poems chosen by P. L. Travers, photographs by teamgloria

darlings

while “winding down” (makes us sound like a Clock – *ironiclooktocamera*) this evening we listened to the Radio from 1977 (so Clever, these digital devices all connected to the interweb).

P. L. Travers (Pamela, as we like to call her) regaled us with her stories of magic and Mary Poppins and the Celtic Twilight and life growing up in Australia many moons ago.

and in a surprising twist (not that Surprising when one of course considers the Source) – she chose not Music (as is usual in the programme – and we use the British spelling advisedly) but POEMS.

how glorious.

and so we thought we’d list some of them here for you – together with a few photographs of our own which are no way related (as far as we know but with P.L. Travers would wouldn’t be surprised – and she did live in America for a while so perhaps she trod these paths too….)

Los Angeles Times: April 25th, 1996 
Travers often said her famous character sought her out.

In a 1970 speech at Scripps College in Claremont when she was a writer-in-residence, she said she “happened to be there at the moment [Poppins appeared] in order to take it down.”

Travers was also writer-in-residence at Radcliffe College from 1965-66 and at Smith College in 1966.

She was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1977.

Travers, who never married, lived in London’s Chelsea district, where she prided herself on her rose garden, complete with the yellow Mary Poppins and the crimson Pamela Travers roses.

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

home

T S Eliot 
Little Gidding

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.

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Cymbeline by William Shakespeare

“Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages;
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o’ the great;
Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke:
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

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Chose Something Like A Star – Robert Frost

It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats’ Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

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“This is our country, nowhere else and we shall not be outcast on the world.” John Hewitt, The Outcast

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and this is a photograph we feel sure P. L. Travers would have enjoyed – we turned round a corner (in reality, not metaphorically, but we know it’s hard to tell Here) and saw this man trimming a topiary! how delicious!

we were going to say Only In Los Angeles but actually topiary is terribly British but perhaps not that many giraffes at Chatsworth*.

what’s that?

you’d like a giraffe topiary in Your garden?

you have a garden?

why have you not sent us pictures (links please!) – we adore a garden (sadly we don’t have one – but there is a swimming pool and plenty of succulents-in-pots so we are not lacking in anyway)

back to You *winningsmile*

here’s where to buy a giraffe topiary frame of your very own.

*actually we must not slander Chatsworththe Duchess had a Christmas festive topiary Educational experience for the Public back in 2011

Table centre and topiary tree 2 and 5 December
Design a festive table centre with a nostalgic Victorian theme using elegant candles, berries, evergreens, cones, nuts and spices. This workshop also looks at designing a spiced topiary tree with cones, cinnamon, gilded nuts, fragrant Norwegian blue spruce and wonderful preserved fruits.

one last photograph from today –

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAah yes.

*sighs*

to live somewhere like that.

but in its natural habitat – in the south of France (this is a house in beverly hills which is contrasted with the house next door that looks like something from the Rule of the Medici family and the one over the road hails distinctly – but on a whole other scale – from Somewhere in the Shires of England).

but there again – we’d be happy anywhere.

that’s the point, right?

*calmBuddhaPose*

btw (as the Young People say) did you know there’s a new Film about P. L. Travers at the cinema soon?

guess who’s playing the charming yet feckless Father-of-P.L.-Travers drowning in the celtic twilight poetry of his own twisted glorious imagination?

who else?

french film reviews and sipping tea near the piano player

darlings

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a lovely day yesterday.

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our friend Arianna published our review of the French Film and then who-we-are-in-RL had some Splendid news (which we are Not Allowed to Divulge – she was Very Strict about this, our feelings were a Tiny bit bruised but we said we’d Obey) about some work – and while she was squealing on the corner of Wilshire and *saidvaguely* some side street-in-beverly-hills we got a bit peckish and said:

could we go and have a pot of tea at that nice five star hotel over there?

and she agreed that would be lovely.

