Friday, 8 October 2010

Mid Atlantic

I'm writing today’s blog somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, I assume in the region of Greenland. It’s the middle of the night and someone on our plane has just fainted. It was getting really hot, so I’m not entirely surprised. She’s presently lying in the aisle with her legs in the air whilst an air hostess administers oxygen from something which looks like a fire extinguisher. The shame of it!

It’s been a fairly bumpy flight, which is making me slightly uneasy, but I'm nothing like the quivering wreck I used to be when flying, when I’d sit on a plane with a pen and paper, writing apocalyptic thoughts because it made me less likely to scream like a girl!

It was sad to leave New York, especially today as we were having the most wonderful time. We met Sascha, brother Edward and Ailsa in Cafe Angelique on Bleecker. It’s our favourite cafe in the city, primarily because the staff there are such extraordinary people. Lee, for example, is an artist who studied at Yale. The food's pretty good as well. Sascha declared that the feta cheese omelette he was eating was the best he’d ever had!

We wondered through the West Village, calling in at Magnolia Bakery for cup cakes before heading up to the High Line; a former railway track which has been turned into a wonderful pocket park. It runs from the lower West Side, all the way up to about West 34th Street and is the most pleasant way to get away from the traffic and constant noise of Manhattan. Everything there is so well though through. One section features a number of giant wooden deckchairs which have been attached to a set of former railway tracks in a way that you can wheel them towards and away from each other, for privacy, or so that you can chat to the person next door.

We took the subway up to Central Park. The sun was shining and we ate lollypops, took photographs and avoided the rabid squirrels...

And then it was time for us to get our things and head back to JFK airport. Ailsa went to work and Edward and Sascha went to the top of the Rockerfella Building. Their holiday is just beginning. Next week they’re off to Vermont and Massachusetts to see the multicoloured autumn trees and I'm hugely envious. I suppose today was the first day I felt truly relaxed and it would be incredibly lovely to be joining them in those magical sounding states... But London is calling. I have work to do. I have to change my diet, take multi-vitamins, lose weight and readdress that life/work balance so that I don't resemble one of those rabid racoons in Central Park by the end of November!

October 8th 1660 and Elizabeth was out of the house all day buying “household stuff”. Pepys dined alone, before heading off to Westminster, where he met his great friend, the lawyer, Henry Moore, of whom he wrote; “we love one another’s discourse so that we cannot part when we do meet.” And indeed, they stayed in one another’s company until 9pm. The two of them trekked around London together, nattering and gossiping constantly. At one stage they called in on Pepys’ father to talk about the possibility of gilded leather being used to cover the walls of Pepys’ new dining room. No “on-trend,” wealthy late 17th Century abode was complete without at least one formal room being decorated this way!

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