Captain Moonlight: Net loss offers a window of opportunity

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The Independent Online
FRESH despatches from Norman Lamont's celebrated Notting Hill home. You will, of course, remember dreadful embarrassments over an exotic lady lodger in the basement; now it emerges that he does not draw his curtains of an evening, thus affording queuers at the bus stop opposite a floodlit display of Lamontine relaxation and other pursuits, like Mrs L doing the cooking.

Captain Moonlight has long observed on his eponymous nocturnal shuttles between saloons and salons that hardly anybody in London's choicer neighbourhoods bothers with their curtains. You can take your choice of splendid, silent cameos: animated dinner parties, authors of bons mots with forks raised and smirking while the rest of the table have their mouths wide open, presumably in guffaws at such a card; excerpts of marital discord, wife gesticulating with husband hunched in guilty mode; or, the Captain's favourite, a man asleep in front of the fire, mouth open, his belongings on contented display.

Notting Hill and Holland Park are very good for this particular peepshow; so embedded is it in the local instinct that one of the many grandes dames de lettres used to entertain beaux by naked window, until a passing beau's wife took exception. But the wealthy are also on show in Knightsbridge, Kensington and Chelsea. I also have reports from such outer reaches as Barnsbury and Hampstead. Very little south of the river, I'm told.

But why? Hero Swagge, the Captain's interior design correspondent, suggests that 'it's to do with shutters and ruches and drapes, and the simple fact that curtains, actually, look rather better undrawn. And if they're undrawn, dear, there won't be net curtains, because nets are for other people.' Ms Swagge's views, however, are completely unsupported by Min Hogg, editor of World of Interiors, who says that the only possible practical reason is that many houses have central heating radiators under the windows.

Ms Hogg thinks 'maybe they're just plain showing off'. Perhaps someone might care to tell the rest of us what it's all about: I will give a bottle of champagne - from Thresher, of course - and some Windolene for the most convincing explanation for non-drawing.