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yes – that’s a real italian piano player and he knew his audience – mostly back catalogue of Streisand hits with delicious musical re-arrangement…..OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

like standing under the largest pearl necklace on the PlanetOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

or a ladies’ up-do with pearls as an adornment?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

now this is where it gets interesting……see those doors to the left?

we walked through them onto the Terrace (we Adore a Terrace)

and then THE DOORS LOCKED BEHIND US!

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now if you’re going to be stuck on a Terrace, it isn’t so bad if it’s a very balmy night in southern california and it looks like this

but nobody passed by the doors and we walked the perimeter of the Terrace but the doors to the ballroom (we adore a ballroom) were Also Locked.

so what did we do?

well – thank goodness for the cellular telephone – we called the reception desk of the Four Seasons Beverly Hills and described where we were and asked them to Send A Security Man (or a woman, but unlikely).

there was a pause on the other end

we can’t quite picture where you are, madam

it’s the long hallway from the restaurant where the gift shop and the powder rooms are – keep going – into the Veranda Room 11 and past the Chinese screen – the room with that big – not really a chandelier but sort of the biggest pearl necklace scooped up to the ceiling

(pause)

we have your number – we’ll find you, madam.

and then we waited.

nobody came.

so we called back.

welcome to the Four Seasons – how may we direct your call?

it’s us – we’re still locked out from the Veranda Room on the back Terrace!

(pause)

and then we realized what had happened…….we were Not At the Four Seasons.

(gulp)

oh. we’re terribly sorry – we’re at the Peninsula

(relief on the other end – they had lost an englishwoman in their hotel and there had been Consternation among the Staff)

(dialing)

welcome to the Peninsula – how may we direct your call

(small voice)

I’m stuck on the Terrace could you come and get me?

security man rushes down the long corridor where the gift shop and the powder rooms are, past the Chinese Screen and the biggest pearl necklace in the World and Opens The Doors.

relief.

thank goodness it was a lovely evening.

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sometimes it is Very Hard to tell between all the Five Star Hotels as they all have such lovely gilt – gold – heavy cream pillows – and general Versailles-esque decorative touches.

we admit this is a quality problem.

but an amusing anecdote (after the fact).

morning radio show (by us).

darlings

trying something in the way of Audio……

be Kind.

yes.

that’s how we sound ;-)

you see we recorded this Years ago (strictly speaking, five years ago) in a Professional Radio Studio in Manhattan (it was ever so much fun) and we used it as an aide memoire, of sorts, to see if we still Could Do this*

*when Much younger we did some Radio Broadcasts for the BBC *doffsCap* and Loved it – sadly it was in the days before handing over a thumbdrive to the sound technician and asking him to “save us a copy, love?” so we don’t have any record of it.

anyway.

*blush*

we like to talk…..

so be kind and tell us what you think.

and just in case Sound isn’t your thing (we quite understand) –

here are some images from yesterday.

we were at a work occasion near the Ocean and snuck out after to take some photographs and then again when driving back through the Hills of Beverly #divine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand then we stayed up VERY LATE to continue editing The House On Church Row…….

3fd3a596c80911e2891f22000a1f931b_7 ab9c80f6c81611e2b2a722000aaa0952_7and finally pressed SEND at around 11PM to our Literary Agent in Manhattan (such a lovely phrase).

so today has been rather strange.

we feel a little Lost to be perfectly honest.

there’s some work to do.

some consulting agreements to Review with our attorney.

and health insurance forms to fill out (online – so modern).

Laundry (isn’t there always laundry? Oh, for a Jeeves!)

the Post Office (especially to send a Registered piece of Post to Milan – crossed fingers for that one).

more work.

then writing (but what?)

tea with a friend.

supper with more friends.

a twilight walk home………….

confession: we miss Marion and Annabelle and Simon and Lydia and Charlotte and especially Nigel (we became strangely fond of Nigel) and the rest of the characters.

*sighs*

quelle delicious and strange life tis this – the one of the Imagination that is.

feeling rather #AlexisColby this evening with our new #BeverlyHills attorney.

hurrah!

darlings – we’ve got an Attorney! a lady-attorney.

and in Beverly Hills no less (very swish).

