3.31AM meltdown at JFK


it had to happen.

one flight too many (flight 10 of 10 is due to leave LATER THAN EXPECTED but at least it is DUE to leave….bear with us)……


(this was flight 9 of 10)

an arrival in Manhattan (well, JFK is strictly nowhere near manhattan but we digress) at 10.25PM last night.

and a flight due to leave (as we said, DUE TO LEAVE) at 7AM this morning.

so – what to do in the meantime?

it looked awfully cold and d e p r e s s i n g to wait at the airport (and everything was closing).

we *thought* about the movie Jet Lag (which we like very much) and so walked over to the Hotels Information Desk just to see if the interweb had been wrong – that there was actually a hotel close enough to buy a room, have a shower, something to sip in the way of hot tea, perhaps an hour’s sleep and then back to the airport for the flight that was DUE TO LEAVE at 0700 hours.

plus (if you recall the Plot of Jet Lag) the opportunity to reassess one’s life while talking intently with foreigners is always interesting (although the days of fickle youth are long gone with the idea of sharing a hotel room with one, despite the promise of free Clarins products and a lovely swimming pool – neither of which looked on the menu at the Days Inn which was either 5 mins away by taxi or 15 mins by something-called-a-shuttle).

so we thought we’d have an adventure instead.

because we like those.

and we are trying to be a bit prudent with cash flow so we took the A train from Howard Beach and curled up on top of our Manhattan messenger bag (luckily the left luggage at JFK stays open all night – which was lovely as we’re Very Tired at carrying around the silver samsonite now).

arriving in Manhattan on the A train and getting out at West 4th at midnight is sort of fun.

especially when one remembers that the Washington Square diner is open 24/7 as the americans close it (or all night, if you’re european or antipodean).

it was fun to sip coffee and write and read a slim tome.

and then – well – it wasn’t so fun – because we were Awfully Tired – so we decided a Walk was in order and then (almost an hour later) we found ourselves in Times Square (gosh).

a134611450e811e386050a9537b7ccc0_8that was fun.

but it was still only 1AM and we had until (well, you get the idea)……….and then we checked the Boarding Pass that the lovely people at Virgin Atlantic had given us in London to “check us through to Los Angeles” (yes, they said it in an English accent – ange-elle-ease which was sweet – at the time) and saw that the flight had been changed to 9AM instead of 7AM and didn’t appear to be under the care of Virgin Atlantic anymore despite that being the brand on the ticket and – well – that’s when we started to feel quite droopy-in-spirit.

more walking didn’t change our now quite dispirited mood so we got a yellow cab (the concept of the A train after midnight is Not A Good Idea) and arrived back at T4, JFK (it takes about 50 mins in good traffic – of which there is never any in manhattan).

as our ticket said “Virgin Atlantic” we waited at the Virgin Clubhouse which was advertised as opening at 4.15AM (no, we were not flying business class on this leg – sadly – but we thought they might be helpful with the snafu with flight times/carrier changes).

not to put too sharp a point on a very pointy sharp feeling of despair – They Did Not.


9AM is not that far away now (it’s 5.32AM over here).

you were Very kind to listen to all that.

and the cafes just opened so we’ll grab a non fat latte and a banana and all will be well.

fresh clothes also helped. as they invariably do in these circumstances.


to turn the whole thing around.

may we show you our photographs from our intensely delicious last few hours in London yesterday (was that only yesterday?) because we had the most Loveliest time.


a London park is Most Lovely with a chill in the air and a cloche hat on the head. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

we *always* pop into Heywood Hill whenever we’re in town because Nancy Mitford worked there and it’s a most splendid bookshop.

as we were about to leave (yes, there’s a little bell on the door or perhaps there was purely in the imagination – that does happen) we stopped, fished around in the manhattan messenger bag and took out a postcard for The book and said “quite casually” –

oh! we almost forgot…..Hay House is publishing this in February….

and they took the card (a little gingerly but kindly in that Very British – let’sjustseeifsheisaweirdpersonorOneOfUs sort of a way) and smiled at the cover and then nodded (briskly) and we ran likethewind.

not fast enough to hear crisply modulated tones chuckle:

Splendid. Good for you.

which we’re sure were Entirely in our Imagination.

or not.


