Here we are again: the first day of another lockdown. I’ve been making a to-do list all day, which is identical to the one I made last time, because I failed to do any of it. The weather was so glorious that all I did was manual labour in the garden. I planted, cleared, pruned and mowed from dawn until dusk, which meant I could consume thousands of calories a day without gaining an ounce. It was heavenly and I developed an ongoing passion for Magnum Minis. This time, I am only allowing myself an hour a day in the garden until I have ticked off my dreary list, which includes clearing the attic, tidying the junk under my bed and throwing away odd socks.
An occupational hazard of owning a beachwear company is frequently having to travel to exotic beaches to shoot campaigns and social media content. Fear not, I don’t expect sympathy. I am a bit stuck as I was about to fly to sunnier climes to shoot and now I can’t. I have a rack full of bikinis staring balefully at me and nowhere to shoot them apart from a muddy field.
I am a terrible ditherer when it comes to hanging art and have stacks of pictures and artefacts lying around waiting for their moment to shine. I do have a weakness for religious art and novels (my favourite include Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair). About 15 years ago, I bought a beautiful, 16th-century, carved Spanish crucifix. I loved it so much that I could never decide where to hang it as nowhere seemed suitably special: too sinister above my bed and too frivolous anywhere else. I finally found the perfect place on Christmas Eve, and it is now nestled in an archway and looks like it has always been there. It lifts my spirits immeasurably.
I was lucky enough to make a couple of movies after the last lockdown. The first movie I shot was in York. I’d worked with the producer a few years ago on a movie with Gerard Depardieu in Chechnya. Needless to say, York was slightly less hair raising in that I didn’t travel to set with a rifle on my lap and hand grenades in the cupholders. I said yes to the part almost before I read it, because two of the world’s funniest men, John Cleese and Kelsey Grammar, were to play my uncle and father. I’ve had fan-crushes on both of them for years. All the crew wore masks so to this day I wouldn’t recognise any of them.
Next was Latvia for a few months to shoot a horror film based on the Pied Piper. Due to my lifelong rodent phobia, this was nearly a non-starter until it was written in my contract that all rats would be computer generated and I wouldn’t ever be in the same room as one. I was persuaded to do a scene where I bash a fluffy, fake one with a broom, which I relished. I know Latvia has wonderful churches, including four Catholic cathedrals, but alas we weren’t allowed off the set to do any “church crawling”, as John Betjeman used to describe church visits.
I have just finished Leonard Lauder’s autobiography The Company I Keep and recommend it. We follow Leonard as a toddler in the 1930s, as he watched his mother, Estée Lauder, cook up the initial products on their kitchen stove, and find out how he built a multi-billion-dollar empire. For anyone who has ever bought a pot of face cream or wants to learn business acumen from a master, it’s a must.
I dress like a ninja every time I leave the house for the supermarket and, in between sorting my sock drawer, feel inspired this lockdown to get super fit. While in Latvia I reignited my Bruce Lee obsession and re-watched all his movies and hours of him fighting on YouTube. I’ve been practicing kung fu in front of the mirror ever since and am ready to move on to a live opponent. My choice is limited to two shielding octogenarians, my sister (with a prolapsed disc) or my long-suffering teenage son. Hide, child, hide.
Photo: Elizabeth Hurley speaks during the Breast Cancer Research Foundation Virtual Hot Pink Evening on May 20, 2020. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for Breast Cancer Research Foundation)