cat on a warm sun-kissed balcony and other thanksgiving Tales of Great Beauty


are you American (or residing here)?

if so.

a very merry Thanksgiving to you.

if you’re not (and so many of us in the world are indeed from Other Places and Other dreamscapes), hope your Thursday is going deliciously well, thus far.



we’re sort of Celebrating Thursday (as opposed to Thanksgiving) to be honest.

not having any childhood baggage and trauma happy memories of Thanksgivings-gone-By, we really don’t know how to participate.

there were a few years when we did attempt it.

but it was Awfully strange watching people get a little tearful (too much pie was the diagnosis but perhaps a hidden trauma as yet unreleased was the reason for Indulging in the pie – who knows what comes first the pie or the pain? we digress) about Thanksgivings they have known – and we certainly fell foul of falling into Family dynamics *shudder* at one particularly memorable (and unrepeatable) meal where we were playing a role that, how do we put this, no one had given us the script for.

actually, there were three of those – different houses – alternate years.

so we gave up.

which makes Americans very nervous (they adore Thanksgiving, even the ones who hate it profess to adore it so).

oh. well, we don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving.

response = slack jaw, slightly manic eyes, unwilling to speak

but we hope you have a delicious time.

the remedy is always to be Charming here and people feel quite mollified for a while while they process (actually that should be “process”) what you’ve just Said.

the shops – we don’t go often but Trader Joes was PACKED last night and we only stopped in for milk but people were quite Crazed buying up pre-cooked caramelized onions and green beans – such a very Strange Combination – were full of people saying things like:

I’m doing the turkey.

which sounds slightly naughty.


we’re going to His parents this year (pauses for effect).

and you just Know there was a Massive Compromise to be made behind That statement because it comes with a pursed lips and a deep sigh.

so back to us.


we’ll be heading to Friends later (after they’ve finished the Meal portion of the proceedings) because we’ve been Promised a Movie and the opportunity to look through someone’s DVD library is always Most Illuminating, darlings – up there with scanning-the-bookshelves, one of our most Favo(u)rite things to do with a raised eyebrow and a small smile on the left side of the cupid bow mouth when one spots That oh and That – most i n t e r e s t i n g.


as it’s Thursday in the rest of the world we’ve done a little work.

in fact someone called From Finland this morning at 0700hours which is deeply glamorous.

then we got back to our Editor in Mexico (more on that, with links, late January, love) and also did some final edits to our piece for Good Housekeeping (oh yes, big league stuff now) for their March issue (in the UK) and then took the 2nd walk of the day (the first was at 0610 hours so we were fully Alert and sparkly for the 0700 hours call with Finland).


you know we *did* take the camera……..scroll on.


we’ve been sending out more cards about the book and thank you notes to people who inspire us greatly to, well, say so. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

this is a house that we walk past often and admire its chinese lanterns.

there was a sound emitting from Every house that we walked past this afternoon – banging pots and pans – most amusing – OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

see the cat?

the cat spotted us. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the last latte before Everything closed down for Thanksgiving feasts. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

bits of los angeles really do remind one of Tuscany. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

or Provence in heavy summer months. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

or Paris in the (very) late 17th Century. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

or dusky evenings in the Loire between the wars. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

palest pink ribbons on black boxes in the shop windows of an unmentionables store. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the sort of boutique where one would purchase (or one’s lover would buy for one) under-the-evening wear to a party where this would be the long entrance up to the Chateau…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

street art with an enthusiastic glow. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and the soft feline that guards the plant shop. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwe will be taking a small chinese take-out box of Citrus for our friends to enjoy and cleanse the palate post their Thanksgiving Feast.

before we go, we leave you with This:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwe *wish* we had time to write a review but alas we do not so here are a few impressions: decadence thy name is Rome, sex, deceit, cardinals, saints, nightclubs, faded glories and past mistakes of the heart and body and destroyed lives, wistful, pained, late-late conversations that turn to vitriol on rooftops in Rome, fountains at dawn, dust on the soul, regret, regret, regret – and finally – what happens to writers who do not write (it’s not pretty but god is it magnificent and wrong).

perfect for the night before Thanksgiving when you think about it.

or even before a regular Thursday.

not that we’d know a Regular thursday, of course.



one last link. 

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 2.17.14 PM

listen and weep.

sadly none of it is linked there but if you have a spare hour to find a local service near you that contains such beauteous music (perhaps after you’ve indulged in the Thanksgiving feast or a particularly sumptuous thursday supper?), you’ll thank us.

which is what we hear today is all About.

isn’t that just d i v i ne?

like these tracks from the film:

simon, tea, nancy mitford and the soothing sound of a ticking clock in the drawing room.


the last few hours in London are passing Most Pleasurably.



of the Very Intelligent narrowed eye expression. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and a great *lookofftocameraTwo* gaze. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

a splendid slump and a purr when finished writing in his moleskine. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

we made tea (simon demurred in favo(u)r of a small sip of water for himself)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and gazed out into the very nice garden. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thrilled to see some good friends. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

simon enjoyed bits of cold comfort farm being read out while he snoozed. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAseriously – if one HAD to travel all the way to South Africa (although it is a glamorous proposition, we’re Aware), there is Not a nicer way to spend the last few hours with a simon, tea, nancy mitford, stella gibbons and a ticking clock.

we’ve known a few simons in our time but this one has to be the absolute Best.

just saying.


so we’re about to leave.

don’t expect to hear from us until we LAND in Cape Town sometime around teatime on Friday.

mainly because we managed to break *sighs* the US-to-UK electrical adaptor which means we are r u n n i n g out of j u i c e as the Americans say and won’t be able to re-charge until we can plug in the (hopefully more sturdy) US-to-SouthAfrican electrical adaptor device.

travel does broaden the mind but sometimes threaten the intellect.

see you below the Equator*

*right, non?

