a dainty morning moment at The Marguerite and other #whitstable seaside delights


we returned to Whitstable (rather) Late last night, courtesy of British Airways, Southern Railways and a nice East End cabbie called Mr. Macbeef (who was not flummoxed at All by the marathon shutting down the road to Victoria and did a swift detour to Kings Cross St Pancras), all the way from Ibiza (via Deia) and will be leaving for Los Angeles tomorrow.

good lord.

Quite a travel Schedule and no mistake.

but we took the time this morning to Drop in on Sophie at The Marguerite and it was a delicious visit indeed.


The Marguerite is a delightful spot to linger and dream while sitting at the wooden table, gazing out to sea (or down at one’s manuscript which is slowly shaping up to be a rather interesting novel), the sky-blue kettle almost at the boil, cups ready for tea, ice cold milk in a jug and perhaps one of Sophie’s handmade Hampers waiting to be delved into when the next page is written and spell-checked and set aside.



Sophie (much like who-we-are-in-RL) had a big fancy job (in Fashion) and decided to step off the ladder at the top and Do Something Else with her life. Part of this is The Marguerite – the rest we shall tell you about when we are given permission.


That’s Sophie in the picture above.

What’s that?



An excellent question.

That’s Dave.


Dave has his own Instagram account (shared with elder sibling-of-choice Dominic)


another excellent question.

The Marguerite (beach hut) got its name because Sophie found this portrait (see below) in a local vintage shop.


we did a little searching (you knew we would) and found that Miss Marguerite Ismay, *might* well have been the same young thing who appeared On Stage as a dancer – even as far afield as Australia in 1911 (can you imagine the journey in those days? who-we-are-in-RL and her Travels pale in comparison).

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after a lovely tramp across the pebbles and the brisk air filling our lungs, we took a turn around the Town once more to top up our Britishness (required at six month intervals to keep the Vocab up to scratch) and generally engender a sense of well-being in the soul.



so glad that William decided to move out of London and settle down in the Kentish Coast.

it’s delicious to have friends-we-have-known-for-years with seaside houses.

and new-friends-with-beach-huts, of course.

that really is extra special and no mistake.


splendid kentish seafronts and british back gardens


we are feeling MOST restored by a mini break by the seaside!


and especially calmed by a morning in the Essex Street Pleasure Gardens over at William’s house – with a visit over the fence by Burt and Dottie – and a cheery wave from the clever landscape designer and his trusty mate from next door as they dropped by to pick up some fencing parts (for an actual fence – not a Duel at Dawn – it’s not that sort of a seaside Town, at least not for the past hundred years).


you didn’t even have to ask, love.

here we go…


this is the view from the top of the house in the Herne Bay Suite – and lovely it is too. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

here is the Essex Street Pleasure Gardens in all its springtime glory (note grecian blue shed – a lovely touch).


a walk to the shops; an armful of english newspapers and a pot of tea enlivened the spirit still further and calmed the nerves.

this is Dottie (on the left, not the daises, those are called Marguerite).


this is Burt (who appears to be wrinkling up his nose in some anticipation of his tea). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwhile this is William (reading the Guardian and being very intellectual and Thoughtful – mainly because there are few funny bits in the Guardian).


and this is a poster advertising the vintage delights of Herne Bay – it’s just down the Coast – not far at all – and a gorgeous drive in the bright Kentish sunshine – and so we did Just that shortish and most delightful drive after a (light) lunch. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhere it is – Herne Bay itself!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwith a Cerulean blue sea. 


before we leave you (metaphorically) in Herne Bay…..we thought we might introduce you to one of its famous Lady Authors: Miss Evelyn Whitaker, who was born There in 1844.


pg30366.cover.mediumher work is Most Charming – and – due to the magic of the interweb – much of it has now been “digitized” and is available to read on a new-fangled device – thus allowing Miss Evelyn Whitaker – who remained anonymous much of her life, asking her publisher to keep her identity secret – to reach forward through time and sit with us while we enjoy her Tales of the past.

a little snippet?

