a dainty morning moment at The Marguerite and other #whitstable seaside delights

darlings

we returned to Whitstable (rather) Late last night, courtesy of British Airways, Southern Railways and a nice East End cabbie called Mr. Macbeef (who was not flummoxed at All by the marathon shutting down the road to Victoria and did a swift detour to Kings Cross St Pancras), all the way from Ibiza (via Deia) and will be leaving for Los Angeles tomorrow.

good lord.

Quite a travel Schedule and no mistake.

but we took the time this morning to Drop in on Sophie at The Marguerite and it was a delicious visit indeed.

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The Marguerite is a delightful spot to linger and dream while sitting at the wooden table, gazing out to sea (or down at one’s manuscript which is slowly shaping up to be a rather interesting novel), the sky-blue kettle almost at the boil, cups ready for tea, ice cold milk in a jug and perhaps one of Sophie’s handmade Hampers waiting to be delved into when the next page is written and spell-checked and set aside.

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Sophie (much like who-we-are-in-RL) had a big fancy job (in Fashion) and decided to step off the ladder at the top and Do Something Else with her life. Part of this is The Marguerite – the rest we shall tell you about when we are given permission.

Yes.

That’s Sophie in the picture above.

What’s that?

Ah.

Yes.

An excellent question.

That’s Dave.

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Dave has his own Instagram account (shared with elder sibling-of-choice Dominic)

*listens*

another excellent question.

The Marguerite (beach hut) got its name because Sophie found this portrait (see below) in a local vintage shop.

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we did a little searching (you knew we would) and found that Miss Marguerite Ismay, *might* well have been the same young thing who appeared On Stage as a dancer – even as far afield as Australia in 1911 (can you imagine the journey in those days? who-we-are-in-RL and her Travels pale in comparison).

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after a lovely tramp across the pebbles and the brisk air filling our lungs, we took a turn around the Town once more to top up our Britishness (required at six month intervals to keep the Vocab up to scratch) and generally engender a sense of well-being in the soul.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAisn’t it pretty here?

so glad that William decided to move out of London and settle down in the Kentish Coast.

it’s delicious to have friends-we-have-known-for-years with seaside houses.

and new-friends-with-beach-huts, of course.

that really is extra special and no mistake.

 

27 hours in ibiza, darlings

hola!

we’re about to Fly out again – this time – back to England – then the USA on tuesday……but first, while we have a few moments on the free wifi at the airport – here’s the last 27 hours in ibiza – and wasn’t it divine!

sadly (or rather excitingly, depending on your Opinion), we can’t tell you Where we were (we actually don’t know – there was a driver at the airport with a card and we just slipped into the motor), or Who we were with (because we promised we would not) or what we did – actually we can tell you That – a digital check-up, reading tales to a small person about dinosaurs, talking about school uniforms with other younger (but not quiet as small) people and generally feeling lovely and inspired and helpful and grateful for such Luxury and Beauty all around…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA bd7ad452c28511e3b5da0002c9e179ae_8 b5809558c25211e397bd0002c9549ee0_8

 

the spirit of mr. robert graves lives here still.

darlings

deia is glorious.

and we thought you’d enjoy these pictures we took today with some words from Mr. Robert Graves, who lived here and was Most Productive.

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A Pinch of Salt

When a dream is born in you
With a sudden clamorous pain,
When you know the dream is true
And lovely, with no flaw nor stain,
O then, be careful, or with sudden clutch
You’ll hurt the delicate thing you prize so much.

Dreams are like a bird that mocks,
Flirting the feathers of his tail.
When you seize at the salt-box,
Over the hedge you’ll see him sail.
Old birds are neither caught with salt nor chaff:
They watch you from the apple bough and laugh.

Poet, never chase the dream.
Laugh yourself, and turn away.
Mask your hunger; let it seem
Small matter if he come or stay;
But when he nestles in your hand at last,
Close up your fingers tight and hold him fast.

Robert Graves

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Morning Phœnix

In my body lives a flame,
Flame that burns me all the day;
When a fierce sun does the same,
I am charred away.

Who could keep a smiling wit,
Roasted so in heart and hide,
Turning on the sun’s red spit,
Scorched by love inside?

Caves I long for and cold rocks,
Minnow-peopled country brooks,
Blundering gales of Equinox,
Sunless valley-nooks,

Daily so I might restore
Calcined heart and shrivelled skin,
A morning phœnix with proud roar
Kindled new within.

