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. 

sunday on the eastern kentish coast


after the surprising sunshine of yesterday there was a return to the customary dampen gloom of an english wintry day – and lovely it was too – with plenty of stops for hot mugs of tea and a Proper Breakfast, a Bracing Walk across the Blustery beach, admiring everyone’s labradors who were enjoying the Weather most Especially and a drive through country roads and high streets with vintage cinemas and more teashops (vicar) and now we’re sitting in the kitchen (isn’t that delightful*?)


William has many diverse cultural interests and allegiances. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and a lovely glow in his living room. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

we took a trip to Westgate-on-SeaOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

where we enjoyed a significantly splendid british breakfast (William had the “Veg option”).

then we took a trip further along the coast to RamsgateOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

even the statues needed a warm scarf on a day like today (does that remind You of the Andy Williams rendition too? Thought so.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

William has Very Grand friends who like to send Thank you Cards. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA




back gardens and slightly steamed up windows (not shown) because the kettle’s on. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the quiet blue light in the Study upstairs – with a very collectible Ercol chair upholstered and refurbished by someone in the Village with a vintage blanket (very comfy and splendid for reading Coleridge – a large tome of which is nearby).

this is something that William found from an artist called Della Scales at Cockpit Arts in Deptford – stained glass is very elegant and also surprising, especially with an insert of a 1960s style Zoom ice lolly from Lyons MaidOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

ah. peaceful days. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and a quiet sunday with a ticking clock in the kitchen and the Papers (actually printed material with the glossy sunday supplements).


*talking of delightful, William (with whom we are staying at the Eastern Kentish Coast this weekend) came up with a tumblr link to many other descriptive words to say delightful.

we share them with you here, darlings.

and yes, we’ll be using them Shortly.

15 Wonderful Words for Delightful Experiences

    The scent of rain on dry ground.
    Easy on the eyes.
    Merry enjoyment, delight.
    Good for the health.
    To take luxurious pleasure in something.
    Having a gentle, sweet way of speaking.
    A cozy little room.
    Soothing, agreeable speech.
    The quality of sounding good or pleasing to the ear.
    Having a comfort-loving, easygoing, social personality.
    Pleasure, enjoyment.
    A source of delight.
    A lover of beautiful things.

England. A source of OBLECTAMENT.

it’ll take a while to get used to differently descriptive words.

but it’s all delicious.

what an amazing journey this has been!

tomorrow there will be a train into London and then two planes – one to get into America and through international Immigration (with the Green Card for the 1st time!!) and then a layover (don’t panic – b r e a t h e – ) a pretty long one actually – and then a flight to Los Angeles.

and home.

it’s been over two weeks and we’ve been all the way round the world – at least to below the equator and into the middle east and across to England and back via Brooklyn to Hollywood.


farewell, cape town and thank you @thebookmarks @nikkicockcroft @FNBSA


we fly in just a few hours……the black town car will arrive and we shall slip into the back with our sadness hid behind dark glasses for this has been a tremendous trip, we have learned much and met some Superb examples of human people including the Deeply Impressive and glorious Ms. Cockcroft to whom we give a most heartfelt thanks for bringing us to South Africa (and to our delightful sponsor FNB as well a merry wave)


and attended a small village fete in the sort of church hall that one would have had a tap dance recital circa 1953. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

with a message close to our own heart. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

ah, memories of Kent for the Colonial expat ;-)

a deep reverence for Mr. Gandhi at the Mount Nelson. 

for a breakfast this morning with two very sophisticated business women (thank you dears!)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand now we must take our leave of fair Cape Town.

see you in Whitstable (if we locate a US to UK charger so our devices all work that is – which May not be possible – so radio silence is entirely likely until Tuesday, darlings – EEK!)

here goes………flight 7 of 10……and the l o n g journey back to Los Angeles.

isn’t life glorious?

dawn over dubai and sunset over south africa.


we’re HERE!



it’s extraordinary being (back) here and every time one looks up there it is  – a bloody great Mountain (Table Mountain) in the middle of the City.

Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 9.19.31 PM

now this was the view over DUBAI at 6AM this morning where we changed planes in the middle of a desert – which was glorious – but an airport that appeared to be slipped onto the sides of a vastness of a shopping mall (which was rather depressing).

and now here we are: latitude 33° 56′ S which means 33 degrees and 56 minutes from the EQUATOR *shivers* also known as Cape Town, South Africa. 

isn’t it lovely?

take a look:


the twinkling lights….OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the soft glow of a warm sub-equatorial eveningOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


slowly fading into pink then night fell. 


as we took a post 16 hours of flying stroll around the Woodstock area we heard shouts of triumph and clapping and, well, we like both those sound effects (or FX as they call them in Hollywood), and so we walked towards the location of the aforementioned sounds and found a football (or soccer, depending on where You come from) match was taking place.

shyly (for we are in-RL) we took a seat amongst the spectators and started up a conversation and it was glorious because we felt Instantly at Home.


and now we must turn in and do a little work for that is Why we are Here.

most grateful we are too.

before we leave you, we would be remiss if we did not share a link to the History of Cape Town –  it is a fascinating account and yet, as you probably know, sadly much of it contains some truly awful historical (and not-so-historical) occasions and Attitudes.

which is why we felt grateful to have a moment of connection on a bench overlooking a football match as the twinkling lights flickered over the bay and the sunset blazed crimson behind table mountain.

these are the moments that make memories.