books, baseball, bleachers: saturday in la canada flintridge


we took a trip East about 20 miles yesterday and visited not one but two libraries (bliss), watched a few moments of a baseball game near the bleachers (doesn’t every Californian high school remind one of the movie with Mr. Travolta?), eavesdropped on the local orchestra rehearsal in the community room and bought a paper bag of ripe peaches at the farmer’s market.

another perfect saturday – but a first for us – we’d never been up to la canada flintridge but it’s starting us thinking about visiting ALL of the other branches in the Los Angeles County Library System 

because many of them have such great histories – for example – here’s the story behind the one in Florence (that would be L.A county, not Italia, darlings)

Library service to the Florence community began in 1914 as a collection of 125 titles housed in the home of Fred W. Cleland at 1920 E. Florence Avenue, with Mrs. Maude Cleland as the volunteer custodian of the collection. On June 30, 1915, the collection of 508 books was moved to the Florence Avenue Elementary School.

In 1920, the collection of 1,000 books and 11 magazine subscriptions was moved into a building with a converted stable at 7607 Crocket Boulevard. In 1924, the library was housed at 7215 Beach Boulevard and was again moved in 1931/32 to a storefront building at the corner of Makee Street and Florence Avenue. This storefront facility was refurbished in 1964 for the 50th anniversary of the Florence Library.

In 1970, the library was moved to the current location. The Library was refurbished beginning December 2001 and reopened May 2002.

 and the one we visited yesterday in la canada flintridge (such a curious name for a town – we saw no flint at all – and nothing reminded us of Canada – well, it was Very Green, tis true) has been circulating books since 1913.

The La Cañada Flintridge Library was established in May 1913 and was originally housed in the rear of a general store. It was the second branch of the Los Angeles County Public Library system.

The library was moved in 1915 to the La Cañada Elementary School where it remained through 1934. At that time, the library relocated again to a Foothill Boulevard store location where it stayed until June 1947.

A La Cañada Elementary School shop building provided temporary quarters until a library was built and opened on February 22, 1951. The library’s current building was opened on June 16, 1971.

The library was refurbished in 1998 to freshen the interior and the checkout desk was replaced in 2002.

they seem to have had a distinct fan of Mr. Neil Simon sometime in the book buying late 70s too (so interesting to find patterns in purchasing….)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand then we drove to Silver Lake to stay with our friends Maria, Rosie and Jake (and make another short movie which we’ll share with you as soon as it’s done and been approved for Viewing!)

happy sunday darlings.

isn’t life delicious?

beloved books and forbidden tales.


during our recent sojourn in brooklyn, we had breakfast with Ms. J. Fain (toast and marmalade and tea for us – something with almond milk for her, if we recall correctly) and she made a Special Request.

would you write about the books you own?

and we thought – Quelle Delightful Request!

but then we frowned (prettily) and wondered how best to approach this Task.

you see.

we usually don’t share in Such detail.

but we Used to be afraid of losing everything (not that we owned anything of great value in those days, but there was a lot of clutter and stuff and panic and purchasing at One time).

and now?


let’s see.

we like to believe and participate in the flow.

the flow?


the flow of life and objects.

we do not add to our possessions – without giving something away.

and if we lose something (which rarely happens) but, for example, we once lost a blue pashmina from the back of a chair in a cafe in the fairfax district circa 2002 and got Quite Upset until someone (with a background in dubious self-improvement seminars and extended stays at esalen) said:

someone must have needed it.

we do remember feeling a tiny bit cross and annoyed (so recently arrived from england where such sentiments are seen as Tosh) and then the realization that getting Cross would not bring back the pashmina and a slowly curiously enhancing warm glow-ness that we Now lived in a Land where there Might be Other people that love blue pashminas Too.

and all was well.

because we slowly started to see that Things Return in the most delightful way (we wrote about that here).


this is a very Long lead to a post which was meant to be about Why We Do Not Own Many Books (despite the fact we have read probably Thousands).

once we’ve read a paperback (purloined from a box left on a street – this happens a Lot more than one would expect – and if one keeps one’s eyes open – a real Find is often spotted) – we recycle it by passing it on to Friends with a nice note, often in the Post (or putting our Own box out on the street which is fun – or delivering bags to Housing Works or a similar fine organization).

we rarely keep them now.

because once we know What Happens (and we have almost perfect recall as many of our friends will tell you) we cannot keep something unless we are Deeply in Love with the writing itself (as opposed to plot).

some pictures now, please (do you have some tea to hand? we’re sipping coffee but the jet lag is not quite lifting from our Brows).


so we are a Great Believer in Libraries.

especially as Beverly Hills has Such an Interesting Circulating Library and a splendid “Friends Shop” where one can gather up an armful of old New Yorkers (magazines, not people) to snip and read and peruse of a sunday afternoon on-the-sofa.

but it is the Los Angeles County Library (with its Many Branches) that is the real Jewel for its collection (see above) of 1960s era fashion books and much loved long out of print Editions which can be Requested via the Interweb and delivered to one’s local branch (so clever and so 19th century – the Request/Delivery bit).

and then there’s our own Modest Collection.

many 1st editions from the love that could not speak its name but wrote Beautifully.

a Lot of Vita (we share the same birthday and she captures our imagination with her Verve and Travels to Teheran and Life and Loves and the ability to nurture a beauteous garden of white and roses and trees and birdsong.)

and some ex-library books purchased from those adorable people at Alibris).