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and here is a splendid interview with Mr. R. Graves from the summer of 1969 (a very fine year) with the clever editors at Paris Review – he sounds like a Most Complicated human being (we can relate). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the houses are magnificent and redolent of lazy afternoons under palms with a tray for tea on its way and a novel half-read abandoned on the lawn. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

while the sun is high in the sky one walks and discusses Deep Things and then, as the night draws in, the twinkle lights come on and the sky is flush with stars, a small terrace (alas a small amount of rain but no matter), a late supper, tea at the farmhouse table and Talk of the future – or not – just dreams – or visions – with plans – or nots – or silent because One Really is not Sure. Just right now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthere is a curious comfort reading an Author in the land in which they lived.

particularly when one sees the vast mountain ranges and That view down to the water and the gnarled olive trees and the scent of lavender on the breeze.

back to Mr. Robert Graves: 

INTERVIEWER

How many books have you published?

GRAVES

One hundred and twenty-one—but many of those are revised collections. Then I’ve written books for other people.

INTERVIEWER

Why have you done that?

GRAVES

Because they had something to say, and they couldn’t write it down.

that’s what who-we-are-are-RL has been doing for the past 24 hours – helping people who have something to say but did not have the (digital skills) to write it o u t.

which is nice.

and helpful.

now we go to Ibiza to do the same all over again.

it’s a lovely way to t r a v e l, darlings.

even if it’s the last time we do something like this before we do something else.

which, of course, makes it all the sweeter.

 

splendid kentish seafronts and british back gardens

darlings

we are feeling MOST restored by a mini break by the seaside!

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and especially calmed by a morning in the Essex Street Pleasure Gardens over at William’s house – with a visit over the fence by Burt and Dottie – and a cheery wave from the clever landscape designer and his trusty mate from next door as they dropped by to pick up some fencing parts (for an actual fence – not a Duel at Dawn – it’s not that sort of a seaside Town, at least not for the past hundred years).

Pictures?

you didn’t even have to ask, love.

here we go…

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this is the view from the top of the house in the Herne Bay Suite – and lovely it is too. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

here is the Essex Street Pleasure Gardens in all its springtime glory (note grecian blue shed – a lovely touch).

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a walk to the shops; an armful of english newspapers and a pot of tea enlivened the spirit still further and calmed the nerves.
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this is Dottie (on the left, not the daises, those are called Marguerite).

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this is Burt (who appears to be wrinkling up his nose in some anticipation of his tea). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwhile this is William (reading the Guardian and being very intellectual and Thoughtful – mainly because there are few funny bits in the Guardian).

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and this is a poster advertising the vintage delights of Herne Bay – it’s just down the Coast – not far at all – and a gorgeous drive in the bright Kentish sunshine – and so we did Just that shortish and most delightful drive after a (light) lunch. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhere it is – Herne Bay itself!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwith a Cerulean blue sea. 

*exhales*

before we leave you (metaphorically) in Herne Bay…..we thought we might introduce you to one of its famous Lady Authors: Miss Evelyn Whitaker, who was born There in 1844.

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pg30366.cover.mediumher work is Most Charming – and – due to the magic of the interweb – much of it has now been “digitized” and is available to read on a new-fangled device – thus allowing Miss Evelyn Whitaker – who remained anonymous much of her life, asking her publisher to keep her identity secret – to reach forward through time and sit with us while we enjoy her Tales of the past.

a little snippet?

Mr Clifford the vicar was accounted very lucky by the neighbouring clergy for having such a man, and not being exposed to all the vagaries of a young schoolmaster, or, perhaps, still worse, schoolmistress, with all the latest musical fancies of the training colleges. Neither had he to grapple with the tyranny of the leading bass nor the conceit and touchiness that seems inseparable from the tenor voice, since Mr Robins kept a firm and sensible hand on the reins, and drove that generally unmanageable team, a village choir, with the greatest discretion.

sly undertones of Austen-esque social commentary, non?

very Kentish Coast.

as Burt would say – if Burt could make his thoughts known.

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actually, Burt probably can.

he’s that sort of a smart Kentish cat you see.

tomorrow?

*lookstocamera*

oh.

*said_airily*

another Airport – and another Island.

we’ll see you late Thursday evening from a new Location.

delicious.

in the meantime (*happy_smile*) – COSMOPOLITAN picked our book as (one of) their pick of the week (if you’re feeling depressed)!