Mr Clifford the vicar was accounted very lucky by the neighbouring clergy for having such a man, and not being exposed to all the vagaries of a young schoolmaster, or, perhaps, still worse, schoolmistress, with all the latest musical fancies of the training colleges. Neither had he to grapple with the tyranny of the leading bass nor the conceit and touchiness that seems inseparable from the tenor voice, since Mr Robins kept a firm and sensible hand on the reins, and drove that generally unmanageable team, a village choir, with the greatest discretion.

sly undertones of Austen-esque social commentary, non?

very Kentish Coast.

as Burt would say – if Burt could make his thoughts known.


actually, Burt probably can.

he’s that sort of a smart Kentish cat you see.





another Airport – and another Island.

we’ll see you late Thursday evening from a new Location.


in the meantime (*happy_smile*) – COSMOPOLITAN picked our book as (one of) their pick of the week (if you’re feeling depressed)!



reading poetry in cafes, sea breezes and spirits lifted in #whitstable


due to some last minute Decisions regarding not-feeling-well-at-all we Took a Train from Victoria Station last night (bought a refreshing cup of tea from the man on the trolley who made his way from First Class to the front carriage: milk-no-sugar-please-gosh-no-no-biscuit-thanks-ever-so-much) and some hours later………..arrived at the Coast.



the seaside air cures all.


and after a blissful full night’s sleep for the first time in *sighs* Five Days (not fun), we are slowly feeling better. a few sniffles. the tiny bit of dispirited-ness is Lifting, at last.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAas dusk fell on the town of Whitstable we walked with lovely William (he lives not far off the beach road and just a short walk from the Railway Station – long enough to have a proper conversation while the Samsonite was wheeled ahead and the bags of groceries fitted nearly in the crook of one’s arm) – and everything started to fall into place again.

especially when – as you can see – the First thing we saw as we took a Stroll Down the High Street this morning – was a BOOKSHOP.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

as befitting a british bookshop – Brian – one of the owners – who was there on the till (cash register for our American friends – and we did have a lovely chat) – there was a Large Selection (well-curated) of vintage finds, local authors and a whole shelf full of Mr. Maugham. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the Trouble with Mr. Maugham is that his famous book “Cakes & Ale” is actually a Satire (which the British do very well – but it is usually prefaced by the word Biting and it most certainly would be Here) – of, well, Whitstable.

our friend Karyn from A Penguin A Week has the full exposition of the controversy here.  

but that does not deter the good folks of Whitstable for re-claiming its prodigal son in the upcoming Literary Festival (oh dear, we would LOVED to have stayed for this but we are needed – hopefully – back in the USA by then to start a new “gig”).

Especially sad to miss this as we’d be Thrilled to see Miss Selina Hastings do her talk on Mr. Maugham and his somewhat turbulent love life and literary leanings.

gosh! Ms. Lynn Barber is Also speaking at the Literary Festival – about her new book (*makes_note_with_pencil* of new book title)

now back to Oxford Books (so named because tis on Oxford Street, Whitstable, you see)


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAalways so splendid to see a shelf of Mr. H. E. Bates


and some very teamgloria style Books for (be-bobbed and brave and british) Girls.

what did we Buy?

Something we have bought too many times to count in secondhand bookshops before – as we like to read it in cafes and then give to friends (often young people who are in need of poetry as it happens).  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfor more about the Mersey Sound and the poets Mr. McGough, Henri and Patten – there’s a lovely piece here from G. Cordon who knows his stuff. 

Then – after lunch (a simple yet nourishing meal at the Whitstable Coffee Company where we shamelessly eavesdropped on two friends of an uncertain age having a gossip because it was fascinating and useful for future novels) – we took a blustery turn by the seafront to blow the cobwebs from the brain and tousle the freshly washed hair. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand a turn down the high street.


now – don’t you find small towns always have such interesting Libraries?


Whitstable’s is a tiny bit disappointingly modern (but re-worked for the community so we shan’t complain – but we had hoped for Mullioned Windows and there were none – hence no photographs). 

but this gave us Pause.

thanks to mr. google(.co.uk) – we are able to share with you some details about Joan’s life – as it was glorious and she deserves remembrance.

