Chapter Seventeen – 1986
Re-establishing Home in London – The Docklands
(Equivalent to 51 pages in hard-copy)
David Garrett, Dudley Andrews, George and Elizabeth Lane,
Paul Littlewood, Jackson Kelly, Harry Creighton, David Tucker, Allen Cantor, Robert Carrier, Stuart Kirby, Baroness Carrie de Vendeuve, Allen Warren,
Mark McCormick, Norman King, Peter Wyngard, Robin Fox,
Angela M. Worthington, James Fox, Robert Fox, Edward Fox, Noël Coward,
Ben Coleman, Mohammed, Alfie, Johnny Galliher, Cecil Everley, Lionel Bart, Frank Dale,
Roberto Wirth, Carmen Wirth, Audré Nethercott,
Earl Wild, Franz Liszt, Lord and Lady Elphinstone;
Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother;
His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Jackie Stewart, Maggie Smith, Mike Leigh, Franc Roddam; Edward, Lord Montagu; The Duke of Manchester,
Fiona Margaret Herbert, Belinda Crossley, Roger Milner King, Donald Trump,
Lord and Lady Bessborough, Dr. Atkinson, Bruce Bolton, Gretchen Bellinger, Christy Myhre, Esme, Alan Sievewright, and Placido Domingo.
Moments from Chapter Seventeen:
When James said he was thinking about going to Parsons, my life caved.
Garrett’s offer to buy The Point was a most convenient turn of events; it was certain that my life there was over.
James was rather flabbergasted at my London lifestyle.
"Don't Put Your Daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington"
I called her “Miss Piggy” - you’ll never look at a Rolls-Royce again
without seeing the resemblance.
Roberto is even more amazing – he is stone deaf and
reads lips in five languages!
Wild is generally judged to be the greatest performing interpreter of Franz Liszt.
King was a good driver, but roundabouts discombobulated him.
Bear is still with me here in Thailand – 31 years later – and he still talks!
Jaime’s great aunt was the Queen Mum and
tomorrow there is a clay pigeon shoot at her home, Glamis Castle.
The lit candle shades revealing naked couples, cavorting.
Maggie Smith had kind of this bilious half-smile the entire lunch,
while Edward Fox seemed uncomfortable in his own skin.
“Toto, this sure as hell ain’t Kansas.”
It was a celebration of bad taste – a gilt trip if I’ve ever seen one.
It was a stunning, V-12, drophead Ferrari 400i!
Ferrari never made such a car but there it was!
I watched the little TV as a catheter was inserted in my right arm and
was pushed into my heart.
We toasted the New Year with Placido Domingo opening the Champagne!
Chapter Seventeen – 1986
Re-establishing Home in London – The Docklands
From Chapter 16…
“… James was beginning to make noises about going to Parsons School of Design in Manhattan next year. I knew he wasn’t about to settle down for the rest of his life at The Point and he wanted to know his options. Even though I knew such a move would change our lives, I encouraged it…
“I moved all my family antiques and personal things into the Pub and instructed the local moving company to crate everything for an international shipment. I was going home to London.
“It was vital that The Point continue to grow from strength to strength. The credibility of my management, as well as my future in any hospitality-related endeavor, depended upon its continued success, whether I would be an advisor, arbiter, or even the Professor of Hospitality and International Tourism Management at Bangkok University.
“Arbiter” sounds interesting, it’s time for a new chapter in my life.”
End of excerpt.
The first paragraph, above, is bullshit. When James said he was thinking about going to Parsons, my life caved. I had taught too many managers: “when an employee says he is thinking about leaving,” fire him. Mentally, he is already gone.
James and I had enjoyed what I thought was an idyllic relationship. We shared ideas, we supported one another, the “lovin’” was daily and great.
I was totally devastated but, as he was “already gone,” I adopted a happy façade and continued to support him.
Garrett’s offer to buy The Point was a most convenient turn of events; it was certain that my life there was over.
Just before the end, a Dudley Andrews came to The Point for a few days seeking to discuss a plan with me. It is all a bit of a blur, but he wanted to market something called “PINCS” – property income certificates – in Europe, starting with the U.K. Could I introduce him to the appropriate contacts in London?
I agreed and, as he was picking up the tab, we flew to London on Concorde, stayed at the Berkeley Hotel, had lunch at Brooks’s with George Lane, met with Paul Littlewood of Boodle, Hatfield, Jackson Kelly, and Harry Creighton, the owner of The Economist. We phoned David Tucker and Allen Cantor in Paris; viewed flats and offices; dined with George and Elizabeth, and lunched with Robert Carrier. We also met with Morgan Grenfell, the investment bank, and Stuart Kirby who had been Carter Containers’ top salesman.
After a week, Dudley had leased a flat, taken offices, struck some kind of a deal with Jackson, and hired George as a consultant. Dudley and I “Concorded” back to New York and, after a few days with James in Manhattan, I returned to The Point for a meeting with David Garrett.