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we are so relieved and intrigued and happy and ready-to-get-serious-about-business and all that – not that we weren’t before and we do have a NY based attorney but there was something so well – fabulous – about being in Beverly Hills and sipping mineral water and “talking to one’s attorney”. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

it feels sparkly and hopeful.

like this dress in the window of Brooks Bros.
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and a sample of “Beige” from the Chanel boutique on Rodeo Drive (they only had huge bottles and we’re more of a compact-cute-can’t-drop-it-on-the-floor size of fragrance wearer).

still.

a sample is always delicious.

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actually, this morning, before we met Our New Attorney, we felt a lot like Alexis Colby’s sister (in RL) or perhaps (because of our new cat’s eyes glasses) a bit like another lady novelist of some repute, because we were Editing The Manuscript while referring to our Publisher’s Notes (it felt GLORIOUS) and writing the Catalog(ue) Copy *blush*.

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and now we must WRITE more on The House on Church Row – and we feel especially inspired because our good friend Vickie Lester sent us this!

quelle serendipity!

so, we’re almost there……….

The roads were jammed all the way south to Brighton. Women were driving the new Harden cars from as far afield as Scotland and had been traveling all night, fueled on Thermos of hot coffee and cheese and tomato sandwiches. Marion was astonished. She peered out from the passenger seat as they passed through odd little towns with names like Pease Pottage and saw thousands of women putting their foot down and making time while laughing and playing music, windows open to the breeze. Most of the cars were full – two women in the front, one driving and two, sometimes three if they were especially slim, in the back. It was a party on wheels and it was heading to Brighton.

At Preston Park, Lydia stopped to get petrol and Marion stretched her legs. A woman at the pump opposite recognized her from the press coverage. Suddenly women crowded around her, asking for her autograph and (strange to say for a group of Englishwomen) hugs. Marion had never felt so overwhelmed. Especially by the hugging from bosomy ladies with optimistic printed cotton dresses and delicately scented with lavender. Everyone wanted to tell Marion how she’d changed her life. Most had a story about buying the car as a rebellious instinct – a need to run away – be free at last. Others talked about reading Annabelle’s blog and finding their own voice. Marion was embarrassed to admit that she had not kept up with Annabelle’s blog. How long had she been writing it? The connections made around the blog, the campaign and the cars themselves were astonishing. There had never been a marketing push like it. And yet – and yet – Marion had to admit that she had little to do with it.

The campaign was good. Of course it was good. The graphics were excellent, the picture of the car suitably alluring and enticing and adorable, the copy promised more than a consumer product ever should. But that wasn’t why they bought the car. These women told her that reading what each other had said about the car sparked their imagination. Marion knew the boys in New York liked to talk about WOM (word of mouth, if you didn’t guess that one) but this more than people talking up a product. This was a movement.

Maybe she had not put any magic into the campaign at all. That was a bit galling. Marion had been feeling secretly proud of herself for doing it all over again. She wanted to taunt the boys in New York and Beijing and Moscow and force them to come after her. She was thrilled (not that she would admit it publicly) that Nigel himself, the last member of the Establishment, had decided to come out from behind the anonymous plush walls of his private club to teach her a lesson.

But what if none of this was her doing? What if it just happened at the right time? Well that changed everything.

Kelly managed to rescue her from the crowds of adoring women with a disgusted look and a swift pull on her arm. “Quite the working class feminist hero, aren’t you?” she sneered. Marion looked at her astonished. It was a team effort, she tried to explain, but Kelly could see that Marion was the only one they wanted to talk to.

By the time they reached Regency Square, Marion was dozing in the passenger seat. Lydia stopped the car and turned off the ignition. She pointed to Dorian in the back of the car. “We need to disguise you,” she said, darkly. Dorian nodded, he knew exactly what she meant.

