the tale of millicent mole, mademoiselle c and more.


the thing with having-been-ill-previously is that one is Always sort of looking sideways (in an attractive way, not cross-eyed) or behind one (and not in a swively head way – metaphorically speaking) to see if There is Something Else on the Horizon.

of course the Plus Side – and there is one – is that one is also Terribly Grateful for one’s Good Health at this very moment.

but when one is shown into yet another room in drab beige decor and told to “put this on and tie it up at the back” one does a Little Sigh.

af8ff0d0246e11e3a28422000a1f8f08_7we didn’t like to ask what That contraption was for – thank goodness it wasn’t used on who-we-are-in-RL – she doesn’t like things like that.

what she does like are silver sparkly shoes.


so we persuaded her to wear them to the hospital and the other people in the waiting room Enjoyed them too and gave her a little smile which is Rather reassuring in times of stress.

why were we there?

Millicent Mole(s).

due to the fair skin and irish parentage of who-we-are-in-RL (and the fact that during the 70s one didn’t know about sunscreen for children *looktocamera*) Several (actually FIVE) Millicent Mole(s) have been removed in years gone past (1998, 2004 and 2012 if you’d like to know – in three cities which is actually terribly glamorous – London, Los Angeles and Manhattan).

luckily none of them had “C” powers when examined on a white (was it white?) Slab in the Lab.

the lady doctor (so Modern, as William would say) looked all over us with a contraption that appeared to have a green neon light emitting diode with a very highly concentrated magnifying glass – it was ever so much fun (and no, we didn’t giggle, we were very pleasant and stayed quiet until it was all over).

but we did notice that we felt a little lost afterwards while waiting for the Verdict.

“we’ll monitor That One”


and that was it, for now.

and we left and went back to enjoying memories of the walk yesterday in Beverly Hills.

what’s that?

oh yes.

there were Roses and sunlight kisses on stone and ironwork gates and a tinkling fountain and celebrities behind closed doors reading scurrilous Jackie Collins novels and trying to work out if Mr. X was their agent or their manager or god forbid, their ex-husband.

or so we i m a g i n e.

one never (quite) knows.

although we have been inside some of these Beverly Hills mansions but they keep the Jackie Collins with the pages turned down in a secret drawer upstairs in the boudoir.



isn’t it beautiful here?

can we share something with you?

it’s not necessarily personal – we’re just sort of shy to do so –

you’re most kind.

thank you.


here’s the thing.


Carine-Roitfeld-Mademoiselle-C-Posterif you’re not familiar with the lady in question (you need to say “question” in a french/russian accent to be absolutely correct here) – Carine Roitfeld is Editor of CR and was the grande dame at Paris Vogue prior to setting out her own shingle.

what could go wrong with a documentary like this? Fashion! Beautiful People! Tom Ford! Paris! Milan! Magazines! Photographers! Models!



and we say this with love (considering the last day job).

Putting out a magazine is only drama for those putting out the magazine.

it does *not* a documentary make.

and also, there’s nothing clever about attempting to show the reality of what-it-is-like-in-fashion.

people don’t want reality.


they want the aching pulsating dream of sensuous nights in bronze skin with a silk sheet somewhere naughty in morocco with a photographer arriving on the morning plane, the models in some discotheque down by the beach messing up their hair, the production manager’s gone AWOL and the Editor has collapsed in her room in floods of tears and has to be sedated by the local doctor.

glamour, love.

that’s what they want.

and everything delicious well-lit – not Cinéma vérité, darlings. 

no. no. no. no. no. and thrice no.

you know the one person who understood this perfectly throughout the Entire Documentary, don’t you?



now he was magnificent.

6a00d8341c301153ef01156fc3a413970c-450wiin a slightly dark and sinister way.

which is perfect.

a year ago today: Tumor removal and a lot of Tea to follow.

oh darlings.

has it been a whole YEAR?

since we had our throat slit and tobias-and-his-sisters were removed?


we recall the 4AM wake-up call and standing outside in the dark shivering from fear and seeing the cheery presence of Cheltenham-Lady walking down the street as if she had just gone to the second-hand bookshop in Norfolk and found a delicious first edition and wanted to show us – she was brilliant – we tried to talk in the Taxi and stay bright and not fall apart and she kept us going – right to the bit at the hospital when they were going to check us in and we’d not known about American things like having-someone-as-an-emergency contact (we have one now) or someone who could make decisions should something awful happen (um, still working on that one) so that was all a bit scary.