Joan Cavender, who has died aged 93, was known to her many friends in Whitstable, Kent, as an ardent socialist and a person of endless optimism about the possibility of creating a just and more equal world. For many years, Joan ran the Whitstable bookshop, Pirie and Cavender, a career she took up in 1949 after the sudden death of her husband. Her strong views about literature were not always sympathetic to all the tastes of her customers.
A very important part of Joan’s generous social and political vision was an interest in worldwide politics, and it was this that drew her, after her retirement, to go and work as a volunteer teacher in the Gambia. At an age when many people might have been pleased to turn away from the responsibilities of full-time work, Joan entered with enthusiasm into the teaching of office skills to Gambian women. She described these years as among the happiest in her life. In this setting, Joan’s politics of limitless concern for every individual expressed itself in her commitment to her students.
When Joan returned to Britain, she refused, with characteristic determination, to accept more conventional meanings of retirement. A passionate supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, she went to work at the movement’s London office as an assistant to Bruce Kent. In this context she found another focus for her political convictions, in particular the idea that ordinary human beings could, by their determined actions, correct injustice and prejudice. To turn one’s back on the possibilities of the political was, for Joan, never an option, and until her final illness she maintained that constant interest in politics which she had acquired in the 1930s.
Mary Evans/The Guardian/Monday 10 April 2006
moment of silence for Joan. thank you.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA and here we are again.

with a view from the Herne Bay Suite overlooking the Essex Street Pleasure Gardens (and next door’s washing/laundry on the line).

time to sip some tea and catch up with Correspondence from Abroad.

there’s a fish supper this evening and another early night after some diverting television program(mes) on the BBC and tomorrow a fresh start with more photographs of morning coffee cups in the garden as the dew melts into the newly laid down turf.

the seaside is good for the soul.

especially when one was rather Under the Weather and Confused about the Future.


#howtostaysaneinacrazyworld having a delicious book tour – works well with small people and friends-with-fur


this is the MOST fun that one could have on a book tour – while staying at home in one’s satin slip.

firstly – a note from the Old (Boys – and now fully co-ed) School:

We’ve ordered a copy for the library!  You must sign it next time you are here!! x

*blush* Rather! *throws_beret_in_the_air*


so that’s Brighton, England.

where else has the book appeared this week?

let’s see



gosh, well, everywhere!


diego had a moment by the fireside after reading his copy. dublin

Just Add Attitude gave us the 1st sighting in DUBLIN, IRELAND!georgesighting

George even took a copy to La Belle France on his recent trip to keep a copy of his own novel company (3rd in the series, we are not-so-patiently-waiting-for-the-4th)jamieequinox

the book got a workout with a Top Trainer at an undisclosed (although quite clearly overlooking the Ocean) Location here in Tinseltown.


because it slightly overindulged in a delicious High Tea at The Marguerite beach hut in Whitstable, created by sophiekarina_judithARoss_sighting

and then took a nap with Katrina at Judith’s house on the East Coastsightinginportugalwithapricotblossom

while Xana (the lovely stepmother to who-we-are-in-RL) held up a copy in a rural part of Portugal while shaded by the apricot blossoms. sightingMsDebb

we’re also very popular (it being mostly a Picture Book you see, and we did think of That when we made it) with small children – this small child is a delightful Resident of the East Coast too and her full name (because we were given permission to share it – is Marlo Paige Knowles and she is scrumptious. 

and here it is in Switzerland today where it just arrived on a Cross-Continental Flight wearing dark glasses and a suspiciously expensive overcoat and just hand luggage because it has a full set of clothing duplicated in the cedar-lined wardrobes over There.

What an incredible world tour the book is On!

sometimes (because who-we-are-in-RL has one of those “familiar” faces) she gets asked:

are you somebody?

and the other day she smiled (sweetly) and said:

no. but I play someone online.

we Preened in a rather ego-puffed-up (but still pretty) way.

Back to the Post for today.

In Other News!


there has been a bit of gazing-out-to-sea and dreaming-of-the-future going on….OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand being silent at sunset. 


mixed with some Deeply Practical work sending out (100 to date) handwritten cards for The Digital Check UpOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand actually walking (not fast, but meaningfully) to the postal receptacles (there are two side by side not far from teamgloria towers and we split the pile into two each time, just for luck or something like that).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand then our latest article on Tara Kolla and the Silver Lake Farms came out in Los Angeles, I’m Yours which was ever so nice and well, fragrantly beautifully.

there you have it.

a world tour while we stay safely in Los Angeles (until April 3rd when we fly to meet it in London, Deia/Majorca, Ibiza and London again with Whitstable – yes, with William on the Way Back) when we go to Meet the book and see how it is enjoying the world.

the world is a very lovely place.

is it lovely where you are today?

do. tell.

and is the book happy in your house?

it likes ribbons.

just so you know.

and close proximity to roses.