CosmoReview

 

reading poetry in cafes, sea breezes and spirits lifted in #whitstable

darlings

due to some last minute Decisions regarding not-feeling-well-at-all we Took a Train from Victoria Station last night (bought a refreshing cup of tea from the man on the trolley who made his way from First Class to the front carriage: milk-no-sugar-please-gosh-no-no-biscuit-thanks-ever-so-much) and some hours later………..arrived at the Coast.

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the seaside air cures all.

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and after a blissful full night’s sleep for the first time in *sighs* Five Days (not fun), we are slowly feeling better. a few sniffles. the tiny bit of dispirited-ness is Lifting, at last.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAas dusk fell on the town of Whitstable we walked with lovely William (he lives not far off the beach road and just a short walk from the Railway Station – long enough to have a proper conversation while the Samsonite was wheeled ahead and the bags of groceries fitted nearly in the crook of one’s arm) – and everything started to fall into place again.

especially when – as you can see – the First thing we saw as we took a Stroll Down the High Street this morning – was a BOOKSHOP.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

as befitting a british bookshop – Brian – one of the owners – who was there on the till (cash register for our American friends – and we did have a lovely chat) – there was a Large Selection (well-curated) of vintage finds, local authors and a whole shelf full of Mr. Maugham. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the Trouble with Mr. Maugham is that his famous book “Cakes & Ale” is actually a Satire (which the British do very well – but it is usually prefaced by the word Biting and it most certainly would be Here) – of, well, Whitstable.

our friend Karyn from A Penguin A Week has the full exposition of the controversy here.  

but that does not deter the good folks of Whitstable for re-claiming its prodigal son in the upcoming Literary Festival (oh dear, we would LOVED to have stayed for this but we are needed – hopefully – back in the USA by then to start a new “gig”).

Especially sad to miss this as we’d be Thrilled to see Miss Selina Hastings do her talk on Mr. Maugham and his somewhat turbulent love life and literary leanings.

gosh! Ms. Lynn Barber is Also speaking at the Literary Festival – about her new book (*makes_note_with_pencil* of new book title)

now back to Oxford Books (so named because tis on Oxford Street, Whitstable, you see)

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAalways so splendid to see a shelf of Mr. H. E. Bates

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and some very teamgloria style Books for (be-bobbed and brave and british) Girls.

what did we Buy?

Something we have bought too many times to count in secondhand bookshops before – as we like to read it in cafes and then give to friends (often young people who are in need of poetry as it happens).  
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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfor more about the Mersey Sound and the poets Mr. McGough, Henri and Patten – there’s a lovely piece here from G. Cordon who knows his stuff. 

Then – after lunch (a simple yet nourishing meal at the Whitstable Coffee Company where we shamelessly eavesdropped on two friends of an uncertain age having a gossip because it was fascinating and useful for future novels) – we took a blustery turn by the seafront to blow the cobwebs from the brain and tousle the freshly washed hair. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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now – don’t you find small towns always have such interesting Libraries?

*looktocamera4*

Whitstable’s is a tiny bit disappointingly modern (but re-worked for the community so we shan’t complain – but we had hoped for Mullioned Windows and there were none – hence no photographs). 
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but this gave us Pause.

thanks to mr. google(.co.uk) – we are able to share with you some details about Joan’s life – as it was glorious and she deserves remembrance.

Joan Cavender, who has died aged 93, was known to her many friends in Whitstable, Kent, as an ardent socialist and a person of endless optimism about the possibility of creating a just and more equal world. For many years, Joan ran the Whitstable bookshop, Pirie and Cavender, a career she took up in 1949 after the sudden death of her husband. Her strong views about literature were not always sympathetic to all the tastes of her customers.
A very important part of Joan’s generous social and political vision was an interest in worldwide politics, and it was this that drew her, after her retirement, to go and work as a volunteer teacher in the Gambia. At an age when many people might have been pleased to turn away from the responsibilities of full-time work, Joan entered with enthusiasm into the teaching of office skills to Gambian women. She described these years as among the happiest in her life. In this setting, Joan’s politics of limitless concern for every individual expressed itself in her commitment to her students.
When Joan returned to Britain, she refused, with characteristic determination, to accept more conventional meanings of retirement. A passionate supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, she went to work at the movement’s London office as an assistant to Bruce Kent. In this context she found another focus for her political convictions, in particular the idea that ordinary human beings could, by their determined actions, correct injustice and prejudice. To turn one’s back on the possibilities of the political was, for Joan, never an option, and until her final illness she maintained that constant interest in politics which she had acquired in the 1930s.
Mary Evans/The Guardian/Monday 10 April 2006
moment of silence for Joan. thank you.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA and here we are again.

