breakfast chez george with @missjulesberlin

darlings

@missjulesberlin was slightly surprised when we said the time we’d like to pick her up in the perfectly-silver-Prius this morning.

das ist 7?

well, ok, we said – let’s make it 7.30AM –

ok……………

because we’re going to visit George for breakfast so we need to get there early (George gets up very Early to Write).

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and then she smiled and was reassured – a breakfast encounter is always delicious.

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and we had also made a Plan with George to do a little cinematic-moment-about-his-books (his own books that he writes as well as the ones he owns).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

doesn’t Spengler always remind you of the Waugh (that would be Evelyn) quote?

so I packed up all my clothes and two or three solemn books, such as Spengler’s Decline of the West, and a great many drawing materials, for two of the many unfulfilled resolutions which I made about this trip were that I was going to do some serious reading and drawing. Then I got into an aeroplane and went to Paris, where I spent the night with some kind, generous, and wholly delightful Americans.
when the going was good

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we   a d o r e   Mary Wesley and Plum Wodehouse too. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

as well as naughty Truman and earnestly-earnest Ish.

it was a Lovely Morning.

and yes, we did make a little movie.

you are so Terribly Kind to ask *MGMsmiletocamera*

Annabelle gets a job (in the house on church row).

darlings

who we are in RL needs to be Up Early and driving-north for a lovely work-thing so we have no time to write (need to make her a packed lunch and some of those organic carrots chopped up in a little ziplock bag) – but we wrote yesterday – a LOT – we wrote our new column for next wednesday (previous – prior? – ones are here), and a submission for KINFOLK (crossed fingers that they like it) and 2000 (!) words for The House On Church Row (up to 60,000 words now – a Slim Volume at last – and one very fast-paced exciting chunk to complete – we Are enjoying writing this one) – then, much later on, we met with friends on a hilltop overlooking Hollywood for a 20 minute meditation at dusk – because That’s the sort of things people do Here (isn’t that just delicious and Inspirationally Isherwood?)

firstly – a floral Moment (farmers’ market find yesterday):

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and now back to our friends at The House On Church Row:

He liked taking care of Annabelle. She was so appreciative and pretty and liked to giggle and spend time watching him while he watched sports on the television. She had a thing about Ritz crackers and would eat them very slowly while sipping Earl Grey tea with milk. Their sofa was full of Ritz crumbs in those days.

As he dropped his mother off at Paddington he saw there was a late night grocery shop open at the back of the terminal. He walked around and picked up some milk and then, on a whim, some Ritz crackers. It felt good to remember what his wife liked to eat. And then he remembered that she had just had surgery on her throat and Ritz crackers might hurt. He put them back and picked up some butterscotch Angel Delight instead. Annabelle had waited up for him last night. Or so he thought – maybe she was just too excited to sleep before her first day in an actual office.

They made the Angel Delight and took it upstairs in sundae glasses to eat in bed. And then carefully and slowly he kissed his wife all over until she got tingly and started to unbutton his pajama top. Thinking about it now, on the Northern Line, about to change at Bank, he almost blushed behind his copy of The Telegraph.

Back in the kitchen, Libby tried to get details. “Where are you working?” she said. But Annabelle told them they’d be late and anyway she wanted to start this new job life slowly and would tell them more about it when she felt settled. Mark went upstairs to get his school bag and football kit and bumped into Libby on the landing.

“I’m suspicious,” said Libby.

Mark really didn’t want to have a conversation with his sister before school. She could be really prickly and he had double Chemistry and was dreading it, he could not for the life of him remember the entire Periodic Table. He smiled sweetly and pointed at his watch. They were going to be late. But Libby wasn’t letting him get away that easily.

“Did we become poor all of a sudden?” she said, worried that there wouldn’t be enough money for her to go to sixth form and then university somewhere as far as possible away from here – like Sydney, Australia.

Her brother was less prone to dramatics and more practical in his thinking. “I believe she just wanted something to do,” he said, slipping past Libby and rushing down the stairs. Libby stared after him. Why on earth would you want something to do if you didn’t have to earn any money? Her mother called up the stairs that they were going to be late. Libby walked slowly and thoughtfully down the stairs. This would require some processing. A lot was changing around here since her mother had that nervous breakdown or cancer or whatever it was that gave her the scar on her throat that no one was talking about.

Once the children had gone, Annabelle checked the clock in the hallway. It said seven forty-five. She had no idea what time a creative agency started work but it seemed as good a time to get going as any. She grabbed her navy blue wool coat, which was remarkably similar to the one she had worn at boarding school and took an umbrella from the stand. This was it. She was going-to-work. It all felt tremendous.

The morning passed really quickly. Annabelle had a small office next to Dorian’s and was shown around by Kelly who seemed a bit angry for some reason. Dorian finally showed up at eleven o’clock and stared at her for a long time. Then he decided she’d do and showed her the latest mock-ups on his computer. Annabelle was impressed – she hoped she could learn to use the computer like that.

yes.

yes.

you May have noticed there’s a scar and tumo(u)rs that slipped into this Tale.

we didn’t intend that to happen.

it. just. did.

as these things tend to do.

we’re leaving that in the book rather than sharing it online as we Do Feel we shared Rather a Lot here before – from you-know-when.

but isn’t it Exciting that Annabelle has got a job?

we loved writing that bit, most especially.

edith oliver’s copy of isherwood’s prater violet

we bought this during a snowstorm in late 2006.

NYC was new to us – at least as a resident so recently transplanted from the Other Coast.

it was a bitterly cold day. the snow piled high on the sidewalks as we shivered miserably in the first winter coat we had owned since leaving england a few years before.

and there it was – a beautiful first edition – of prater violet – by another migratory soul who found peace and solace and beauty in santa monica.

oh! said the lady at Argosy, that’s edith oliver’s personal copy

we didn’t dare show our innocence. It doesn’t go down well in NY. we rushed home to look her up.

edith oliver was the legendary theatre critic for the New Yorker under Shawn.

we just thought of her and went to dig out this book to share with you because we are reading “lucking out” by james wolcott (now VF film critic) and he mentions her.

btw, the best thing about spending a summer friday in NY doing splendid errands like buying review copies dropped off by critics at mercer books is that one becomes part of the local tapestry. we got stopped by tourists twice on our way back from reading in a thankfully air-cooled cafe and asked if we knew where greenwich village was?

that’s because, despite the heat, we were tip to toe in black, hair scraped back, barely a lick of mascara, big sunglasses, reading a paperback review copy while walking down the street.

yes. this is EXACTLY what we thought NY would be like when we were 8 years old, pushing 9.