Miss Vickie Lester has the right idea

about so many things, actually.

proper stationery shops in venice, the 1st video review from san francisco and a Sighting at The Essex Street Pleasure Gardens of #howtostaysaneinacrazyworld

oh, darlings, look!


a Sighting of the book at William’s house in Whitstable!IMG_4907

we’re ever so excited because the book was Hoping to see the newly dug and laid out The Essex Street Pleasure Gardens (therein).

doesn’t it look at Home?

talking of at home – an elegant home is never without a goodly supply of chic stationery.

and we just happened to have written about such a place…….today, in fact. 


as you know who-we-are-in-RL goes to some very chic dinner parties – including This one with the British Government Minister.

which is where we met Kattie Kotok in fact (take another look at the picture – bottom right – lovely flame orange cashmere scarf).

we nudged who-we-are-in-RL at the dinner party and said, “There’s someone you must interview for Los Angeles, I’m Yours, Where Shall We Meet column!”

and so she did.

isn’t that delicious?

talking of writing – who-we-are-in-RL had a piece published in SimplyWoman.com today – very nice – especially now we’re on the Other side of burnout.

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well that’s lovely.

but not Quite as lovely as the The Essex Street Pleasure Gardens.

and that woman in pearls waving (who is that?)


more sightings please!

we hear that Copies are En Route to South Africa, New Zealand and France!

isn’t this all jolly exciting?

thanks to William for Today’s Sighting.


before you dash off – here’s Mr. Lanier Smith in San Francisco doing our first Video review (hope you can see this outside the USA too?)

we are feeling deeply international.



your book is a bonbon….and other delicious things people are saying about #howtostaysaneinacrazyworld

oh darlings

look at what the lovely Ms Vickie Lester said about the book!



and there was a 1st Sighting in Whitstable which was Very Exciting.


we are hoping for a weekend sighting at the essex pleasure gardens on the newly laid patio and shall report back.

AND there was an Electronic Sighting in BERLIN! Thanks ever so much to Ms. Beautycalypse for her kindness.

berlinbeautycalypsecan you see the original postcard on this Deeply Creative desk at the Atelier of the divinely talented photographer Mr. Martyn Thompson?

and here are two quotes from other wonderful Readers (and we didn’t ask permission to quote from Private Emails so they’re remaining behind the large cloak and Venetian masks….unless they’re reading this and would Like to be Named, which would be utterly delicious).

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isn’t this FUN?!

we think so.


thank you ever so much for sharing the joy.



hullo, england!


we are in ENGLAND (again)!

and we made our way from cape town to whitstable and it took 24 hours and so now we’re completely e x h a u s t e d and william has made us a Very Nice cup of decaf coffee (which is delicious) and we must pause and say thank you (not just for the coffee, but for having us to stay and joining us for a splendid Fish Supper) and now here we are.

it’s ever so Strange that everyone speaks English – and Rather Nice.


a d r e a m y sunset.

don’t you adore a sunset, darlings?

wherever one is in the World a sunset is a fitting close to a lovely day. 

in praise of miss. barbara pym with pictures of england by teamgloria


we WEPT at the last page of A Very Private Eye: an autobiography in diaries and letters as Miss. Pym writes her last Christmas Card to Philip Larkin (december 1979) and then there’s a small note, in italics, from her sister, Hilary, or Miss Hazel Holt her literary executor.

she died on 11 january 1980

it was like losing a friend.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAso – in appreciation of miss. Pym – some words from her and some pictures of england (which we took this morning on the digital camera while browsing through the pages of old scrapbooks so forgive the quality – they’re snaps of slightly dusty prints from a film camera many moons ago – but they do provide atmosphere – non?)



sunday 28 march 1943
“we sat in the sun and listened to the Messiah. I wrote home, went to the post, pumped up my bicycle, put cotton over the peas. And then lay on a mattress with my face close to the ground, thinking about that poem by Robert Graves, the man seeking lost love…..”

friday 16 july 1943
“After Tea Boat we were FREE – it was a glorious afternoon and a lovely sensation to be able to walk out to the shops – I went into Smiths, got a book to read at the weekend and bought a copy of Tristram Shandy, which I feel will be nice to have about. I also bought apples and cherries and a Radio Times. I spent a happy house lying in my bunk eating and reading a Graham Greene novel.”


24 june 1953
“Reading a biography of Edmund Campion on a Friday over lunch one feels bound to eat fish.”

20th april 1961
“The new Archbishop of Canterbury has a lovely lap for a cat.”


31 october 1971
“Since the closing we have been to St Mary Magdalene’s, Paddington. It had rather good music and quite an amusing vicar (dragging on a cigarette) and curate who live in a startlingly modern clergy house just opposite the church.”