then there’s always Fortnums. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and a chandelier on St James’OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and beautiful weepingly lovely statues. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

close up of weepingly wonderful statue (near Buckingham Palace)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

one definitely needed to pull the wood coat closer at this point. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


the sad beauty of the Princess Diana memorial walk is rather lovely. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and then there was a Mad Dash across town and we caught the tube and then a train and then a plane and finally ended up in Manhattan (or as near as JFK can get to the actual island).

it’s 6.59AM now and we appear to have been BUMPED *shudder* by Mr. Expedia *grrrrrr* from Virgin Atlantic (which is why they could not help us despite their brand being on the ticket) and we wait for the 9AM flight back to Los Angeles.

which, yes, will be flight 10 of 10 in the past 16 days.

but it has been the most MARVEL(L)OUS experience. 

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.

pearls, sunrises and storytelling.


a lovely day ahead. and another gorgeous morning sky.

what are Your plans for the day? (although we assume that you’ve already had most of it wherever in the World you are – was it a Thursday as you had hoped? or not…..do. tell)

so, we’re working at the Photographic Studio over there *pointsvaguelytotheValley* as who-we-are-in-RL is on a consulting mission.

then there *might* be a haircut (if we can get a last minute appointment which you often Can in Koreatown and wouldn’t get anything but a shocked silence on the phone in Manhattan if one tried to do so, just so you don’t attempt it – we like to spare your *blushes*)


we *almost* forgot – who-we-are-in-RL had our piece about Highland Park published here:


and TONIGHT we’ll be at the storytelling event to cheer her on


…..although we HEARD (not necessarily on the grapevine because, well, they aren’t any round about here and we’re not sure why a Vine would tell Tales anyway) that she Won’t Be Mentioning Us.


what on EARTH is she going to talk about then?


(and we noticed that she didn’t use our moniker on the line up either – just being herself, then? hmmmm…..)

when she was Rehearsing at teamgloria towers (not “off book” but she does a nice “reading from the script” sort of on-a-bare-stage-at-the-CBS-studio circa 1966 performance), we noted that the general tone she’s preparing for the storytelling event tonight is one of a “Saloniste” – as our good friend (sadly departed) Mr. Bertrand Russell might say. 

it *might* not be Quite the Tone that the other performers decide on for themselves – but as far as we can tell from our (not really) extensive Research – she’s the only European so we do need to stand up for the team.

which is why we said “Wear the Pearls” when we had our rehearsal at home.  

a funny (well not funny-ha-ha – more funny “oh that is amusing” with a Dame. M. Smith raised eyebrow and twinkly eyed expression) story about the Pearls:

many moons ago we happened to be at a “street fair” in Greenwich Village and we spotted a beautiful set of pearls on a black velvet (we *think* it was black velvet, we might be making that bit up, perhaps it was a heavy cream silk) stand.

now the thing about Greenwich Village is two-fold – one is that nobody knows whether you’re wearing real (inherited/won in a gambling debts settling of accounts) or fake gems.

you see nobody really cares about pearls anymore in Greenwich Village (unlike on the Upper East Side where one wears a single strand and still hopes, against hopes, to be invited to Jackie Kennedy’s place for tea-with-lemon-no-sandwiches-or-cake).

so we didn’t know if they were real, or not.

the other thing (because we said it was a two-fold answer so here’s Part ii) is that “house clearances” often happen when a person of a great and wonderful age decides it is time to depart for other worlds beyond this one.

in Greenwich Village they might depart having lived in their apartment since 1951 (which means the landlords have been Agonizing over its rent control for Many Decades) and as The Village is a place for bohemians, one might well not have a family (or not have spoken to them for many a year) and so the Pearls they leave behind could be Real (and end up in a “house clearance” and thus on a black velvet or heavy cream silk stand in a Stoop Sale one early summer in the new Millennium).

we wore them for years.

someone who knows about jewels fingered them (in a not unpleasant way) and said, “oh yes, they’re real” and we just smiled winsomely.

cut to the chase.

they weren’t.

we took them all over the world (and perhaps their former owner did too) but in the past few weeks the covering on each pearl just peeled off……so we let them go to the four winds (are there really only four? it feels like so many more).

and bought some new ones.


you see there are no stoop sales with pearls in Los Angeles (that we’ve seen) so we bought these at one of those FUN shops where young ingenues in their early 20s buy Bling (and call it thus).

you’d never know.

because who-we-are-in-RL carries them off as if Nancy Mitford just turned to her at a glorious weekend in the country and said, “Do have Mine, darling girl, they’d suit you.”

but you know the truth.

at least about the pearls.


words by Miss. Nancy Mitford, pictures by teamgloria and a labyrinth.


a few pictures (by us)

and words by Miss. Nancy Mitford.

happy sunday.





