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Beyond Category

Alberto Pinto Table Settings

It always gives me great pleasure to share a gorgeous meal at home with friends, and I rely on a spectacular setting to elevate even my simplest of culinary creations.

Certainly a fine table setting is integral to the design of a beautiful dining room, and if you are seeking a bit of inspiration, or if you love the look of a well appointed table (like I do), then you’ll adore Alberto Pinto’s richly photographed book, Table Settings. In Pinto’s words, “welcoming friends and sharing happy moments with them around a table that has been imagined and decorated for their sole pleasure exemplifies the art of living and entertaining….” Needless to say, we here at WIJW are very much inclined to agree!

For my own setting, I’ve mixed malachite plates with a collection of Dodie Thayer lettuce ware, Baccarat crystal glasses, candle sticks, decanters and salt cellars, Ikat napkins, silver bamboo flat ware and vintage Christofle silver serving pieces. If you find yourself curious, and want to see our WIJW setting in context, have a look at the brilliant Tate Gunnerson’s blog, Strange Closets.

James Andrew's table setting. photo by Tate Gunnerson.

Here’s hoping this holiday season will find you sharing a meal with friends and loved ones, and of course enchanting them with your own beautiful table setting!


Nigel 1997 - 2010

My dear Nigel had been plagued by heart issues for some time, and despite the best of care, he took a turn for the worse this past week, and last Wednesday at 12:24 PM my beloved whippet passed away peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones.

This wonderful creature came into my life quite by chance as a possible companion to my whippet Rupert – the then one year old Nigel was in need of a good home, and it seemed Rupert took an immediate liking to him, so we took him in. After the shortest of trial periods, I was thoroughly won over by Nigel’s energy, and a sweetness that often belied a mischievous eye – the young boy, you see, did indeed have quite a propensity for naughtiness, and I can remember he kept me on my toes around the clock!

Over the years, Nigel blossomed into a beautiful, elegant, and dignified whippet – a constant companion, ready for an adventure, or simply for a snuggle.

I did my very best to give Nigel and Rupert charmed lives — I suppose there is some solace in that — and they, in turn, taught me so much about life and love. Alas, I do so miss their enthusiastic greeting now when I return home after a long day’s work.

I have been so blessed to have had the great gift of these remarkable creatures in my life, and they will forever live on in my heart and mind. I still feel their presence and rejoice in knowing that they will always be with me.

Rupert 1994-2010



Friday night my beloved Rupert, my little prince and constant companion, passed away in my arms at home, cradled in a nest of silk and velvet cushions and surrounded by the people who loved him dearly.

These magnificent creatures are such a glorious gift, but sadly they stay for an all too brief time. And so I make no apologies for having spoiled my friend terribly! I let him enjoy whatever I was eating, and lay wherever he wished; I dressed him in cashmere and camel hair, and took him almost everywhere with me.

Intelligent, and emotionally sensitive, he was the epitome of natural elegance. Although I already so deeply miss the comfort of his silky fur and his wonderful joie de vivre – I can still feel the glow of Rupert’s unconditional and everlasting love.

 My beautiful, beautiful boy.

My beautiful, beautiful boy.


Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.

Mary Elizabeth Frye

Many thanks to my dear friend Carolyn for bringing me this moving and fitting tribute to the transcendent nature of life.