@BklynQly publishes our picture of the chandelier tree #weadoreachandelier


firstly those lovely post-grads in Capote-esque scarves have published one of our photographs. 

Screen Shot 2013-07-22 at 1.47.47 PMdo you remember they sent us a lovely note Requesting Permission?

because the Author of the story – A. Shields – had seen our photograph of the Chandelier Tree (#weadoreachandelier as you know, love)

it’s a gripping story.

and weirdly one of the lead characters is called……..well……read on

My sister said once that knowing who we’re capable of betraying—and who we’re not capable of betraying—revealed the aim of our purest desire. Sophia entered this world equipped with a finely tuned lie detector, and she believed that too much pretense was as deadly to that desire as a clear, poisonous gas was to our lives. When we were children, she was the only person I knew who was entirely alive. Because of her, I was too, when I was a boy.

yes, curious.

who-we-are-in-RL did not inspire this tale, as far as we know.

although we cannot find anything on A. Shields in the contributors’ page so perhaps tis a pseudonym (how exciting).

and In Other News as they used to say on the British Broadcasting Corporation:

what have we been up to?

well – there has been some Deeply Interesting Work which who-we-are-in-RL said we’re Not allowed to Talk About


and – well – you know – OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

a Lot of reading (and research)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

taking time (very important) to admire a rose

or an entire bouquet


a lovely old newspaper office in Pasadena.


and brunch at The Ivy.



tis a Very Good Life indeed.

if one plans, works hard and then just gets to see-what-transpires.

jolly exciting stuff.

solitude and reading in silence.


a lovely sunday – how was yours?

snowy, in many areas – from London to Paris and Berlin – according to the lens on many varied and wonderful lives that is instagram.

but there are still roses, blood red roses, clinging to the whitewashed walls far up the island of manhattan as Joseph just sent a lovely photograph.

Here in los angeles? Hot. And sunny. Divine.

After the Drama of waking up on the Floor due to the aero bed collapsing (rogue nail on floor), we headed out early – no fan of shopping per se – and got to The store “bed, bath and beyond”(what *would* be beyond?) while the shop associates were still engaged in their morning Pep Talk from a middle-aged chap in a shirt and tie but no jacket (for tis 70+ degrees Here right now and perhaps BBB is not what one would call a Formal Establishment).

A lady in Vivid lipstick and a kind.smile Pounced on us and asked if we needed Help.

Yes. And we have a List.

We said, calmly (although we get very overwhelmed in Large Shops).


They said, most enthusiastically, and we held out the List in defense to stay on track (we are rarely swayed by the opportunistic lunch boxes or strange vast bags of mini chocolates positioned en route).

We managed to get in and out in 20 mins, zooming out of the multistorey car park in record time; List Fulfilled.

The new aero bed is fabulous.

After a long walk around the new locale, we decided to spend hours with our pile of library books, a bowl of vaguely healthy cereal and lots of lemon-slices-in-cool-water.



Admiring the sunset flitting through the screen behind the window….


Getting up occasionally to re-position the new scented (lavender and fresh cotton) city-gents-striped drawer and shelf liners.


As you see, we have very little On the shelves. But they are now prepped for our belongings to arrive.

We lie in solitude; reading in silence.

Feeling very lucky to be back.

And feeling as if we are changing rapidly. New responses to what would have floored us before. Pressure Of other’s expectations. We cannot slip back into old patterns. We have learned much by writing here and exploring the world – literally and figuratively – by camera and by pen (or digital keyboard). Not everyone appears to grasp that gloria is our best self. So dismissing this. Or ignoring it is really just a way of showing us that they don’t know us at all.

But there again it took tobias and his sisters to reveal So much that we had never acknowledged.

Recently someone said:

But everything is all right Now, right??

And we smiled sadly and said:

It doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

And they seemed annoyed. Like one is Just meant to get Over Things.

We don’t need to talk about tobias. But we are not going to pretend it didn’t happen just so other people can feel safe. Things happen.

What one Does with it is the great thing.

And on a personal note (actually all of this is personal, darlings), we decided that swallowing our words and frustrations and true feelings might Well have contributed to getting three Tumo(u)rs in our Throat.

So we’re not going to do That again.

Because we don’t want to wake up after surgery again. In so Much pain we thought we would never recover. We prefer the sunshine peeking through the white 80s style blinds in California and a blue blue sky.



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!”