“Twice in her life she had mistaken something else for it; it was like seeing somebody in the street who you think is a friend, you whistle and wave and run after him, and it is not only not the friend, but not even very like him. A few minutes later the real friend appears in view, and then you can’t imagine how you ever mistook that other person for him. Linda was now looking upon the authentic face of love, and she knew it, but it frightened her. That it should come so casually, so much by a series of accidents, was frightening.”

~ Nancy Mitford, The Pursuit of Love


“Mother, of course, takes a lot of exercise, walks and so on. And every morning she puts on a pair of black silk drawers and a sweater and makes indelicate gestures on the lawn. That’s called Building the Body Beautiful. She’s mad about it.”

― Nancy MitfordChristmas Pudding


“Sun, silence, and happiness.”

― Nancy MitfordThe Pursuit of Love


“Spring came late, but when it came it was hand-in-hand with summer, and almost at once everything was baking and warm, and in the villages the people danced every night on concrete dancing floors under the plane trees…”

― Nancy MitfordThe Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate


yes, you’re right.

that *is* a labyrinth.

and we walked it.


why, yesterday evening.

because That’s the Sort Of Thing one does in Malibu on a saturday after Tea.

just so you know.

what’s that?

oh we’re Sure Miss. Nancy Mitford would have adored a labyrinth (but only in the sort of shoes one wears to Garden and wearing a headscarf in suitably muted shades, of course).

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.

#newLife plotting, inspiration, action and dreams.


we went to a Reading with a writer-compadre last night and talked about creating-work and plot lines and beats in narrative and all sorts of interesting things that writers talk about – including the two of us (who had never met in RL before now although we’ve been writing back and forth in a fragmented story-line for almost two years – isn’t the interweb glorious?)

then we went online and checked our photography choices for the exhibition and learned that our lovely portraits of a lovely author are being chosen as The new Author Headshot for their new site (which makes us Terribly Pleased) and we remembered to ask another Friend/model when she next has a blonde-ing-appointment so we can schedule Her portrait and so on……

while we wait this morning for a 10AM conference call (so nice to do these on the princess phone) for a digital consultancy gig we’re doing (or rather she’s doing – we’ll be lying down listening to a Radio 4 BBC show during that hour) and then answer emails from prospective digital clients and sort out future lessons (did we tell you about the Lessons? doing our first few as soon as we get Back from NYC)


you see Nothing is fixed.

when people say “what do you do?” in that Nancy Mitford non-U way (the real Upper Classes, of course, do – or did – nothing but Tend the Land and Protect Their Heritage and so would never Ask such a Q) we pause.

we do three things.

we say or sometimes we say:

can we just talk about films that we’ve both seen and loved?

because usually:

what do you do?

really means:

are you useful – to us?

and the larger Universe spiritual answer is “of course” but not in the way you’d expect (because people always get very uplifted and excited when we start to get going about music and plays and life and movies and photographs and roses and Lovely Things).

so if we do get Honest *sighs* and talk about what-we-do we give them a precis of The Bio. and leave-it-at-that and hope we can return to talking about Lovely Things.

we know we’re meant to be all Thrusting and go-getting and furthering-our-bank-account – and maybe we will, in time.

but really all we want to do is do the digital therapy lessons (because one meets the Most Interesting People when doing Those) and a few consulting clients who have products/services we Adore (until the bank account gets drained and then we’ll probably take on some we only-sort-of-feel-lukewarm-about but We Hope Not) and then take Photographs and have Exhibitions but mostly write books-for-teens and novels for people-who-have-been-heartbroken-but-love-LaVieCashmere and helpful beautiful books perhaps in-a-series (we adore a series) and maybe, just maybe (*innerSqueal*) not only write movies but (*inhale*) directthemtoo (said quickly and with a shy little moue).

as the boys from Essex said – it’s a new life indeed.

there’s necessarily a Slight (ok, maybe not slight) Wait until All This Takes Off (and maybe one thing takes off More than the Others) – so we do something on each Strand of our Life each day and feel like we’re in forward motion (although we do Take Naps – for the creative replenishment of course in a dreamlike state) and Try not to Panic.

