dogs in portugal, flowers in berlin and the hollywood prom.

hello darlings!

the sightings are coming in thick and Fast now!

here are our (furry) siblings in Portugal.

*bites_lip*

you see – the last time who-we-are-in-RL was there she could not mention the name gloria so we are always touched with a little sadness – and hope – but we did our Best while going through the whole Tobias-and-his-sisters time…….

you know how it is..

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IMG_0026 IMG_0028our (furry) siblings look like they are slightly bemused by the book (well they mostly speak Portuguese or “dog”)

but Toby really got into the “inspiration” section because, in a former life, he was a world travel(l)er and did the Grand Tour, you see.

IMG_0025AND 1726.6 miles to the East – Maggie in Berlin got her copy and sent pictures of the Book enjoying the scent of freshly cut flowers:

Processed with VSCOcam with se1 presetartfully arranged (well, tis Berlin – Art is Sustenance over there).

and she also wanted to express her deepest affection for the book – and her choice in chic turtlenecks (isn’t aubergine a striking shade?)ca390eb4a22511e3ab8c0e26c82a83f6_8and some of her friends (also in Berlin – and one in Austria who is still waiting for her copy to arrive as mr. Amazon hasn’t got over the Alps yet) made some nice comments:

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we Are feeling Terribly Continental all of a sudden.

what else?

let’s see…..

ah yes.

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we went to El Royale to see Le Duc yesterday for a cup of tea and an elegant bowl of mixed berries and we *giggled* at his fireplace (apparently Miss. Netflix has an eternal looping virtual fire “screensaver” one can transmit on one’s largescale television unit). 793782faa22211e3be7a1240bc19271b_8

back at home, it’s been Raining (we didn’t take photographs because we’re certainly Not going to dash your image of Los Angeles – it only happens once a decade).

so we curled up with a new find – the Autobiography of Audrey Withers (yes, darlings, the Editor in Chief of Vogue – “brogue” – the British one during the 1940s and on into the 60s). – more from Miss Withers when we’ve finished the book – it’s a delightful read. d558b246a19d11e38bd40e22c5f7ee48_8as was the Financial Times yesterday (not the front section, that was awfully depressing, but the interiors and arts coverage and fashion and the rest of it).

lovely.

so there you go.

DO send word as soon as your copy comes up the garden path wrapped up in brown paper and string with the cheery postman.

sorry?

postwoman?

gosh, how modern, good for the Royal Mail in your part of the world!

what’s that?

Not Royal?

you live in a place without a Monarchy?

*lookswithastonishmenttocamera1*

we DO?

no, no, no darlings.

we have Royals.

it’s called Hollywood.

and they’re having their prom tonightfc724170-4bb5-0131-d459-5a526f42d8c1gosh.

no.

we’re not going to the Prom tonight.

although we are going to see some friends not far away, up in the Hollywood Hills actually.

one day we’ll go to the Hollywood Prom.

but not in a dress.

at least we don’t think so.

and we’ll be there because they’ll have made the movie about us which who-we-are-in-RL spent Ever such a Long Time Writing (and it’s very good, and we don’t say that JUST because it’s about us, we’re not on every s i n g l e page).

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of course we can dream.

dreaming (and a vast amount of obsessive work) gets us into ever such interesting places.

*looks_around_smiling*

and the Book is seeing the World.

unverified reports say that it has reached ASIA!

isn’t life delicious?

 

 

 

 

 

hanging the exhibition at #snice #soho

darlings

tis strange and surreal to be back Here (where we lived for 7 years if you’ve just joined us – and Welcome if you have *winninglooktocamera*)

and rather Glorious, of course.

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we had a coffee and a bagel at the counter of a 1929 coffee shop on Fifth and it all felt very teamgloria if you know what we mean – OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and then we met up with the lovely Jonathan (yes, from one stop nyc) who helped us Hang The Exhibition!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the landscapes (from L – R = Paris, Manhattan, Hong Kong, Taiwan) are on the large wall on the right as you walk into ‘sNice on Sullivan Street (in, SoHo, we are Enormously Grateful that we got to have a Show in SoHo, darlings)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

greg and jim are on the inside right of the front (french) doors. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

brooklyn is above the water cooler.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

nick is centre (drew is to the left but someone was standing there and we couldn’t quite ask them to move as they were Admiring the photograph) and Stacy & Zack are to the Right on the Left wall (if that’s not Too Confusing). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jorden is above the sweetners. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand Portugal is to the right of Taiwan (not in RL, just in our show – the Taiwan image has a lot of orange in it so we were trying to blend the colo(u)rs/shades/hues in some sort of Artistic Way).

and then we had Lunch with our Literary Agent at a very chic eatery and felt Quite Overwhelmed – by jet lag, by the exhibition opportunity, by being Back Here, staying with lovely friends and generally Life.

in a very good way, of course.

living la vie european inside los angeles

darlings

people who have known who-we-are-in-real-life for a Long Time, are always surprised that we ended up in los angeles.

