well, hello Portland – feeling Rather gorgeous @hotel_deluxe

darlings!

our first 60 minutes in Portland (Oregon) has gone extremely well so far! we are most pleased. And we haven’t even gone outside to Explore yet.

we got a taxi cab from the international airport and our driver was swift yet-not-silent but we just pretended not to understand because getting up at 4.30AM (our clothes were laid out ready or that would not have been possible as the driver in Los Angeles arrived promptly at 5AM) is rather wearing.

and usually taxi drivers are the first people to ask if one is Married or has Children and they Completely neglect to ask if one has had a Deeply Interesting International career-in-digital and has a book coming out in Feb (most remiss). As we have neither of the former and a lot of the latter, we generally stay silent.

not everyone understands a Career Girl.

the flight?

bless you for asking.

w-ell.

despite getting to check-in Awfully Early we found that our seat assignment could not be changed and 13B (which sounded very near the front of the plane) turned out to be right at the end near the bathroom facilities.

*sobs*

because the plane was a terribly small one – the sort of plane one imagined that Elizabeth Taylor would have commandeered and installed therein a large bed and on flights to Aspen watched her old movies (the good ones – especially this one – because she clearly had somewhat fuzzy memories during the making of it) and ate chocolates while Mr. Burton (if this was a Mr. Burton period) scowled and read scripts by the far window.

would you like to see it?

our plane – not Elizabeth’s.

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yes.

very small.

but the hotel?

DIVINE!

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glorious 1930s style bathroom accoutrements (the curtain has a pale satin strip – we adore a pale satin strip, as you know). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

exquisitely made light fixtures. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

a soft glow (don’t you Appreciate a soft glow in a hotel room? we certainly do)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and we’re sharing it with Gregory and Ingrid (above the bed – we’ll get a better shot later) as well as Cary Grant and (darlings – who is that? Miss Simmons? movie reference please!)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

lovely touch. 7bf069be3a7911e3826f22000a9f13e9_8

yes!

a CHANDELIER in the lobby. Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 11.29.56 AMand a Very Smart Social Media team who welcomed us most warmly.

so – we’ve been here just over an hour (because we just had to write to you and let you know about the artwork and light fixtures) – we’re Bathed (deep tub, delicious) and in a few moments, we’re going to head downstairs and eat something light yet nutritious and then head out INTO PORTLAND.

yes, yes, there’s work ahead.

but we only have thoroughly good thoughts about Work so that’s a Joy too.

quick note: we *do* appreciate the fact that there was just a telephone directory in the drawer next to the bed – you know we welcome all and everyone’s spiritual Paths but it was particularly Refreshing that one has to call down to Reception and order whichever book-that-guides-one you might like – isn’t that lovely?

one could be Hindu or even Tom Cruise and feel at home here, put it that way.

most impressively open-minded.

a bit like us.

and You, of course.

see you later.

and may say that robe looks very fetching on you – an excellent shade for your complexion.

in praise of miss. barbara pym with pictures of england by teamgloria

darlings

we WEPT at the last page of A Very Private Eye: an autobiography in diaries and letters as Miss. Pym writes her last Christmas Card to Philip Larkin (december 1979) and then there’s a small note, in italics, from her sister, Hilary, or Miss Hazel Holt her literary executor.

she died on 11 january 1980

it was like losing a friend.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAso – in appreciation of miss. Pym – some words from her and some pictures of england (which we took this morning on the digital camera while browsing through the pages of old scrapbooks so forgive the quality – they’re snaps of slightly dusty prints from a film camera many moons ago – but they do provide atmosphere – non?)

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sunday 28 march 1943
“we sat in the sun and listened to the Messiah. I wrote home, went to the post, pumped up my bicycle, put cotton over the peas. And then lay on a mattress with my face close to the ground, thinking about that poem by Robert Graves, the man seeking lost love…..”

friday 16 july 1943
“After Tea Boat we were FREE – it was a glorious afternoon and a lovely sensation to be able to walk out to the shops – I went into Smiths, got a book to read at the weekend and bought a copy of Tristram Shandy, which I feel will be nice to have about. I also bought apples and cherries and a Radio Times. I spent a happy house lying in my bunk eating and reading a Graham Greene novel.”