and After we’ve done all that Action?

we fill up the well again: making sumptuous and lovely suppers, while reading, writing, dreaming, roses, photography, friends, evenings-out-with-writers, naps, movies, walking, driving-while-singing-loudly, watching Danish television DVDs sent from abroad (thanks, dad), Requesting Materials from (2 different) Libraries, and generally getting Inspired all over again.




the only drawback to a life with three strands?

one needs to get up Terribly Early.

and be Alert for clues.

just saying ;-)

thanks ever so much for stopping by…….and now we need to get back to writing a Haiku because Heather suggested we did and Suze is running a Haiku friday moment

you see?

a life of wondrous twists and turns and miniature poems.


you’ll never get a cab. (sally turns back to laugh loudly).


new year’s eve.


we always thought (the sadly late) Nora Ephron caught the mood perfectly in her screenplay – you THINK it’s a good idea to go out for an occasion that requires a sparkly outfit – and then you realize it’s Hell.

and you can’t get a cab.

depending on one’s relative Youth or inexperience (or lack, thereof, of bad memories of years past) – you have very little recourse but to turn back to one’s date (or the person you just realized is sufficiently attractive for the evening – beware – end-of-year “relationships” are Very tough to get out of once one has started watching DVDs and cooking because it’s Too cold to go out – of course, this is Less Likely on the Other Coast – but Very Common – we use our words advisedly – in England).


we Adore new year’s Day.

so fresh. so hopeful. usually so chilly and requiring Lots of cashmere swathed around one’s neck (the Scar says hello, by the way, it is Fading but still gets Awfully Cross when people say “Oh! I can’t see it at all”. which we hear as “so we can forget about what happened.” garumph.)

but new year’s EVE is a different story.

especially if one lives in a highly-sought-after-piece-of-real-estate-area-with-restaurants.

last year, you might recall (unless you’ve just joined us and then, well, a cheery wave of a pale blonde gloved hand with a single-pearl-button-at-the-wrist in your general direction, dear) we went To Ojai and it was delicious. mainly because we had a Very Civilized travel(l)ing companion (always splendid to travel with other published writers – we are So Observant together and it’s delicious fun to make up BackStories for our fellow diners in late night cafes.).

in our Younger Days we enjoyed a new year’s eve party.

and maybe we will again – in a future house (oh, let it be in Montecito – we’d Adore to invite Oprah and Gayle over for a surprisingly gluten-free feast made by Nigel whom we hope is staying with us for the holidays that year).

but now we are Betwixt and Between.

this is a Quality Problem – we have two apartments – one on either coast – but only one has Us and our Possessions in it – the other one Awaits the arrival of the chaps-from-Edison to hook up the electricity – and a Van to arrive with our Furniture at Some Point – TBA/to be co-ordinated with Jonathan – we have other skills – packing is not one of them.

so we have decided to catch up on the lovely pile of books at home.

418485-L viewer-1 viewer-1 viewer-2 viewer

and now we’ve finished the Amy Ephron (it was Jolly good – highly recommended), we are taking it Uptown (East – very fashionable) to read the funny bits out to someone who isn’t feeling too well at All and sip tea (so soothing).

before returning to our (current) new york Apartment to start dialing Friends* on the (pale ballet slipper pink) princess phone to wish them a glorious 2013.

*this can be staggered throughout the evening as we have Friends on many continents – some of whom we actually know in RL too.

but. not. all (as yet).

a final word from our new find – Doris Langley Moore

viewer viewer-4



oh. wait.


Nancy needs the last word.

viewer-1 viewer-3


we are absolutely Convinced that Nancy spent many a new year’s eve pretending that she was going to attend the Ambassador’s party, but at the last moment, slipped into a soft cotton robe and scrapbooked-the-past-year (using those little gilt photograph corners with proper glue and a stick to apply it) – and then Telephoned England to gossip – and Wrote Letters.

we shall endeavo(u)r to do the same.

most excellent.

happy new year darlings!


what did You want to become, darlings?

when you were small (playground size and we don’t mean those dodgy clubs south of the river where the cabs don’t go)……what did you want to be?


we used to pour over Magazines (we still do) and dream of becoming Noel Coward and (note Not Or but And) Cecil Beaton and Nancy Mitford.

plus ca change then darlings….

but You?

what/who/inWhatForm did you want to become as a “grown-up”?