with a view from the Herne Bay Suite overlooking the Essex Street Pleasure Gardens (and next door’s washing/laundry on the line).

time to sip some tea and catch up with Correspondence from Abroad.

there’s a fish supper this evening and another early night after some diverting television program(mes) on the BBC and tomorrow a fresh start with more photographs of morning coffee cups in the garden as the dew melts into the newly laid down turf.

the seaside is good for the soul.

especially when one was rather Under the Weather and Confused about the Future.

*cheery_wave_from_the_Coast*

seaside and salt air.

darlings

oh dear.

best-laid-plans and all that.

you see we’ve come down with something unmentionable in the sickness of body and soul department (not terminal but not suitable for Town either).

and so the meetings in london must be carefully but gently eased out of and we are heading back to the seaside (a different one this time – we were there today – at the seaside – but brighton – and now – tomorrow – we’ll be heading to Whitstable where William has said the Herne Bay Suite is available for a healing rest before we go to do the Speech in Deia)

one Never knows what will happen you see.

but one thing that you can be sure of – if emotions are left unchecked and sniffles not Attended to – it can only get worse

but before we retire, a few pictures from the past two days to share with you if you’d be so kind as to hang around and scroll down and imagine the sea-salty-air and the shouts of the marathon supporters and quiet cups of coffee in a just-dawn-broken morning with good friends and late night suppers after Trips to the Supermarket and CD playlists burned and walks through a park – actually three parks – blossom heavy on the bough – a metaphor as well, we’ll admit – but not ours to tell – either of them – a walk – actually two by the seaside railings and a deep conversation or more – exploring – remembering – sometimes catching one’s breath – did That happen There? how did we ever recover from those days? and now? where to now?

Whitstable.

where one can think and sleep and prepare to head to the other two islands on our trip.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand then, when one thinks all might be sort of on the wrong Path – there’s always a sign – not necessarily one that says “Turn left teamgloria” but when it’s a plaque on a building that one didn’t Search out for but there it Was – well – that’s magical – and helpful – and very much smile-inducing all over again.

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see you back at the beach tuesday morning for a catch-up (in a virtual sense – unless you’re planning on being in Whitstable too, of course, but we might not be able to come and hang out – much Rest Cure to be allayed you see).

 

hello from the unfashionable side of bayswater

darlings

we’re HERE!

and being ever-so-prudent with the Lodgings so we’ve found a Charming (former butler’s pantry next to the back kitchen perhaps?) room with a single bed and a small window looking out onto drainpipes of the next door similarly appointed 1800s listed building in an unfashionable side of Bayswater.

and it’s glorious.

we just took a walk at Dusk and the grown-up camera was Thrilled to be back in London too.

the Most Amusing thing about London (when one has lived Abroad for almost Thirteen Years) is that it feels strangely reminiscent of a film starring Mr. Colin Firth and Mr. Hugh Grant in that everyone is speaking with a Jolly nice accent, slightly diffident and bashful when crossing the road to the local hostelry and buying the Daily Telegraph (printed form seems to be popular in the unfashionable side of Bayswater near Hyde Park still it seems) or while weighing bananas (we are eight hours behind everyone else here so it’ll be curious to see whether we can sleep through the night or might require a mid-night-or-thereabouts snack).

luckily there’s a kettle and Tetley’s tea bags and small packets of UHT milk on a small white plastic tray (not shown) in the room by the power adaptors.

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we’re not that tall so it was hard to zoom in or get near enough but safe to say – this was the front door that MR CECIL BEATON walked through in the late 1920s after a day languishing in the hot studio lights with grande dames and duchesses who desired a kinder lens and the chance of a spot in Vogue.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand one hopes he Never fastened his bicycle at 223 Sussex Gardens to the railings either or it surely would have been removed as he clicked away upstairs, age 20 or thereabouts, in his first photographic studio at Home.

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whenever one travels, it is always good to look up and observe the blue plaques – one can then Imagine the footsteps on the pavement – with a purposeful stride – heading to the Tube – and follow in their wake, a cloud of cologne on the breeze still clings.

and we’ve only just arrived.