“Radical red or brassy blonde?” he asked, digging into his huge bag and pulling out two wigs. Kelly laughed. The blonde wig looked exactly like the English movie star, Diana Dors. She tapped that one and he slipped it on expertly, applied some false eyelashes and bright red lipstick. “What about my outfit?” he said, looking down at his drainpipe jeans, Doctor Marten boots and skinny shrunken boy chest t-shirt. Kelly took off her leather jacket and gave it to him. He now looked like a blonde Stockard Channing from the movie Grease.

“Just keep the jacket open so no one can see you don’t have tits,” said Kelly, tapping Marion on the shoulder to wake her up.

“Huh?” said Marion, dozily. She looked back and saw Dorian and did a double take. “You look like Stockard Channing but with blonde hair,” she said, “When did you get changed?”

“You’ve been fast asleep since we left the petrol station at Preston Park,” said Lydia, “Come on, we’re here.” She got out of the car and stretched in the late afternoon sunshine. She loved Brighton. It was one of those places that her mother thought was beyond the pale – such a naughty little seaside kiss-me-quick town.

Regency Square was a 19th century development that was once very posh and had now fallen on hard times. A few grand rooms remained inside multi-person flats as memories of what was. But many of the houses were now hotels for drifting tourist trade. The view of the sea though, was glorious. Twinkling in the six o’clock sunshine, the green railings stood proudly with a seagull perched on every one, looking out to sea like statues.

Lydia consulted her notes and knocked on the basement door of one of the once grand houses. There was no answer. She looked worriedly around. Her phone rang. It was Charlotte. She had not enjoyed the journey south – the buffet car was closed and smoking was banned, even out the window of the loos (she had been caught by the conductor and let off with a warning because she terrified him so much).

“Where the hell are you?” said Charlotte. Lydia was plaintive, she read out the address from the piece of paper. Charlotte was merciless. “It moved! A Decade ago!” she gave her the new address in Cambridge Grove. Lydia piled everyone back into the car and drove just under two miles east. They took ages to park and finally found a spot adjacent to Cambridge Grove, a small mews street, with garages at street level.

“So this is Brighton,” said Marion, looking around.

“Hove, actually,” said Charlotte who was standing just inside the double doors of a mechanics garage. She quickly motioned for them to follow her and went through the garage and out into a tiny back garden and through a door in the fence. They were now inside a mews house on the other side. Some very serious-faced women in overalls (or dungarees as the English call them) were sitting drinking mugs of tea in the kitchen. It felt like an underground meeting of modern suffragettes.

 

it all went terribly well!

darlings!

so RELIEVED!

the man from the small business association was Impressed (?!) by our 5 (or was it 7 with appendices) sheets of Data and gave us a Most Splendid admiring look at the Work We Had Done.

#phew

and now we have an Action Plan.

it’s called “get a lawyer” (apparently THAT’S how you get a doing-business-in-california License-thingy)

so we’re off to “download” the List of Attorneys (lawyers) from the local Chamber of Commerce (who knew such things existed still – we thought they went the way of weekly news periodicals around the time of the demise of the Tupperware Party* and the Women’s Institute cake-of-the-month-recipe)

whaaaaat?

they both Still Exist too?

glorious!

*did you have the lurid raspberry ice pops containers for the small top of the fridge freezer and the orange beakers for Lucozade too?

we also felt Terribly Grown-up emailing a deeply successful friend and asking her for an introduction to her attorney – who knew we’d know people who had actual attorneys – for business – not just for pleasure

moving swiftly on.

when we left the small business administration offices we saw this most cheerful sign and carefully remembered to take a photograph just in case you have a small boy at your house who wants to learn the guitar.

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we were almost tempted to call them ourselves but our foray into guitar playing as a teenager did not go well so we stuck to Piano and Voice.

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after our success at the small business association we drove back West and up-and-up-and-up into the hills of beverly where people still drink Vintage motorcars……..

and saw our friend Edith Head has a naughty little quote on the pavement on Rodeo (note the confusion around the date – Edith did not say this pithy bon mot Then – she was already cutting white cloth on the bias and draping UP There by that date).