30 january 1977
“I am struggling to get that novel into a fit state to send to Macmillan…….I now rather regret having gone so far with this last one but perhaps we can’t help ourselves. I am really better at making marmalade (very successful this week!) and doing patchwork.”


20 may 1977
“Seeing a handsome Dorset woman at a petrol pump I thought a Hardy heroine of today might well follow such an occupation. Tess for instance.”

21 august 1977
“August is a funny time (not necessarily a wicked month?) holidays and all that, although I always used to like it in the old days in London – summer dresses in the office and visiting American anthropologists and slipping out for tea at the old Kardomah in Fleet Street.”


27 august 1977
Tullia Blundo the Italian girl who is writing a thesis on my novels came. She is a small dark Sicilian (living in Pisa) wearing mauve-tinted glasses – lively and interested in everything. Her word is ‘tremendous’.”

19 july 1978
“Went to London to record Desert Island Discs with Roy Plomley. Lunch (cold salmon) with him at the Lansdowne Club. A vast spacious room. Then listened to the records, a cup of tea, then did recording. Ate with Poopa in the Viking Bar at Paddington Hotel and back on the 8.15 train. Relief to be home and in the country again.”


26 april 1979
“Romantic Novelists’ lunch at the Park Lane Hotel, Piccadilly – a curiously deserted hotel, vast ladies’ cloakroom in the basement with marble basins and pink velvet sofas. After, bus to Paddington and had a quiet calm of mind all passion spent tea in the refreshment room on platform 1 before getting the five o’clock train home.”

thank you miss. pym for spending a little while with us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand just because we missed her so very much upon closing the book for the last time (before opening it again to record the nicest bits for You) – we found a digital device lying around (quite Wantonly actually – the device, not us, we were perfectly respectable this morning) and found Miss Pym on Desert Island Discs so we could enjoy her voice drifting into the room as we gazed out on the Hollywood Hills and enjoyed her choices with great Delight.



this is who-we-are-in-RL and yes, that’s a tiny blue nose stud in a pierced nostril (the Idea!)

where were we?

why – on the beach at Whitstable (which is where William has just moved to) several *coughs* years ago (we had no Idea we had such Kennedy Clan teeth!)

why is it Here?

because these early words from Miss. Pym reminded us of what it was like to be at University and to Be (so very) Young.

13 june 1932
“I had a note from Rupert and Miles asking me to go to the flicks. I dashed to Carfax at 7.30 and we went to Goodnight Vienna at the Queener. It was lovely, and somehow appropriate. We sat at the back in the corner and I had two arms around me for the first time in my history. The flick was over at 10, so we stopped at the coffee stall by Cowley Place on our way back. We drank to each other in chocolate Horlicks.”

15 june 1932
“In the afternoon went on the river with Rupert and Miles. We had tea at the Cherwell tea gardens. Much semi-nakedness to be seen on the river. We landed at a bank and Rupert dropped his watch in the water.”

4 september 1933
“Reading Gertrude Trevelyan‘s novel Hothouse. I desperately want to write an Oxford novel – but I must see first that my emotions are simmered down fairly well.”

isn’t she tremendous?!

so glad that Miss. Pym came to stay.



for further reading (as they always say in the British Library when one asks about a particular Subject) – there’s a lovely appreciation here.

and what about our own Further Reading?


we’re half-way-through the splendid Pomfret Towers by Angela Thirkell (a lovely blog post by The Captive Reader there)

pomfret-towers1and, well, we have a Lot of Writing of our own to do – because who-we-are-in-RL is currently juggling not one but two writing jobs (one is Post-Production on a moving picture, no less) and about to start on a consultancy.

so while she’s out Working.

we sit here in luscious comfort (silk robe, against the pillows) and r e a d


are you having a tremendous Sunday?

do. tell.

lingering with fellow europeans in beverly hills


we write to you mid-sip of a freshly squeezed melange of fruits and vegetables – it’s been a delicious day but we’ve been quite frankly rushed off our (with lovely Work) size 9 doctor marten originals and completely forgot to post!

the fruits of lingering with europeans in cafes is most definitely paying off.

here’s another Record(you knew that was coming didn’t you?)

Talking of Post (in another Context) both william And george sent missives today.


We do adore a glimpse into the pastoral beach scenes of the garden-of-england and we do Hope william will be reporting from both the Oyster festival and Ladies Bowling.