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24 june 1953
“Reading a biography of Edmund Campion on a Friday over lunch one feels bound to eat fish.”

20th april 1961
“The new Archbishop of Canterbury has a lovely lap for a cat.”

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31 october 1971
“Since the closing we have been to St Mary Magdalene’s, Paddington. It had rather good music and quite an amusing vicar (dragging on a cigarette) and curate who live in a startlingly modern clergy house just opposite the church.”

30 january 1977
“I am struggling to get that novel into a fit state to send to Macmillan…….I now rather regret having gone so far with this last one but perhaps we can’t help ourselves. I am really better at making marmalade (very successful this week!) and doing patchwork.”

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20 may 1977
“Seeing a handsome Dorset woman at a petrol pump I thought a Hardy heroine of today might well follow such an occupation. Tess for instance.”

21 august 1977
“August is a funny time (not necessarily a wicked month?) holidays and all that, although I always used to like it in the old days in London – summer dresses in the office and visiting American anthropologists and slipping out for tea at the old Kardomah in Fleet Street.”

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27 august 1977
Tullia Blundo the Italian girl who is writing a thesis on my novels came. She is a small dark Sicilian (living in Pisa) wearing mauve-tinted glasses – lively and interested in everything. Her word is ‘tremendous’.”

19 july 1978
“Went to London to record Desert Island Discs with Roy Plomley. Lunch (cold salmon) with him at the Lansdowne Club. A vast spacious room. Then listened to the records, a cup of tea, then did recording. Ate with Poopa in the Viking Bar at Paddington Hotel and back on the 8.15 train. Relief to be home and in the country again.”

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26 april 1979
“Romantic Novelists’ lunch at the Park Lane Hotel, Piccadilly – a curiously deserted hotel, vast ladies’ cloakroom in the basement with marble basins and pink velvet sofas. After, bus to Paddington and had a quiet calm of mind all passion spent tea in the refreshment room on platform 1 before getting the five o’clock train home.”

thank you miss. pym for spending a little while with us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand just because we missed her so very much upon closing the book for the last time (before opening it again to record the nicest bits for You) – we found a digital device lying around (quite Wantonly actually – the device, not us, we were perfectly respectable this morning) and found Miss Pym on Desert Island Discs so we could enjoy her voice drifting into the room as we gazed out on the Hollywood Hills and enjoyed her choices with great Delight.

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yes.

this is who-we-are-in-RL and yes, that’s a tiny blue nose stud in a pierced nostril (the Idea!)

where were we?

why – on the beach at Whitstable (which is where William has just moved to) several *coughs* years ago (we had no Idea we had such Kennedy Clan teeth!)

why is it Here?

because these early words from Miss. Pym reminded us of what it was like to be at University and to Be (so very) Young.

13 june 1932
“I had a note from Rupert and Miles asking me to go to the flicks. I dashed to Carfax at 7.30 and we went to Goodnight Vienna at the Queener. It was lovely, and somehow appropriate. We sat at the back in the corner and I had two arms around me for the first time in my history. The flick was over at 10, so we stopped at the coffee stall by Cowley Place on our way back. We drank to each other in chocolate Horlicks.”

15 june 1932
“In the afternoon went on the river with Rupert and Miles. We had tea at the Cherwell tea gardens. Much semi-nakedness to be seen on the river. We landed at a bank and Rupert dropped his watch in the water.”

4 september 1933
“Reading Gertrude Trevelyan‘s novel Hothouse. I desperately want to write an Oxford novel – but I must see first that my emotions are simmered down fairly well.”

isn’t she tremendous?!

so glad that Miss. Pym came to stay.

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for further reading (as they always say in the British Library when one asks about a particular Subject) – there’s a lovely appreciation here.

and what about our own Further Reading?

well.

we’re half-way-through the splendid Pomfret Towers by Angela Thirkell (a lovely blog post by The Captive Reader there)

pomfret-towers1and, well, we have a Lot of Writing of our own to do – because who-we-are-in-RL is currently juggling not one but two writing jobs (one is Post-Production on a moving picture, no less) and about to start on a consultancy.

so while she’s out Working.

we sit here in luscious comfort (silk robe, against the pillows) and r e a d

#bliss.

are you having a tremendous Sunday?

do. tell.

sensational Cecil: exquisite Manners in the Metropolis.

quelle sensation!

a satiny, luscious, champagne bubble of an exhibition.