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and then we headed further up and up and up for our next meeting with friends-of-friends who actually were at Another place but we got tired and said we’d see them another time  – long story – not a particularly interesting one – the point of this anecdote going nowhere is Visual….

ready?

well.

take. a. look.

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wow. 

right?

probably the view that Quite a few Attorneys get to have in Los Angeles.

*shivers*

wonder if our new attorney whomever he (or, optimistically, she) Might Be.

and who their Other Clients might be (always fun to guess in this town) – maybe attorneys offices are the One place in Los Angeles where celebrities don’t go around signing pictures of themselves and putting them on the walls so we’d have to scan (like a secret agent) for clues.

delicious.

feeling So Much better than at 5.50AM (yup) this morning.

and it’s all due to you.

thanks for coming.

but did you leave that crisp packet on the back seat?

only kidding.

just gluten-free cereal bars are eaten in our Prius these days.

 

finding roots. and places to buy roses.

darlings

slowly, slowly, but surely, we are Settling In.

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buying californian produce and stuff-for-the-house (sometimes it is a little disconcerting to find new suppliers for everything that we Love to have around – roses, satsumas, incense – but little by little we ask People where they buy theirs and we start to find New Places that fulfill our needs). IMG_0146

now This is not currently on Display (usually it lives at the L’Ermitage, in the Writers’ Bar, just off the delicious creme and caramel shades sitting room with-fire-area where we Take Tea of an afternoon).

but we’re including it here (from an earlier trip – before We Moved Back) to celebrate that we sent out a whole pile of Proposals for Tea To Agents (with a synopsis of our screenplay – called – winningly, we think – gloria*) this morning.

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the secret to success (and Deeply Curiously Interesting meetings) is to write a few letters each day – and then – this is the important bit – seal the envelope (we prefer a ink stamp with vintage car as a final flourish) – and go-to-the-post-office.

we’ve been doing this since…….

*lookingintomiddledistance*

um.

since we were 9 years old.

for that’s for another Time.

anyway.

it works.

and we’ve always got work – projects – contacts – and delicious anecdotes galore to share out of such Letters.
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we’ve been doing lots of driving at Night.

because Los Angeles is magical at night.

(doesn’t the Radio antenna remind you of that last’ish scene in Rocky Horror, darlings?)

here you go:

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and the other insight we can share with you is that getting up Very Early and doing a Lot of Writing and answering emails and responding to East Coast queries and special advisory Matters is the Key to enjoying Life on This Coast.

because if one greets the Dawn over here and does a Lot of work Very Early in the Day.

one can go and Play.

which we love to do.

because life is meant to be glorious.

especially if one Pops into the Beverly Hills Library and starts arranging one’s things (neatly) and suddenly someone comes around the corner and says, “Oh my god!” and smiles at us and we realize it’s someone we Knew from New York who has just moved here too.

both of us in the Library.

by the Bach sheet music in red leather bindings (just in case you’re here too and want to pop upstairs and see us).

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deep, lovely sigh.

how’s Tuesday in your corner of the World?

 

oatmeal and old hollywood gossip at nate’ n al

good morning darlings – from the Other Coast.

always good to start the day at nate’ n al – where, a few years ago, we were here for a hollywood business breakfast meeting over denver omelet and plentyofcoffee and it was the morning of the Academy Awards and all the lovely waitresses of a uncertain age were decked out by Harry Winston in celebration of the Oscars – isn’t that darling! as little debbie reynolds might have said………

GLORIAous to be here.

slept beautifully after a gathering of friends by candlelight by the lake-of-silver to catch up and slip into the L.A. vibe – all elegant-yet-slouchy in flip flops and a loose celestial blue pashmina around the team gloria lightly bronzed (a bit of beijing sunshine and yet mostly jergens firming if you know what we mean ;) shoulders.

drive, baby – off to disney (yes, we’ll take a sneaky pix on the lot if we don’t get caught!)

later, dude.