other places, other times and letters sent c/o Thomas Cook.


we had a moment in our day yesterday after a Tres Chic lunch under the trees somewhere over there, in the Valley, sort of, awfully near where movies-are-made (or at least Meetings-are-had-to-Plan-and-budget-them – we understand they are usually shot in Toronto or Torrance) when we found ourselves (quelle bliss) in a vintage bookshop.

now as you know – we adore a bookshop.

we prefer a bookshop with bargains (alas, so few of those left) or at least some well-preserved orange-spine-Penguins or a subtle shelf of whimsy.

which we found.


a loved-and-reassuringly-read edition of Stephen Spender’s letters to Isherwood.

curious how pleading some of the letters were – a young acolyte yearning for validation (how horribly we Relate as they say in California).

and then – later – as Spender’s own work grew and his love affairs turned to naught – the letters become cold and distant and rather “Fine! You keep Berlin! I’ll go Elsewhere!”.

they all loved and were entwined with each other in a way that we have not observed since our own days at University – tis strange how these men of letters and privilege lived as though the Quad were somehow nearby and Rules Applied and all of that nonsense. Which in those days, was not Nonsense but how one gained acceptance or rebelled (and thus was accepted by the rebellious, fled for warmer climes like Santa Monica).

viewer-2This letter was one of many in a similar vein – longing, loss, and how to get by without an inheritance (we relate, once more) and yet look at the address: c/o Thomas Cook Barcelona.


Imagine clipping on one’s shades on top of reading glasses and a large brimmed hat and an overcoat (it might get chilly later when one Dines With Maugham) and taking a stroll to Messrs. Thomas Cook to pick up one’s Post.



We could do this, of course.

There are still Postal Services (or mailbox companies) dotted around Sunset Strip here in California. We hear there are others but we particularly noticed the white single storey bungalows as they off-set themselves so well on the Strip with all those houses clinging to the Hollywood Hills above dotted with citrus trees and broken dreams.

but Thomas Cook, Barcelona (or Berlin, or Paris, or Vienna for that matter) circa 1930-something.

One can dream.

we have our own adventures, of course – and this is where we store them in the Physical Realm.

Moleskine #147 if you’re curious, awaiting its debut on the Left (actually, it’s a Leuchtturm1917 – the art supply store was all out of plain moleskines) and what-happens-after-a-month of notes, dreams, panic, pain, giggles and Plans on the right (#146).

and twilight brings up so many stories and ideas and moments of longing and glimpses of a glittering future. 

back on the subject of Spender – we’ve been looking at pictures of writers from that era of tweeds and pocket squares and notebooks and pencils and letters-left-at-Thomas-Cook because we’re going to be taking a portrait of George Snyder in a few days.

any suggestions of Links to Inspire most welcomed – this is one of our favo(u)rite ways to prepare for portraits – we love homework – or Prep as they used to call it back in the Boarding School days – *whimsicallookintothedistance*, darlings.

Isn’t life delicious?



8 thoughts on “other places, other times and letters sent c/o Thomas Cook.

  1. If you haven’t seen it already, there is a wonderful documentary about Isherwood and his long time, and much much younger partner. I think it is called Chris and Don. I think you might particularly appreciate it given your recent move to LA.

  2. That image of twilight does indeed bring up moments of longing and glimpses of a glittering future. It gives on the feeling that anything (and everything magical may happen…

    1. we walked home from a friend’s house this evening, D, and stopped to look up at the sky which was full of stars.

      someone was walking towards us and looked up too.

      STARS! they said.

      oh yes, we said, Lots of Them.

      pretty sure they hadn’t noticed before.


      LA has Lots of stars.

  3. can’t wait to see the portrait of mr. snyder and also… yes yes yes!!!! i do love twilights too (although i haven’t seen such a beautiful sunset here since, uuuummmm, maybe last summer.)
    and also, i do feel those moments of ideas and glimpses and especially longings. even without a proper twilight-y scene.
    can’t wait to be there…. in LA ;)
    sending love from berlin’s melancholic greyness*

    1. Oh. Yes. Growing up in England we remember the Terminally Grey-ness/………….

      Will IG more sunshine tomorrow.

      Hang in there. In a few months you will Be Here!

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