Cecil Beaton at the Museum of the city of new York.

a delicious way to wind down on a Friday in Fall.

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elegance – 1930s – silk – suites at the St Regis (where we took the Sophisticate for tea before he embarked – metaphorically aboard The Queen Mary or some such more glorious mode of la vie jet set than the red eye from JFK – for The Continent) – vintage days at the Graybar Building – irrepressible celebrities and Brooding Stars and…………DV!

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chet baker, a light supper of scrambled eggs and another handful of calcium pills.

 

ironically, this is how we like to wind down on a sunday evening: novels, listening to 1930s music from the Savoy hotel, then Chet Baker, a light dish of scrambled eggs (and peas, we Are British after all) and candlelight – but we could do WITHOUT the intense pain, the immobile neck and the handful of bloody calcium pills every four hours (as our body isn’t making any of its own, poor body, all hacked and bruised and sad and quite frankly pretty weepy).

by the way – weird excitement – we have a burn mark below our right collarbone. swiftly we checked the other side for a similar mark – PADDLES? DID THEY LOSE US?!!

oh. right. apparently it was the heart monitor. left on for five hours it got hot and singed us.

we are Very Sensitive.

and sore. did we mention that?

sigh.

ok – we gave ourselves a strongtalkingto – a week to be really sick and then two weeks to build ourselves up again.

B (another B – we know a few, actually, all special in their own way) came by at 4pm to “walk us”. sort of like an escort to the Plaza. we’re far Too Vulnerable to go out alone (and very shaky still).

felt nice with the slight autumnal breeze on our neck dressings.

ah. the seasons change.

more tea? why not.

tiffany pens and ribbons in boxes and 1930s ladies at the Ritz Madrid

we are utterly ambivalent about our new pen.

even though it came from Tiffany.

because (and we talked this through at length with 1904 last night as he preps for his book bash – http://www.georgesnyder.org – sorry, darlings, wordpress for bbry has no insert link or HREF tag input if you’re a delicious geek :( so hoping the link works) it feels like a let down.

it is sort-of-a-corporate-gift-in-a-way (even though we had to go to tiffany to get it but that’s another story) so we must not be horrid and ungrateful. but we guess it’s karma.

because we have a lifetime of stolen pens from hotel rooms and fancy restaurants.

and it felt weird to pay for one, even if there was a gift card.

so it’s karma for all the pens we half-inched/nicked/acquired/purloined/or stole – depending on your level of requirement for honesty.

plus the box will do very well (as shown) to hold our gift ribbon collection (we are devotees of MARTHA as we are sure you are too, and she always suggests a small box with ribbons to avoid that last minute dash for decoration when one is “gifting” (yes, british friends, tis a verb in the USA)

the lady in the picture was on a poster outside the Ritz Madrid.

she looks naughty enough to have nicked a few pens in her time………..

wonder if MARTHA sometimes slips a pen in her purse……….we met her once at an award ceremony. she is very VERY tall and goddess-like.

we were both being presented with awards

tis true.

but she got to make a much longer speech

she was GLORIAous.

a small amount of decoupage

as we eat our morning grapefruit, and “cool down” from the brisk five-thirty AM walk and twenty minutes of yoga before encasing ourselves in black, preparing for the sniper fire of midtown ahead, team gloria admires our own fruits of reflection this weekend…………….yes, we decoupage and we are not afraid to tell you.

ah – the black and white 1930s movies, sophia loren, catherine deneuve, los angeles at twilight (we took that one – it’s on our business card (giggle – gosh, no, not the day job card – that’s all crisp and white and has our RL name and title and a phone extension that our executive assistant answers to protect us from the world……) no – the team gloria cards.

isn’t life just delicious?

we WERE going to take this decoupage to work but we feel weird as there are certain rather high-maintenance people whom we would slap-wrists-if-they-picked-it-up.

and we are supposed to be mature.

right.

that’s the idea.

don’t let them know ;)