Isherwood – of course (we own Edith Oliver’s former edition of Prater Violet).

did you spot Nancy Spain? Ginette Spainer (whom we wrote about last while In Paris ourselves) – who met because of their mutual friend Noel Coward (we own several books that feature Noel, of course – because he has been our Constant literary companion for decades *lookstocamera* are we That old now? tis true. *smiles* and inspired us to Write and live GLORIAously (as William calls it). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Plum, Cecil and Nancy, naturally.

yes, that Is a copy of William James……….sometimes we like to get rather Contemplative. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(signed) novels by several friends and people that we Wish we had known.

delicious gifts from Friends and memories of the Day Job (the red binder is a gift from 20th Century Fox to who we are in RL because she worked on several Movies)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

more gifts from Friends (thank you B) and the Inspiring Life of DK for all those big-hair-slimline-hipped-80s-gloriousness. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and current bedside reading (note: paperbacks: so will be donated or passed on when we’ve written down passages that please us or photographed them for instagram.

funny enough the Only books that haven’t passed through the Los Angeles Country Circulating Library or our own bookshelves or boxes on the street or donations found in treasure trove second-hand bookshops – are – *coughs* – *lookstocamera*- well – Ours.


soon (Jan 2014, apparently – still waiting on Exact Confirmation – it takes a little while – but the red letter day from Last Year – is almost coming to fruition).

since that Deal was signed, we’ve delivered Emerald to our agent (and she said she Likes it Very much) and we’re now 30,000 words into The House On Church Row – may we share just a few more lines with you?

“Am I interrupting?” said Annabelle.

“Yes. You are.”

Annabelle was fascinated and yet appalled by Marion’s forthrightness. She took a step back and wondered why she had bothered coming. It didn’t seem as if Marion wanted to be friendly. “Sorry. I’ll come another time,” she said, turning around to face the street, to hide her annoyance.

Marion relented. The British stiff upper lip was really funny up close. “I’m drinking alone,” she drawled. “Join me. Then I won’t be drinking alone.”

Annabelle was a tiny bit shocked. “But it’s a school night,” she said, looking at her house next door and starting to feel guilty that she’d brought nothing home for supper except cake.

“I didn’t think either of us were still schoolgirls,” smiled Marion, leaning to steady herself on the side of the door.

“You are persuasive,” giggled Annabelle.

“I work in advertising. I need to be.”

Annabelle walked into the house to follow Marion and got a sudden kick in her stomach. She had not been inside the house for years. When Diana told her that there was a new tenant, she had given her the welcome note, but never actually thought she’d be invited inside. She broke out in a cold sweat.

“Scotch?” said Marion, from the end of the corridor near the kitchen, holding a bottle. “No, wait, you probably drink white wine, don’t you?” She disappeared and emerged with a Chardonnay.

“Yes please,” said Annabelle, quickly, and rather flattered, before she changed her mind. While Marion fiddled with the corkscrew and found proper wine glasses in the cupboard, Annabelle looked around. The kitchen was the original 1940s design from the last time the house was renovated. Her mother had been under strict instructions from her grandparents not to update anything, so she didn’t. It wasn’t her thing anyway as she much preferred to be upstairs in the turret room painting strange abstracts in oils while listening to Cole Porter. She could have cared less if the Aga had seen better days or some of the original Bakelite black doorknobs were scratched and needed replacing. The cupboards were a heavy cream shade with panels of wallpaper inside, a sprig of sweet peas on one and pale pink roses on other.

The large chest freezer in the butler’s pantry used to be full of vol au vents for parties and trays of shrimp. Annabelle remembered washing up glasses carefully after late dinners for pocket money at the low sink and handing them to her sister to dry with a tea towel.

“Where did you just go?” said Marion, handing her a large glass of wine.

Annabelle had to bring herself back to the present day. There were so many memories in this half of the house. Her own kitchen next door was modern. Simon had left the Aga but put in all new fixtures and fittings when they got married. If she closed her eyes while washing the dishes, she could always sense this half of the kitchen on the other side of the wall and mentally walk round it while she daydreamed.

“I used to live here,” said Annabelle.