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because they think of los angeles as a place of plastic surgery, obsessive actors-taking-hopeless-classes and a general sense of everyone-on-a-restrictive-diet.

and, from what we’ve Heard, it’s True (for many people here).

but we had a formative experience (we blush to remember exactly how many years ago but we were 13 if that gives you a ballpark of decades) of Life Lived Differently – and this was in Lisbon (Portugal, to clarify, as according to Messrs. Google, there appear to be Quite a few Lisbons on this planet).

before we proceed – there’s a soundtrack to this Post – would you like it?

lovely.

here’s what we’re listening to Right Now as we write.

yes – she has a Haunting quality to her melodious yearnings, you’re right *looksintomiddledistance*.

because we grew up (mostly) in england – a place with Many good Qualities – but not a lot of sunshine or mellow days that stretched into twilight with salt on one’s forearms from swimming and faded paperback books and freckles joining up to make one’s nose most pleasingly retroussé.

no.

those sorts of days we found in Portugal.

and it has occurred to us as we swim and lie around reading paperback books and admiring the hot sunshine toasting the hillsides and eat fresh fruit and vegetables from the farmers market and generally have a sense of wellness and joy here in L.A – that what we are doing is Living the way we learned in Lisbon all those (many) years ago.

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the landscape is even remarkably similar.

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although the carved mason-work-on-stone in portugal is usually Original and not an homage or – more likely – left over from a movie set or a millionaire trying to recreate the pre-war europe of his Youthful dreams.

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(this picture was taken on a trip to Lisbon and recorded here – in fact, just in case you’d like an In Situ account of a bit more Portugal experiences (perhaps for Heather and our other new friends – before you joined us) here are few posts from April 2012.)

now back to the book-at-hand (literally finishing it now because the Library just emailed us to say it is Due Back on Tuesday)

summerdoorways

someone else who lived in america and fell in love with la vie european is the poet w.s. merwin who wrote the most extraordinary memoir called Summer Doorways. It is extraordinary because, as a young American, he dreamed of a EUROPE that he knew must exist but he had never experienced and the way it slowly unfolds before his mind’s eye is soothing and tranquil and Rather magical.

Life presented opportunities (as it so often does when one is open and ready with a magical glint in one’s eye and a small overnight bag packed) and took work as a tutor.

These jobs ranged over a few summers and w.s. merwin found himself exploring EUROPE with pretenders to the portuguese throne’s young relatives and staying in villas in Italy circa early 1950s.

on one particular summer, w.s. merwin drove with the Braganza family members from their summer lodgings in france through spain to portugal (does one have to go through another country first? hold on. asking messrs. Google –  – ah – look! quelle journey-by-Motor-car!)

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and the Portugal that he found was most definitely not just La Vie European but also a way of life not seen in many countries by the early 50s.
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may we share a few more lines with you from w.s. merwin?

(p. 208)
there were still minstrels in the mountains, men who wandered, with musical instruments, a sack, and a shepherd’s blanket. The quinta courtyard had been one of their stopping places, since some period in the past…..the one who came most often was a tall, old, blind man with a beard, who put his hand on the rim of the well and stood looking upward. He had a large, beautiful zither, which he played with great delicacy, and sang songs of longing and mourning……the words were as impossible to grasp or retain as filaments of mist.

(p.214)
Summer lasted late along the small valley. It was summer light that lingered in honeyed beams through the afternoons, over the small fields, and lit up the car track across the river, the bronze hides of the oxen, the mud-caked cart wheels turning slowly and wailing, the wisps of mauve smoke climbing……..By late morning the summer seemed to be back again, the season in which we had come……

the future poet’s experience of EUROPE was somewhat strange, especially for a young american man, as Tutor to the offspring of once glorious nobles – now most exiled or roaming other places looking for a home or a new place to belong while longingly looking over borders they could no longer cross but they still wanted their sons to learn about Shakespeare and converse in ancient dialects of privilege.

(p.214)
So we would move out of the farmhouse to Estoril, and a villa next door to the one belonging to the exiled King of Spain, and there Anthony would meet Juanito, who would one day be the King, and we would all play kick the can in the walled garden, and dorothy and I would sit in the same small movie house with King Mark of Rumania and Umberto of Italy, both of whom lived nearby. We would have an apartment above the carriage house and stable, and I would go riding with the Comte’s head groom, up over the mountain to Sintra and its palace on the other side. We would explore Lisbon, and travel across Spain on milk trains, and I would visit Robert Graves on Mallorca , who would turn out to need a tutor for his son and would offer me the job.

thanks to the lovely clever people at NPR, it sounds as if w. s. merwin went on – to France – and wrote about Troubadours and chivalry and verse and stone houses covered in brambles – we shall Request This Item from the Beverly Hills Library at Once!

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so – as you can see – our life in Los Angeles has much to recommend it to someone who learned La Vie european – like w. s. merwin – in Portugal. Twilight in February sets off the Gucci ad and neon pinkness of Chateau Marmont Most Beautifully.

now – before we leave you – a Most Lovely surprising compliment from Korea.