we never really became disillusioned with our dreams because we sort of don’t listen to dull people (Noel, Cecil and Nancy taught us well). viewer-2 viewer-3 Yes, there are moments when we think: “oh dear god(s), how are we going to make a living Next?!”

but then we remember we’ve done this So many times and had So many Adventures – real ones – in Foreign far-off Lands or just dreamed of in the back of a pub in Camden Town or while a teenager and walking despairingly across the cliffs of southern england with nothing in our pockets but a crumpled pound note (pre coins, love) and then suddenly (or, you know, a decade later) there we are – in Milan – about to get up on stage to talk in front of a room of GORGEOUS people after a famous fashion designer (ok, Donatella, there, we Said it) and thought, “Yes! this is Exactly how we imagined it”.

plus who could get worried about the Future when there are twinkle lights and a portrait of Jean done by Bailey to enjoy chez teamgloria.

as we said to a good friend the other day – the point is to Dream.

and then we made them smile, slowly, when we said:

we never wanted to be Moneypenny
we wanted to be James.
and now we’re heading towards being M (Judi, not the new chap – oops – did we just ruin Skyfall for you?)

so, darlings.

what did you want to become when you grew up?

and are you there yet?

it’s good isn’t it?


and all that jazz.

(we saw you at the back on the Other coast with that hand action – very good – actually remarkably sprightly if we do say so – Bob – can we call him Bob? he would have loved that move. well, Bob invented that move. right?)


view from a train window



we are en route to the country to spend time with friends who have-a-house-in-the-hamptons-South(always a delicious prospect and eagerly anticipated)

We hesitated over details with the generous invitation…..

We can drive together from the City.


It’ll be no trouble.

Frowning (prettily):

the Train sounds good.



Oh. You’re going to do a whole teamgloria-trip aren’t you? That’s why you want to take the Train?


We love it when our friends Understand.

So we packed the elegantly battered brown leather weekend bag (as seen in those Rat Pack esque movies with Mr.Pitt and Mr.Clooney); camera, sunglasses, pashmina and noel coward blue-blue robe.


Gave a little pat to the Plant that Gym C brought over today as a gift (he’s in town from the Other Coast and we had a delicious coffee,  chat and a walk around the neighbo(u)rhood.)

And got a cab to Penn Station.

Initially we were a Tiny bit disappointed by the Other passengers.

But when we changed at Jamaica (long island), some other brown leather bags, a lot like ours, got on and we nestled into the slightly off season at the Pier green seats (on the top deck – quelle delicious – a Japanese style two deck Train!) and opened up our picnic snack, mineral water and improving magazines from Europe.

The owners of the other Mr.Pitt and Mr.Clooney weekend bags are similarly engaged in reading New York Magazine or mind expanding Indian spiritual literature (in translation) alternating with what looks like a Game on a backlit digital device, perhaps as a light relief to the Eastern Philosophy.

We Are looking forward to our arrival at the Other end where our hosts will meet our train; almost as if we are a Nancy Mitford type, recently returned to Norfolk with gossip from The Continent.

Quelle fabulous.

A night in the Country.

Photographs post breakfast.

And a puppy called Daisy.


re-shelving nancy mitford @mcnallyjackson


does it still count as the dog days of summer*?

or now that the (fake) fur collared chunky knit sweaters are in the shop windows and the light dimmed a little earlier than we expected this evening, surely this means fall (or autumn) is on its way?

we had a lovely day. did you?

it started later than usual (jet lag/L.A time) but there was a lot of reading, some excellent swimming (so odd to be back in the lane with a slick black swim cap on, next to thrashing young athletes in goggles, after a week of rooftop, long’ish hair back in a low ponytail and the freckles joining up, blushing at the sun’s attention, creating a light yet attractive tan), just a small amount of socializing and then some hunting for a new book to read.

amusing dialogue in the bookshop just now.

man-at-information-desk: “have I read The Ice Storm?”

teamgloria: “no. who wrote it?”

