Spa Girl: Yin Yang Goolies
“Want one?” he asks, completely ignoring the fact that I’m laden down with bags from Selfridges and downs the remnants of his glass. “Isn’t it a bit early.” I suggest, to which he looks at his watch, grunts “past eleven,” and signals to the barman for another. Ever since he lost his job he’s been in a foul mood and has been drinking far too much. “Really Roger, can’t you wait until after the massage?” I protest. “After all that is the reason we here, so we can reconnect your Yin and Yang.”
The Langham has just opened a Chuan Spa, the first in Europe, which uses the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine to reconnect the Yin and Yang, the body’s two opposing, yet mutually dependant halves. “You may want to reconnect,” Roger retorts, looking across the road towards the entrance of Broadcasting House “but I’m waiting for that bastard blogger Peston to show his cowardly face.” I admonish him with my sternest, most disapproving face, which he ignores, rolls his eyes and pretends to study the pagodas that top the prodigious David Collins-designed bar.
Let me explain. When Tropical Storm Yasi failed to sufficiently destroy the western seaboard of Australia, the La Nina Prophecy formula that Roger had backed with vast sums of the Bank’s money, went spectacularly wrong. Not that this, in itself, would have been a problem. Normally the losses would have been off-loaded to some of the Bank’s less suspecting clients – “out sourcing your losses” was Roger’s expression. But someone in the office had anonymously twittered the BBC’s business editor, Robert Peston, who’d published it on his blog. Then the Bank got wind of it. Roger, despite being totally innocent, was made the fall guy. Not even a six-figure pay-off and offer of the exact same job in the Bank’s subsidiary in Chicago had been able to lift his mood. He’d spent the last six weeks in the rumpus room, drinking beer and throwing darts at a picture of Peston he’d stuck to the dartboard.
Obviously he was a critical case in need of urgent attention, so I called up S, whose husband had also suffered terribly after his bank had told him that his bonus would have to be “held over” until the “political landscape” calmed down a bit. S had suggested that we visit the Chuan Spa, as it had done wonders for her husband, who’d cheered up no-end, especially after his new Virage arrived.
Having managed to drag Roger away from the bar, we went downstairs to the Spa’s relaxation area where our therapists – I’d booked a Chuan balancing massage in the Couple’s Spa Suite after Roger’s unsavoury incident in Bangkok – gave each of us a card to select our favourite colour. Chuan therapy believes in balancing the five elements of Wu Xing: fire, earth, metal and wood, each of which is represented by a unique colour. Roger picked red, which represents Fire and governs our heart, small intestine, tongue, blood vessels, speech and is associated with feelings of joy, over-excitement and – most relevantly – mood swings. Isn’t it amazing what you can discover just by picking a colour? But clearly Roger wasn’t impressed, and inquired how long all this mumbo-jumbo was going to take as there was a Landau Martini with his name on it back in the bar. I told him not to be so rude, and fortunately, his therapist does exactly what I do when Roger is in one of his moods, and completely ignored him.
The massage is absolutely divine. Roger falls asleep as soon as the therapist lays his expert hands on him, snores for the next half-an-hour until woken to roll onto his back, and even he admits, as we make our way back to the Artesian, to feeling re-energised. “You know,” he says as we stroll into the mulberry and lilac oasis, hand in hand, “when you mentioned all that stuff about herbal teas, Yin and Yang, I thought it just another one of your fads, that is to say a complete load of bollocks. I fear I’ve been a bit of a fool haven’t I?”
“No my love,” I lie, “but you have to promise me no more sulking around downstairs throwing darts at that ghastly BBC business correspondent.” He laughs, takes me in his arms. “I promise you my love, there be no more mention of that fool,” pulling me towards him, but as our lips are about to meet he lets go and as I drop unceremoniously to the floor he strides towards the bar shouting, “Peston, you bastard!” SPA GIRL