Ms. Heej Lee, our friend on Instagram, who resides in Seoul, left us a darling note to say how much our photographs of recumbent linens soothes her when she visits our photographs during what is mid-afternoon in her part of the Planet. linens

and so – in hono(u) of Ms. Lee – a few more from this morning – captured in the morning light. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

this morning we woke up Particularly rested after a remarkably Fine Friday during which we spoke to our literary agent in NYC (such a lovely sentence to write) as the contract is Nearly Done for book 1 and then took a walk along sunset at dusk with Eric Shaw Quinn from The Dinner Party Show – both Most delicious events – but perhaps the Most Glorious bit of our day – which we cannot really tell you about as we are Discreet about RL events and so-on-as you understand we Must be – was standing outside Stage 6 (where Jane, Dolly and Lily frolicked) smiling in the sunshine because we were Just too happy to drive quite yet.

 

Into town: hats, gloves and Radio 4 and barrel-making in a Portuguese village square.

It started beautifully (coffee, the sunshine-y view over the green hills, Laurie Lee to read and birdsong and dogs barking happily at imaginary rabbits) and ended peacefully (light supper, family Telly viewing of vintage British-ness).

And, in between, there were long(ish) drives to and from Lisbon, listening to radio 4 and companionship (we could have done without the ‘single still?’ comment but considering we’ve had Quite a Lot of family of Origin time in the past few days, that was easily smiled-at and talk of lovers and friends and anti-domesticity and love-of-adventure and probably-not-settling-down-again at least not-in-the-traditional-sense and all was Well ;)

In Lisbon?

Ah.

Very teamgloria-type-shop-window-admiring-ness, darlings – 1920s glove emporium, an 1885 hat shop, vintage books and faded cartes postales.

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And a Most curious and Unexpected stop at one of the last barrel makers in Portugal in a village where we were also invited to see an olive press from napoleonic times and a slow stroll through the tiny square, kissing on both cheeks those to whom we were introduced and a cheery “boa tarde!” to the surprise of others (we Do like to be friendly and locally-engaging).

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Back to the Quinta. To watch British vintage Telly. And admire the fullness of nightfall.

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A dog just paused outside our door.

This has been the only really sad moment of our trip.

Usually we love Nothing More than a dog snuffling and dreaming and sighing at the end of the bed.

But the Scar is a bit afraid of scratches.

So we had to keep the door closed.

That feels weird.

And sad.

Not as weird and sad as we felt at Madrid airport en route to Lisbon, when we felt too, too tired and scratchy and a bit Nervy about coming here.

And now we feel Relaxed and grateful.

and ever so slim and freckled and lots-of-deep-breathing-relaxed-ness.

How on Earth are we going to re-enter the sniper fire of midtown manhattan?

Gosh.

Perhaps we are Just too European to do it for that much longer…….

The Fates will decide.

Not us.

That much we know ;)

Packed and not at all prepared for what’s next.

And feeling nice and loose and relaxed about the Prospect, actually.

How have You been?

We do miss you.

reading in bed, smiling at the sunshine on trees outside the window.

sometimes, when we’re here, in Portugal, we remember being 13 (when we first came for a Visit) and how we dreamed of being GrownUp with an apartment and a job and international travel and money to buy books and afternoons in cafes, writing sophisticated screenplays and A Diary full of wicked-and-wonderful-tales and friends and lovers and a long blue-blue-dressing-gown (like Noel Coward).

we used to go into the city and hang out taking photographs of the Trams and tourists.

everything happened (well, we didn’t predict getting sick, but we wrote our way through it, with your help, so even That felt part of the Plan).

and this afternoon we’ll show you the tourists and the trams too ;)

for now – curling back down under the blue-blue-linens, a moment of reading and a last sip of the milky coffee that was so kindly brought in after a rat-a-tat Very British knock at the door…….and a cheery “Good Morning!”

Yes.

It is.

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a day in Portugal.

a day of driving, dogs (both excited and dozing in equal measure), lunch, Family of Origin (both heart-warming and full of sadness in equal parts), British television via satellite and excellent supper on-a-tray and more driving and much of it photographed to share with You.

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We’ve always known a blog helps.

Even when we can’t write in Great Detail.

But sometimes just knowing that many of you walked us through you-know-what. Both those of you who know us in RL and those of you who only know us Here (and goodness knows we are More us here than Out There it feels). The thing is, we couldn’t tell them about Tobias the tumor story while it was happening. For many reasons. Some were good reasons (how do you tell your parents you are waiting to see if you have cancer?). Others were not necessarily good but necessary reasons (not everyone can Cope when stuff is not happening to them but to others and they are frightened and perhaps ill equipped). And god knows they have Their Own Issues (there are many reasons we find it Helpful to Have. A. Therapist, darlings).

What we are trying to say is that today was easier because we knew you’d be there at the end of it.

Thank you.

Hope you like the photographs.

It made today more beautiful looking for beauty to share here later.

A couple of times we almost let the name gloria slip ;)

In time, we guess, we will tell.

And if you’re reading this then – we did the best we could at the time.