(although we were then dying to ask – well, yes, have you? and did you see the movie first and then buy the book – like we did? wasn’t S Weaver Extraordinary in her mid to late 70s carmen roller-done-hair-do? have you ever been to CT and been stuck in an actual ice storm? we have. a few years ago. on boxing day or st stephen’s day or the day-after-christmas-day. there – on the train platform – a bloody great ice storm started chucking it down and we ducked onto the train as soon as it arrived, grateful to be drying off and out of the dangerous ice floes falling en route back to manhattan)

man-at-information-desk: “Oh.” (unless he was psychic – and that is possible – this is a Very Good Bookshop – he heard none of our intense in-head-dialogue – he checked the computer instead) “Rick Moody”.

teamgloria: “Right!” (looks around slightly helplessly, with jet lag).

man-at-information-desk: “Rick Moody: The Ice Storm: American Literature, Rick Moody: The Diviners: American Literature…” (he reels off all of the Rick Moodys in the shop).

teamgloria: (bit desperately now) “Where is American Literature?”

man-at-information-desk: “I’ll show you.” (he stands up – a tall glass of water indeed, as they say in TX – and marches off towards the back of the store).

teamgloria (much smaller legs, hurries behind) and they stop short in front of all the Rick  Moodys on offer.

and – bizarrely – a Nancy Mitford.

we picked The Diviners and then (helpfully) re-shelved the Nancy Mitford, back in English Literature (although if there were an Expat Section, we would have placed her there as she lived mostly in Paris, as you know. That’s Paris, France, not Paris, Texas).

gosh. just noticed. British and Irish Literature. That’s odd. in NYC there’s such a focus on Irish Ancestry that an entire section is usually given over to the Emerald Isle. Hmmm. Interesting.

we had some more amusing (to us) dialogue on the way out….

cashier: “would you like a bag?”

teamgloria: “no thank you” (pointing helpfully to swimming bag and across-the-shoulder-messenger-bag in black from elizabeth street)

cashier: “here’s your receipt – would you like a bag?”

teamgloria: “um, no thanks” (mad pointing again)

cashier: (hands over Rick Moody book) “oh god, I was just going to ask you if you wanted a bag again”

teamgloria: (backing away gently) “i’m going to go now”

cashier: “have a beautiful night!”

teamgloria: “you too!”

(clearly he was from California – probably Santa Cruz – he had that sort of sea-salt-sun-bleached curly hair – New Yorkers are firm and dismissive with the traditional parting shot of “Have a Great Night” which is sort of a demand and quite clipped – but we could be reading too much cultural significance into this exchange and, let’s face it, that wouldn’t be the first time we have.)

the heat was stifling today so we’re sure the bookshop people were quite frazzled and tired (and the lovely thing about mcnally jackson is that it stays open Very Late which is so useful when you’re lying at home on the sofa and it’s too hot to sleep, even with the AC on full blast which feels so Awful for the Environment and life Would Be So Much Better with a copy of an Italian fashion magazine so one pops down there and buys one and sips an Italian soda with a slurp of raspberry cordial in it – refreshing, both).

Then with all that thought of Paris (Nancy Mitford and her place of residence for many years), we went to Cafe Gitane, sat at the zinc-top-bar and had a delicious frothy coffee (we can do that late in the day because tomorrow is another holiday in the USA and we can stay up into the small hours should we so desire – of course that will make tuesday hard – but to quote the one in the red shoes – right? – (Tuesday) is another day)

on the way home we saw that someone with a delicious sense of fun (or vandalism, depending on your Voting Pattern) has been In Town while most of the middle classes (and those with actual money) are far away in the beach towns and expensive-handbag-shops, trying to get a reservation for supper before a last hurrah by the ocean with the liberal application of aloe vera on that sunburn.

we’re sure Nancy would have stifled a giggle as she was walking a small dog, a bag of books from the Lending Library in a cloth bag from Marseille, hanging loosely over the crook in her left arm.

*talking of the dog days of summer: our lovely friend and concierge-to-the-hip-chic-and-time-pressed, Jonathan, told us about a short story competition – the details are here – we’re going to enter – are you? it’s not the prize so much (although we Adore a Prize) but the idea of being in a short story collection that is left in every room at a Standard Hotel (where such rock star types stay) is truly delicious.

the only problem (and let’s face it, it’s a luxury one and Quite Modern as William would say) is which name we’ll use…………gloria nimbus (for tis the name on one of our emails), or teamgloria (which is sort of becoming an actual Brand – if the book deal comes off) or the original name we were published under as a journalist (which we don’t use at all anymore but is the one on our British Passport) or the name we use professionally in our soon-to-be-ending Corporate Job in Corporate America?


such choices.

and such a metaphysical and modern dilemma.


off to see some unfeasibly good-looking-french-people now.