Most Excited.

Mr. Blake and Mr. Huxley on the doors of perception with pictures (some of doors, but not all) by teamgloria.


just pictures.

and a quote from Mr. Blake

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”

― William BlakeThe Marriage of Heaven and Hell

and Mr. Huxley:

The various “other worlds,” with which human beings erratically make contact are so many elements in the totality of the awareness belonging to Mind at Large. Most people, most of the time, know only what comes through the reducing valve and is consecrated as genuinely real by the local language. Certain persons, however, seem to be born with a kind of by-pass that circumvents the reducing valve. In others temporary by-passes may be acquired either spontaneously, or as the result of deliberate “spiritual exercises,” or through hypnosis, or by means of drugs. Through these permanent or temporary by-passes there flows, not indeed the perception “of everything that is happening everywhere in the universe” (for the by-pass does not abolish the reducing valve, which still excludes the total content of Mind at Large), but something more than, and above all something different from, the carefully selected utilitarian material which our narrowed, individual minds regard as a complete, or at least sufficient, picture of reality.”

-Adlous Huxley, The Doors of Perception

and now some doors (the occasional gate – and a sprinkling of always-welcome-blooms) to illustrate from our morning walks yesterday and Terribly Early today.

as you scroll down – look for the cat, the fly and Mr. E.T on a window sill – all lounging happily in the sunshine of southern california.











OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo be shaken out of the ruts of ordinary perception, to be shown for a few timeless hours the outer and inner world, not as they appear to an animal obsessed with survival or to a human being obsessed with words and notions, but as they are apprehended, directly and unconditionally, by Mind at Large this is an experience of inestimable value to everyone and especially to the intellectual.

Aldous Huxley – Doors of Perception [1954]

and now we must return to our Study.

we’re helping who-we-are-in-RL as she reads up on dark matter, string theory and really-mind-blowing-advances-in-technology.


isn’t life delicious? – and s t r a n g e…..

words by simone de beauvoir (we took the pictures)


we just received the latest Requests from the Los Angeles County Library – one is an old favo(u)rite – Simone De Beauvoir’s America Day By Day, her diary of four months spent in America (as you Might have guessed from the Title although it was just the USA bit – not South America, Latin America or the bit of North America that is inhabited by those nice Canadians – however, we digress) in 1947.

the pictures are ours.


it is the story of what happened to me, neither more nor less. This is what I saw and how I saw it. I have not tried to say more. [xviii]


Hollywood Boulevard follows the contour of a hill; sitting at the bar, we look through a large bay window and see at our feet the spread of houses where the first lights are coming on. Little by little Los Angeles is transformed into a large, glittering lake. [p.111]


Hollywood, as everyone knows, is where the studios are. The stars live in Beverly Hills. To see their houses, you have to enter an artificial park humming with neither the muffled life of the countryside nor the feverish life of the city; the luxurious villas are surrounded by a false solitude. [p.110]


At midnight we are alone on top of a hill. We sit on the ground and smoke in silence. Los Angeles is beneath us, a huge, silent fairyland. The lights glitter as far as the eye can see. [p.122]



We go shopping for dinner. This is the first time I’ve entered one of these big stores. It looks like an agricultural fair: oversized, smooth and polished, the fruits and vegetables all have the slightly false luster of perfect greenhouse products, unmarked by the vagaries of rain and sun. N. grabs a little metal cart from a corner and pushes it in front of her; we walk down the aisles and gather up whatever we like. There is such a profusion of meat, fish, and especially canned goods that the choice is very difficult; our needs and even our desires are not up to such magnificent abundance. [p.124]


The house, hidden among orange groves, is surrounded by an overgrown garden full of trees and flowers – no hedges or walls; no bolt on the gate, although no one would be there. [p/124]




Over there in the night, a vast continent is sparkling. I’m going to have to become reacquainted with France and climb back into my own skin. [p.390]


there you go.

a whistle-stop tour through Simone’s (may we be so familiar?) recollections of America.


we left out a lot.

she gets stoned in Harlem (the idea!) and doesn’t care much for Chicago, has very Odd Ideas about the American Woman, gets snotty because a French waiter in Manhattan refuses to answer her when she orders in English (what did she expect? n’est ce pas cherie?) and quite frankly was a bit dismissive of California as a whole.

but you wouldn’t know that from the passages we chose.

and the pictures we decided to take to accompany her words.

because that’s how we roll.

edit out the bits we don’t like and illustrate the moments we really do.

such a truly delicious way to live.

sure, it might be a Tiny bit naive.

but we’ve lived long enough to know it’s quite the nicest way to spend one’s time day by day, in America, or anywhere else really.

don’t you think?

btw, as the young people say, did you notice the cat on the wall?

here he is again.


amazing what one might miss if one doesn’t take the time to stroll down a side street with a light chiffon (blue, naturally) scarf around the neck and a camera in hand.

elegant encounters

Oh! We had the loveliest encounters today (and yesterday too)


lady-of-letters has the Most Awesome Rolodex (is there a plural? Rolodexi?)


Somebody terribly glamorous brought their Hermes bag to visit.


We were tickled pink to be asked our Opinion about a career matter. And, in return, we asked them to blow bubbles so we could try a new #instagram filter/filtre/effect.


Then we met a delicious plump and haughty cat while purchasing more “thank you” cards.


One of which we shall be sending tout suite to jC who took us to supper tonight. A Most Elegant Occasion.


(there were tough bits in the past couple of days but we are choosing to be Very Doris Day about everything and see life through a new and rather Rosy lens)

Because it’s just easier if one does, darlings ;)