Marion was taken aback. She had not expected anything above light neighborhood gossip or a slightly giggly housewife after a glass of wine. “You did?”

“A long time ago. I grew up here. It was my grandparents’ house. In fact, the house was split down the middle and when I got married I moved into the other half.”

and a bit Further On………just a snippet…..

The cab pulled away and Marion fell gratefully into the waiting car.

“I like her,” said Alex to his brother, as they drove back down Mile End.

They had no idea that Marion was doubling the price of the contract. If she had to deal with crap, she was going to make sure she was well compensated. She picked up her mobile phone and started to dial Kelly to celebrate but changed her mind. She was her assistant, not her friend. Marion threw the phone back in the bag and leaned back, looking out of the window at the lights twinkling on Regent Street. They passed Liberty’s and up to Oxford Street and got stuck in traffic. She looked down at her phone again. She wished she had someone to call.


ok. one Tiny bit more then we Must get ready – we have People To See.

They stared at each other for a long time until Simon realized he really had to go to the office. In a daze he went upstairs to get dressed. As he entered their bedroom, the scent of musk oil assaulted his senses.

He sat down on the bed.

How could this be happening to him?

This was Hampstead, for God’s sake.

Seriously Enjoying Writing THIS.


have a delicious saturday darlings.

feeding the soul – how do You keep it all sparkly and satisfied and smiley?


up with the lark (pause: are there larks in los angeles?)


a full day ahead.

will post later.

but will leave you with a Question……

How do You feed your Soul?

because this Moment of Gloriousness in words and thought and Images arrived at the Library yesterday (as per our special request – such a delight to be able to ask for Treasures from throughout the entire Los Angeles Library du monde des Grands Livres.)


And we have been in heavenly reverie ever since.

Do. Tell.

Books, movies, art, a long walk, a bubble bath……….running away to the circus?

See you later.

Have a simply (or Rather complicated) divine day (if you’re entangled in some Fickle Finger of Fate).

quick UPDATE:

if you’re feeling *blue* at all – try this link – gasping-for-air-at-pink-hued-beauties.

Screen shot 2013-02-23 at 9.32.20 AM

thoughts in the library.

so we had a delicious breakfast meeting about 20 blocks, or perhaps a little more, north of where we were (at home – nothing mysterious or clandestine to report, darlings, fear not) and decided to get up Terribly early – and walk.

which was delicious.

for a few reasons – one is that we saw the Dawn in all its rosy-peach-y-ness.

and another reason was we realized we’d got up So awfully early that we could lie around and sink into the dark embrace of caffeine and read large coffee table books.

luckily we have a Lot Of Those.

(isn’t the light tranquil resting on what we call the Gertrude-Lawrence-movie-star-blanket with satin wrap as-visual-accessory? we think so.)

and so we walked to the meeting and felt all Energized by the early morning-ness of it all (and surprised a few construction men by trilling out a cheery “Good Morning!” in a very Nancy Mitford sort-of-a-way) and got to the place of business (which was Very Fashionable and celebrity-adjacent – shhhh – no telling of whom we speak) – and – thank the god(s) – had a Chandelier in the entrance hall 0r Vestibule as we believe one might call it.

sadly – because we were being all Fancy and Footloose free (not in the Kevin Bacon sense, you understand) we forgot to bring our bag let alone bag-with-camera (sigh) so no photograph of the chandelier (but it was a Most Excellent one).

and then we walked (more than 20 blocks – we counted) and had Another Meeting (with someone who we might well work with but actually consider a friend) and they had gone to the wrong location so we had a Most Amusing phone conversation where we said:

oh god – what shoes are you wearing? can you make it down here?

which is the sort of thing that we learned to say when we moved to NYC (where everyone walks – but only in the right footwear).

they laughed (brilliantly) and said.

it’s Friday – we’re in Flats.

we did an understanding sigh of relief and then secretly wondered if there’s a dress-code-for-fridays in manhattan that Someone forgot to give us………maybe there is. we’ll be checking peoples’ feet today.

(pause: looking around the library – everyone is in flats – but that’s because we’re in the library and not many Fashion people come to the library or if they do, they Dress Down).

oh yes.

we’re in the Library!

it’s the Nicest part of our new life – between meetings and giving special-advice-if-asked – we come to the library.

this one was built in the early nineteen-hundreds.

so we feel Very much at home.

although an awful lot of us are on Laptops and there’s not a card catalog(ue) to be found (which is a pity, because we loved those).

because we told you who we are in RL (although She is Quite Different out there to us talking to you like this – if that isn’t too confusing and if it is – try being us ;-)

we thought we could tell you about the library that we used to Study in as a young student (of varying morals but a rather voracious appetite for Learning and Life).

firstly – here’s the outside of the building (yes, that’s sort of why we picked this university as we were rather shallow, on occasion, and very much an Aesthete).