It is.





medical leave day 10: the responses of others. #sickbedtales

first we’d like to share a couple of photographs – and then a little social commentary, darlings (yes, our flesh may be Very Weak, but the GLORIAous mind is starting – slowly but surely – to RETURN. we had missed it dreadfully…..)

sick bed roses (we move everything from bedroom to living room like an edwardian housemaid so remain in full view – or should that be the roses in full sight – not we of them – or perhaps tis true the first way around)

HURRAH! we are now down from 21 pills (gulp) a day to 7. (the egg cup Is Nice, isn’t it? Peter Jones, love.)

we took a little (solo!) walk today – very tentatively – and saw our therapist (as you can imagine, we had a Lot To Talk About – and yet so little of a voice to say it in – but we are terribly expressive with our eyes) and then stopped for a cup of tea and had one of those tremendously reassuring feelings of “all will be well; in its own good time: the universe will reveal what is next: just drink your tea, write, read and be quiet and get well”

not exactly a voice from the heavens but a small rather english-accented with an irish lilt – a little Julie Christie* perhaps – just saying “take it easy” – rather nice.

*we once took a meditation class, in los angeles, but it wasn’t what we expected. the man leading it was in a frock – but he was a member of the clergy of some episcopal’ish denomination as we recall not, alas, one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (although we did go to a canonisation/canonization of our dear late friend Jackie Forster by their British sisters on a dark rainy night in Holborn many moons ago). anyway, he told us to have a mantra (yeah, it was a church in Los Angeles) and so we chose “julie christie” ;-)


are we not meant to reveal our mantra?

(ED: no, that’s just transcendental meditation).


ok – social commentary.

the reactions of others (to our surgery and illness and subsequent languishing at home for confinement period of three weeks) has completely fallen four distinct camps: in quite a Curious Way. and we thought Worth Noting.

firstly, to more learned sources than we: perhaps Pamela Frankau could help us out with a quote from her most excellent book: Pen to Paper, a novelist’s notebook.

AMERICANS: passionate for physical health: take endless trouble to avoid death.

ENGLISH: find ill-health not only interesting but respectable and often experience death in the effort to avoid a fuss.

clever, right?

so here’s our experience:

Americans fall very clearly into two camps/

camp A: those who Have Experienced Illness First-Hand (or very spiritual types who just get it).

they get the requirements of the sick person are consistency – one must show up and definitely on schedule or despair engulfs the one lying in somewhat less than glamorous circumstances – and how nice it is to get cards in the post – mostly to divert from the awful medical bills flooding in – and bringing something soothing is not only kind but deeply appreciated – often to bring diversion to what becomes a pretty small existence. these people are also really good at empathizing with details (“isn’t it just great how peacock-like the fit 30-something surgical team are?!” OR “yeah, it sucks how much the resident that signs you out looks about 12, right?”) these #sickbedtales are helpful. looking someone in the eye who knows, first-hand, how demoralizing it is to carry your IV on a little trolley to the bathroom at 3AM after a sleepless night and catch sight (“DEAR GOD!!!!”) of oneself in the harsh light of the overhead by the little sink, is Very Comforting. these people never stay too long. they know that one gets exhausted. but their visits are a dream and we are Most Grateful.

camp B: very healthy americans who have Never Been in Hospital for Surgery or those that HAVE and do NOT Want to be Reminded, thank you very much it’s all over now, clearly. 

then there are those (not always with an American passport by the way) who have Never Been Ill (we sympathize entirely, we had never been sick prior to this experience) and appear to be terrified of not only contact but doing the wrong thing or breaking us or admitting that one day they could be where we are (and we Thought we made it look so Vulnerable and rather Sweet). we don’t tend to hear – or see much – from these people. or they do a cheery phonecall/txt with a defiant roar of “it’ll all be better soon” (eventually, yes. today, nope.)

the ones that HAVE been to hospital and are now back at work several hours (we are not jesting here, we’ve Seen It at the Day Job) later, skin green from radiation, having left their blazer on the back of their chair so Nobody Knew They Were Gone (we once had a boss who did this during her remarkably short maternity leave)  do Not Want to Talk About It. they just want us to reassure them we are “completely on the mend” (huh? we just had Surgery a week ago.)  we have compassion (but not much time) for these people. we have seen so many people get sick over and over and over again because they didn’t take the time to sink into the experience and fully recover and learn at least something (even if it’s just a new skill like embroidery).

and what of other nations?