*shivers*

tomorrow – Brighton!

to the Seaside!

 

an ocean, a cashmere blanket and light refracted through trees.

darlings

happy monday!

is that an oxymoron for you? or are you happy to be Back in the general Swing of things?

we have been thinking about Needs (as opposed to desires) today.

not all day.

but, you know, intermittently.

de temps en temps as they might say in la belle france.

Mr. Einstein (didn’t see that coming did you?) said that a (wo)man just needed the following to be completely at ease and inside the comfort-ness-of-life:

a table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?

yes.

agreed.

it’s the Violin that really makes that sentence sing, doesn’t it?

well, let’s see:

*looks_around*

we have a (lovely farmhouse) table, two chairs (and a sofa and a bench that matches the lovely farmhouse table), no fruit in a bowl today (we’ve eaten the fruit up before we go on our Trip To Europe) and, nope, oh that is disappointing, no actual Violin.

oh – WAIT!

we *do* have a virtual violin – there are, in fact, plenty on mr. soundcloud.

https://soundcloud.com/ray-chen-violin/sets/tchaikovsky-and-mendelssohn

then we started to think (not always a good idea but fine as the sun is going down) – what’s our Equivalent of Mr. Einstein’s small yet beautiful requirements?

let’s see….

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quiet contemplation and supper with friends. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

visiting splendid ladies in the canyon who have Scavullo coffee table books and soft cashmere blankets and feeling useful and inspired. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

surrounded by tea lights and soft inspirational pictures in wooden frames.
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pulling over on the side of the road and standing on the cliffs above the ocean and feeling the breeze ripple through the (freshly bobbed) hair.
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and taking to the o p e n r o a d with the windows rolled down while listening to Ms. J. Joplin.
https://soundcloud.com/legacyrecordings/2-09-me-and-bobby-mcgee-demo

yes.

that’s it.

the open road, music, cashmere blankets, tea lights, ocean breezes and a regular dose of Doris Day movies, of course.

what’s your list?

do. tell.

*winning_smile_to_camera4*

Vivaldi, blue skies and Dr. Martens.

hello darlings

happy sunday!

time for Mr. Vivaldi!
https://soundcloud.com/giogiomamala/antonio-vivaldi-the-four

*exhale*

and a Quick recap of Saturday before we Dash out (merrily) into the brightness of a sunday to be very sociable (surprisingly so – we seemed to have booked a breakfast, morning coffee, walk in the park, drive to somewhere-to-be-helpful, tea and some Diego-time, then another meeting-up-with-friends – blimey)

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last night we happened to be in Los Feliz and saw a large pair (too large, actually) of retro circular blue glass in white frames sunglasses in the window of a Vintage Store and Popped in to say hello, try them on, sadly reject them, but make a new Instagram friend. 296ee804b78e11e3b9060e0eee734f32_8

just before that we had a lovely long Telephone call with william in england when, suddenly, there was a VAST SHUDDERING and we interrupted him talking about the new garden turf over at the Essex Street Pleasure Gardens to say in a small voice:

um, gosh, william – there’s another earthquake.

and it was ever so nice to be on the phone with someone (with a reassuringly deep basso profundo voice) until the shaking passed.

the pleasures and pains of living in paradise darlings ;-)

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the constant sunlight delights – and yet there are movements beneath the earth’s crust that tell us very Clearly that we Live ON A Fault Line. eek.
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moving swiftly on.

we popped in to skylight books to visit their copies of the book and *giggled* with a tiny blush to the (apple) cheeks to see it is reclining lusciously next to the naughty section. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

a fresh pair of DMs was bought.

the other daywear pair (as opposed to special occasion patent leather one for night-time and Interview purposes) were a Disgrace and we are heading back to England on Thursday (red-eye – the gods protect us from crazy jet-lag) and Must be Suitably Shod. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the sky has been resplendent thus far this weekend. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

admiring the buildings off the shore that resemble 1930s Ocean-Going-Liners. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsurfboards on road warrior sales VP vehicles abound as soon as the weekend hits Town.

are you enjoying the Vivaldi?

it just says SUNDAY, doesn’t it?

*happy_sigh*

must apply mascara (lightly) and get into the car (no surfboard but plenty of writing paper in the console between the driver’s seat and the passenger seat where the messenger bag rides nestled with a small sandwich bag of grapes for the journey – that’s for us, not the messenger bag – it prefers plums).

*waving*