isn’t it glorious? we thought so.

and here’s a shot of the inside of the Library where we spent a Great Deal of time (and some of it studying but quite a lot of it flirting, actually).

look at those delicious vaulted ceilings (although that carpet is new – not sure about that – and the white stacks – hmmm – we remember something Very dark and brooding – must have had a Decorator in – and one With A Vision no doubt).

and here’s a Charming close-up and very atmospheric shot from someone with a blog called Focused Moments – we’re going to ask for their permission so hopefully this is still here for you to look at if you return….

in fact all this Thinking about libraries, reminded us of a screenplay that we Started a while ago but life got exhaustingly glam with all the jetset travel and we had to abandon (and the characters stopped telling us where they wanted to go at that time – perhaps they’ll start again now with this attention we’re about to Shine on them, hmmm?

would you like a little excerpt?

it’s from a memory we expanded on from our First week in university.

we’ll set the scene for you – we heard there was a protest at the Library and we decided to go and investigate (our early journalist-impulses already Very much in evidence) and we tripped over a few characters whom we’ve combined into two or more throughout the story – not Totally true to RL – you know, inspired by.

here we go.

do you have a nice warm cup of tea to hand?

we’ll wait……

oh yes, a lovely Spode.

where were we…

She walks on through the archway, a statue of Queen Victoria, in the distance. A group of STUDENTS run past. One stops.

STUDENT 1 Are you going to the protest at the library?

EMERALD What’s wrong with the library?

STUDENT 2 She’s a witty one. (beat) It’s to argue against the cuts.

EMERALD Are they serving drinks?

They don’t hear her – already EXITED, in a rush. Emerald brings out a bottle of wine from her bag.

EMERALD (CONT’D) It’s alright. I’m fully prepared.

She follows them.


Christopher, VISCOUNT CHATHAM, and JIM KEITHLEY – both 18 – both in black tie, are lying on the polished parquet floor of an Edwardian-era library. Christopher is the son of a minor English aristocrat with perfectly chiselled cheekbones. Jim is a working class boy made good. Very handsome, very thin.

JIM What did you say you were studying?

Christopher rolls over to lean on his hands and consider Jim.

CHRISTOPHER I didn’t. (beat) In fact, I think it’s the height of bad taste to ask.

JIM It’s what everyone asks in the first week.

CHRISTOPHER Exactly. (beat) Popular taste is bad taste.

JIM Popular taste is the future. All advertising depends on it.

CHRISTOPHER I say, are you a Communist?

JIM I was considering it. (beat) How about you?

CHRISTOPHER I have a (sadly) very minor title.

JIM What kind of title?

CHRISTOPHER I’m a Viscount. But of a bit of England that fell off the map circa early seventeen-hundreds.

JIM You’re joking.

CHRISTOPHER It’s actually beyond a joke. So Communism is a rather unlikely path, dear boy.

JIM I’m not your dear boy.

CHRISTOPHER Are you going to play hard to get?

Jim blushes, furiously. Christopher stares as Emerald ENTERS. She unbuttons her coat to reveal a thrift store 1920s shimmery dress.

EMERALD Hello there.

She steps over Christopher’ prone body and moves to the shelves of books, swaying slightly. Both men stare at her.

CHRISTOPHER Are you into girls or boys?

Emerald swings round, a book of love poetry in her hand which she stuffs down the back of her knickers.

EMERALD I thought the point of University is that one didn’t have to choose anymore.

CHRISTOPHER What a glorious answer. (beat) Are you clever?

EMERALD Of course. (beat) Aren’t you?


Christopher jerks his finger at Jim who sits up and looks between them both as if they are exotic animals at the zoo.

EMERALD But you’re not?

CHRISTOPHER Not terribly. No.

EMERALD How did you get in? (beat) Aren’t we all meant to be clever?

JIM He was just telling me that his family have been coming here for five hundred years.

Emerald scratches the bridge of her nose, a nervous tic.

EMERALD Are you a Communist?

JIM I’m considering it.


CHRISTOPHER Why on earth would you do that?

EMERALD To achieve equality.

JIM Right on.


EMERALD Don’t tell him to shut up.

CHRISTOPHER You don’t even know him.

EMERALD It’s the first week at University, I don’t know anyone.

JIM You know us, now.

EMERALD Thank god. (beat) We must be friends for ever.

She sways again. Jim and Christopher get up and stand either side of her. They walk down the long corridor to the library exit.

CHRISTOPHER Won’t you get caught with that book in your underwear?

EMERALD I am protesting the cuts. (beat) And if they cut the poetry section first they won’t miss it.


Emerald does sound rather familiar…..


are you having a Splendid Friday, darlings?

spent time in any libraries recently?

we Do recommend it.

you have Such interesting thoughts – and encounters – and delicious reveries – in a Library.