glad you asked – as you know team gloria is awfully richly endowed with friends across the globe, due to the bloods of three warring nations in our veins (more about our blood here in an earlier post if you’re curious) and also due to la vie jet set

camp c: the continental europeans are on a direct line to the Supreme Being, of course

these friends & acquaintances are comfortingly of the mindset that illness is a place one goes when one needs spiritual sustenance before one re-emerges to do one’s duty to one’s nation again. the people in this camp are mostly either titled, rich or both (not always possible in post-war europe). those born into more humble circumstances (like team gloria – alas any title/riches of aforementioned bloodline Long Gone in the mists of Time) are never quite as convinced of their role to the nation state. we shan’t get into politics here ;-) bizarrely we do seem to number a few from les ancients regimes among our “crowd” and many of our work colleagues in Other Lands have surnames that are dead-give-aways that their ancestors ruled part of Italy/Spain/France/Ruritania/etc. isn’t it just so surprising that so many corporations in france, for example, are run by people with “de” or “du” in their surnames despite the singular fact of you-know-what. 

and what of the British?

Ah yes.

camp D: those from whence the Empire roared, once upon a time. 

D (i) there are two types but not so defined as the Americans so we are going to use the roman numerals i and ii for these

(i) the British are curious: and most pretty much fit into the Pamela Frankau quote – illness is a respectable enough period of one’s life – in fits and starts – with nice vigorous bouts of gardening and DIY in between. this is nice. one feels treasured and cosseted but also aware that one will be sparkly again. at some point. many of these people call at the last minute “how was it?” as if one just got a new fridge/freezer from Hotpoint. we’re going to wait a little while before we respond to these calls as we know there’ll be the sentence “no milk spilt” and we can’t remember the (polite) response. there are also the people (no, you can’t possibly expect us to be explicitly sexist – can you?) who roar “it’ll ALL BE OK”. right. thanks for that. and thanks ever so much for your cards and flowers (wherever they got to).

(ii) national treasures. some British are Salt of the Earth (“there’ll be a something on the hillside, there’ll be something else on the Dale” la la la) do really good care packages with a sense of naughtiness to off-set any sentimentality (which one can indulge in only when turning away to take the golden toffee from the Quality Street tin at Christmas). these people are DELICIOUS (you know who you are). and they also do Really Good Video Diaries and post them via the interweb and we lie on the sofa weakly laughing and then doing a *little sob*

there are of course HYBRIDS:

(a) national treasures/americans who have been sick and get it (these people often had British Mummies)

(b) continental europeans/but from vastly more egalitarian nations (and they are Excellent on Instagram)


and then there are virtual friends. (no, not imaginary friends – and of course, yes, we do Have Those).

we mean interweb-friends-often-with-pseudonym.

these relationships are incredibly rich and very pure (sometimes almost medieval knight-and-lady…….of any/both/either gender combination – we are remarkably modern – online – ahem ;-)

these relationships are purely words (or purely pictures-with-captions) and are so clear, helpful, “here’s my experience” and elegant (virtual peonies had us weeping for hours). these virtual friends are from as far afield as berlin, london and sydney (or do you live in melbourne, dear J?) and, of course, the Other Coast.

do you know of anymore? do tell us about Your Experience in the “do say something, do” box at the end.

and then there’s JM: a most splendid visitor this evening. definitely from the been-there-worn-the-hospital-gown, also very spiritual and has the Most Beautiful reading voice. he asked all the right questions. laughed at our impression of the 12 year old resident attempting to give us a sheaf of naughty “scrips” despite our No-Opiates! cry. and then we got very tired and he topped up our tea and we grabbed the cashmere scarf and held it close to the black (hard to find but so much nicer) pashmina and he read to us. Not, this evening, from Armistead, but something more personal, of his choice.

it was EXACTLY what we needed.

ps: we are aware that we may have been a Tiny Bit Critical in this post. get your own Surgery and confinement experience and your own blog and we’ll link to you for – um – balance. *gasp* #naughtyteamgloria.

convalescence companions: bedside tales.

in preparation for our bedside vigil at the witness of the slit throat people keep asking (which is VERY thoughtful) “what can we do? ” and we think about the person offering and come up with answers.

sometimes we ask for a mix-tape (or whatever young people call a bunch of tracks to get well to), or a list of their favorite/favourite movies so we can feverishly have a good excuse to use the commercial interweb. we saw a friend recently whom we might ask to take us for a ride in their car to see the east river if we are mobile enough.

and then there’s d.

who has the Best Speaking Voice.

“will you come and read Tales of the City to us?”

he threw back his head and gave a deep fruity-rich laugh. “yes!”

Convalescence might not be so bad.

It’ll be nice not to ride the subway for a few weeks.

sometimes it feels like the jaws of hell.