the robe was nice – sort of lavender with Very Clever sensors and electrical circuits clipped to our vital organs and a heat pad to keep us warm while they Took Us Down (where exactly is that?)

william had sent us a 1970s Ladybird (yes, that English children’s classic line) book to explain what might Happen.

it wasn’t Exactly like that (the scrubs were blue as we recall, and the operating Theatre – love that they call it that – was a Very High Tech “space” full of flashing lights and whirring noises and Many People) but it did help to be a bit prepared.

actually, to be Completely Honest for a second, nothing could have prepared us.

and maybe that’s for the Best.

here is our hospital bed that we lay in for a day or so.

usually we make-the-bed but we didn’t have the strength and besides – if you can picture this – it was right before we got Discharged (and had to have a Strong conversation with the Very Young resident – in mime and pencil-on-paper – because we could not speak due to the operation which got Awfully Close to our vocal chords and the Very Tight bandages around our neck) and we were standing holding the tubes still linking us to the drip (on a Not Attractive silver wheel-y pedestal) holding our (forbidden) smartphone device to take a picture.


we almost forgot we had this one – yes, these are the pumps on the legs that keep one’s blood flowing during HOURS of lying and the oxygen tube stuck up one’s nostrils (not nice) and the drip (saline by this point we believe as our brain had come back nicely – or not-so-nicely – more Dear gods What Just Happened??) in our arm.

why thank you – yes – that was a nice light tan on the left knee (not just on the left knee, but obviously that’s all that’s showing here) – we’d just been in L.A – Quite Freaked out the week or so before.

mC came the next day to visit with a lukewarm milky beverage and a copy of the FT Weekend (we weren’t working, promise, we just like the magazine and the lunch-with-column and the interview with writers about why-they-write)

then Bf came to get us in his Car (we were very grateful and gosh Manhattan was a shock after the relative solitude of a hospital room) and stayed and made us laugh inside our OUCH bandages and brought his dog who comforted us with her Huge Eyes. sob.

and then what happened….

well – we stayed at home for almost a month.

lovely people who lived not-too-far-away came to visit.

So Many Lovely people sent flowers.

and we spent Many Hours lying on the sofa looking at them..

listening to Lots of mix-tapes that delicious people sent to us – for every mood and hour and feeling (dear gods, there were Lots of Feelings during this medical leave)

and Many splendid people sent books and parcels and we started to unwind our poor stressed head for the first time in what felt like a decade.

we spent HOURS in bed – sleeplessness being a Distinct Feature of medical leave #sigh

thank goodness for excellent cotton sheets, silk dressing gowns and Pots of Tea on a Tray.

we had never spent so much time in the bathroom (nausea – we won’t go into this in any detail whatsoever but it was horrid)

and here we are – a year on – with a scar on the neck.

we were Most Grateful to T who peered at it and said (in her sparkly Fashion/British voice)

I rather like it.

the pearls help.

Back to hospital: more tests (followed by a Nice Walk)

after a Most dispiriting meeting, we were almost Relieved to spend the afternoon at the Hospital…

(and then, after Traditional Medicine took Yet More Blood for tests) we went uptown (after delicious lunch with jw1 who held our coat-and-bag at the Hospital – thank you!) for a Most engaging trip/experience/appointment with our alternative genius acupuncturist and Chinese medicine doctor for some soothing shaman style healing.



Aren’t hospitals so Uninspired in their choice of paint shades?


Unlike the genius sculptures which have appeared all over manhattan.



We took the subway downtown and stopped for a lovely cafe au lait.




The creme de cassis and grenadine were a Proustian moment of Visiting Relatives in France when team gloria (before we became gloria) was about 9 or 10 (when we had a nom de plume of Henrietta Clarke, actually, for some Shocking poetry).

We popped into this cafe while waiting for our refill #sigh of synthroid (quelle joy – has it been 30 days already?


Delicious! But is Berlin still on hold, love?

we went to Hell. And made it back

Oh dear god(s).

That was a trip to Hell and no mistake.

But we made it back. And will be recovering slowly over the next few weeks.

