likes antique dresses and lindyhop. I have a flowery number with a stiff petticoat, but would I wear it to a business meeting? No. I check the weather forecast and chose a sweater dress. Shiny tights or opaque? Black or tan? Several changes of earrings later all that is left to worry about is shoes. Comfy enough to walk in, smart enough to show I can make an effort.
Sunny day. Clear and cold. My train is early. I walk to Soho. Good shoe choice. London is bright and grand, full of beautiful people and money. Not at all like Stockton-on-Tees. I spend time in Foyles, buy Jessie Burton’s Muse, start reading it, become hooked, and suddenly I’m going to be late.
Heart pounding, palms sweating, breath wheezing, chest hurting, I run to Dean Street. I take a wrong turn and stop at a shop to ask directions. I might be doing him an injustice, but the fetchingly attired young man rearranging cylindrical objects in the window does not appear to invite conversation. I don my reading glasses, check Google maps, recoil from the display of dildos and arrive 2 minutes early.
I go to the wrong door. When they send me away, I assume it is the shoes. Bad shoe choice. I open my mouth to protest that, despite my sensible footwear, I have been invited by a VERY IMPORTANT PERSON. Then I realise this is the hotel entrance, and the club is next door.
I sidle into a low ceilinged room, lit softly by an open fire, stuffed with velvet sofas, colourful throws and cushions. There is some confusion until we establish that I am not Juliet looking for Fiona, but Fiona looking for Juliet.
I could tell you more, but then I’d have to kill you.
What happens in Groucho Club, stays in Groucho Club.
The long and the short of it is that Juliet is warm and wise, enthusiastic and efficient, lively and lovely and formally offers representation.
I have already made up my mind. The moment I set eyes on her green shoes.