Sunday with Oliver Spencer: ‘I won’t get dressed up, Sundays are for loungewear'

How does Sunday start? With me stumbling down the stairs and falling over the dog on my way to make my wife a cup of tea. If I’m lucky, we’ll have escaped London to our coastal house on the Isle of Wight. The two of us will sit together and look across the water in silence.

It sounds serene… It is, until 8am when two or three of our boys bang on the door demanding breakfast. It’s bacon and eggs for them, spinach and mushrooms for us; then if the weather’s good, we kick the boys out. We’ll swim, paddleboard or take a walk around the beautiful Quarr Abbey, which looks like something straight out of Game of Thrones.

And during lockdown? For the first two weeks I was in total denial, I couldn’t believe my business was shut down. I distracted myself by obsessing about the life or death of my newly planted garden. Otherwise, I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen: intensely flavoured eel and shiitake broth and a double cream brioche have been my standouts.

Furry friend: Oliver Spencer’s dog.
Furry friend: Oliver Spencer’s dog.

How do you unwind? I won’t get dressed up, Sundays are for loungewear, half-cropped tracksuit bottoms and a white T-shirt. After a lunch of roast chicken, I’ll snooze with the papers on a deckchair in the garden. I try not to drink: it helps clear my head before Monday comes calling.

A Sunday that sticks out? After a long Saturday night at my sister-in-law’s 40th birthday party in New York, around midnight my heavily pregnant wife decided we’d better get going. She was determined to enjoy herself, telling people it was her third after all. We left the party and she went straight into labour.

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And Sunday night? By 7pm we’ve packed the car and have boarded the ferry to Portsmouth. A drive up the A3 and we’re back in London for the week: kids in bed, I walk the dog and have a bowl of cereal. I’m good with leaving the Isle of Wight to head back to the city, I know if I don’t, I can’t have a home there at all.


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