Tobias the tumour/tumor and his sisters are gone. There were complications (skip this bit if you’re squeamish) and we were under the knife for almost five hours while they removed glands and thyroid and tumors and glands twisted around tumors and worse. We can feel it. A deep intense pain.

Last night was the longest night of team gloria’s life (and if you’ve been with us for a while you know that we’ve endured and survived long-haul and subsequent jet lag to asia and back but this was Much Worse). Each hour was agony. And so cruel.

Plus side (we needed to find one) – the view from our hospital bed is ten floors up and rather twinkly manhattan and a rosy dawn this morning so that’s nice.

And the robe for surgery was a lovely lilac (so surprising!) with some cool tech inside which enabled our body to stay alive and warm during surgery.

We are not bombed on narcotics – refused all – going with (huge strength) tylenol and now off the UV drip and reading a little but mostly listening to The Archers podcast for dreams of an english countryside while blocking out our awful staggered heavy breathing from the tortuous bandage around our neck (which is a hell of a lot better than the surgical collar with – YUM – a blood drain – which we had all last night.

So – this bit is over.

They couldn’t tell if the tumors were blessed with C powers so they been frozen and sent to the Lab to be sliced and examined by people with large Lab glasses and Big Brains.

We’ll let you know.

Need to sleep again now.

Thanks so much for all the messages!!!!! We feel very loved.

And that really helps :)

vampiric in manhattan.

we are feeling a tiny bit vampiric today.

well, not directly – but at the mercy-of-a-vampire.

you see we are Off To The Hospital to have MORE blood* drawn for the following tests.

CBC w/differential & platelets



Beta HCG Quant

TSH, T4 Anti TPO

Vitamin D Total, 25-OH, 1,25-OH

these are the pre-surgery tests (although we have more tomorrow at the specialist’s office who will be managing our care post-surgery – that is IF WE LIKE HIM – because we are VERY picky about the people we surround ourselves with. we’ve changed chiropractor’s offices because we didn’t like the decor ;-) true.

*the irony of team gloria’s blood is that prior to this whole tumors/tumours/30% chance of cancer, NOBODY IN THE USA WANTED OUR BLOOD.


when we lived in los angeles on – deep delicious sigh – the Other Coast – a friend of a friend needed a blood transfusion and had no money. we were THRILLED to provide blood into the blood bank that they would draw for (so exciting, in a weird way, to be able to help someone so directly – we know it’s because they weren’t covered by insurance but we felt SO good when we showed up.)

but then they heard our accent.


they said – in what we felt was a somewhat accusatory tone (we do sometimes remember the American Rebellion – er – Revolution – but this was a Little Much).

why, yes!

we said with what we hoped was an enthusiastic smile and an encouraging manner

but we LIVE HERE now!

all of about three weeks at that point, but never mind.

can’t take your blood.

and with that, they looked for the next person in line (british = queue) and ignored us.

we were horrified.


we said, a tiny bit plaintively, looking down at our rich veins of pulsing bloods of three once warring nations (england, france and ireland since you ask).

because of mad cow disease.


yeah. damn right seriously, lady.

(did we mention that the nurses in the blood bank were somewhat tough and rather impressively direct in that just-off-Crenshaw type of way?)

we don’t HAVE mad cow disease.

we didn’t actually know that. but we did know that we’d not been near an actual farm for many a year…..our pleas fell on deaf ears. they didn’t want english blood. apparently we might be carriers. we slunk off home (HOME! AMERICA-HOME!) and probably sulked.

now look at us. they can’t stop TAKING OUR BLOOD ;-)


in order to cheer ourselves up and add to the delicious pile of books gathering on our bedside bureau (very white – very 1930s) for our convalescence – we just added two excellent suggestions (one was left by Moonlight in the comments – So Kind!) –

and here’s our lovely bureau where we are starting to gather our reading and listening (the judi dench is coming as an audiobook – such a rich caramelly voice might well be needed as we sob into our pillows with our neck dissected….sob).

have a beautiful day, darlings.

is it raining where you are today as well? what’s up with this manhattan rain-in-august-type-affair? odd. the world is definitely ODD.

like school AV equipment

can’t decide whether it’s comforting – or deeply unsettling – that the equipment inside the surgeon’s office reminds me of school AV kit. feels almost like I am setting up an on-campus shoot or adding effects to the end of term shakespeare production. Or not. Humour/humor me ;)