Two days later, I flew commercial to Albany and taxied through the flight-canceling snow to Manhattan for meetings with Dudley.
Then we repeated the London escapade in Paris. We stayed at the Georges V and had meetings and dinners. I got away from Dudley on Valentine’s Day to shop and have dinner with my buddy, the Baroness Carrie de Vendeuve. After three days, Dudley and I returned to New York. He and his lawyers took over my leads, and I returned to the woods on March 18 to pack.
Then I got this from Jackson…
So, Jackson was hopeful, James was ensconced in Manhattan, and I moved “home” to London.
I busied myself settling into a furnished flat on Lower Sloan Street (about which I remember absolutely nothing!), touching base with all my old buddies, and enrolling in Stafford University’s Ph.D. Hospitality Program (I got my diploma two years later).
But my heart wouldn’t heal.
Then, on April 16, James calls from New York.
After lots of tears on both our parts, we knew we were an unbreakable pair. James decides to put Parsons on hold and come to London to see what our life might be like away from The Point.
I took a deep breath – my heart stopped hurting.
James arrives on May 30, ten days after his birthday, and we celebrate with a tacos party in the flat with Allen Warren, a fey photographer friend, and some of his friends. Turned out they’d never had tacos before – they weren’t quite British style! Funny party!
Hardly ever seeing me away from The Point for some seven years, James was rather flabbergasted at my London lifestyle.
I took up where I left off: lunch at Fortnum’s, fittings at Sexton’s, lots of people for drinks, and six, glorious restaurants that held a table for me every night! (I always confirmed or canceled in plenty of time, and I’d enjoyed this arrangement for all the years I’d lived in London.) It was fun to be back!
I wanted to share the London I knew, and the U.K. I didn’t. Maybe Sally could join us; we could hire a car and driver, and tour the countryside together.
James mentioned our plans to some of his new friends. Mark McCormick said he knew an ex-bobby who worked at Harrods and chauffeured on the side. A couple of days later, James and I met ex-bobby, Norman King, a doorman at Harrods. I explained that we wanted to do a two-or-three-week UK road trip in August and needed a driver for a rental car. If that was a success, I’d hire him as a permanent chauffeur for a Rolls-Royce I had yet to find. Nor had we found a permanent place to live!
King thought that all sounded “grand” and, as soon as I had some firm dates, would make arrangements for his holiday due from Harrods.
June - our “summer vacation” begins…
June 14th – James and I spend all day in Windsor with Allen and Mark McCormick, and watch famous London actor, Peter Wyngard, in a matinée of “Guilty Conscience.”
June 15th - Lunch at Angela Fox’s, a friend of George and Elizabeth and the wife of theatrical agent Robin Fox. Angela was born in 1912 in Kent, England as Angela M. Worthington. She is the mother of actors James Fox, Robert Fox, and Edward Fox. Noel Coward's song, "Don't Put Your Daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington", was inspired by Angela's mother's theatrical ambitions for Angela.
Son, Edward Fox
James and Angela get along like a house on fire – Hollywood, West End theatre, design schools in general, and Parsons in particular when Angela suggests he look into the London International Film School. Distracted by the arrival of Maggie Smith, I didn’t pay much attention.
June 19th - To Portugal’s Algarve; we rent a Mini Moke and stay at Vila Joya…
June 24th – Back to London, lunch with Robert Carrier at Julie's; then, two days later, lunch with Ben Coleman, Mohammed, and Alfie (Jackson’s African Gray parrot) at Jackson’s home on Iflield Road…
Then, on the 30th, to Le Crillon in Paris and dinner with Johnny Galliher and Carrie de Vendeuve.
In July, we go to Cannes; stay at the Martinez-Concorde; dine in Grasse at Le Moulin de Mougins; visit the Chagall museum; and lunch with Cecil Everley. On the 10th, back to London, and dinner with Allen Warren and Lionel Bart.
On the 14th, I go to Frank Dale & Stepsons, Ltd., London’s finest, classic Rolls-Royce purveyors, and see a fabulous, long-wheelbase, Rolls-Royce Phantom V with a James Young body – the car of my dreams – and, with one cheque made out to Frank Dale for £20,000 and another cheque made out to Frank Dale and Stepsons, Ltd. for £40,000, buy it on the spot. (I assume that the actual owner would only know about the £40,000.)
It is black and maroon and has a teeny crest painted on each rear door. I call it “Miss Piggy.” (You’ll never look at a Rolls-Royce again without seeing the resemblance.)
On the July 16th, we fly to Rome, stay at Lord Byron, and dine at the Hassler with the compliments of Roberto Wirth, the manager.
As I mentioned in Chapter Sixteen, the Wirth family is renowned in the hospitality world. They are Swiss, and Carmen Wirth is the doyenne of the industry. To me, son, Roberto, is even more amazing – he is stone deaf and reads lips in five languages!
We walk the Borghese Gardens in the rain; have coffee at Café de Paris; sit at Antico Caffé Greco Rome – opened in 1760, it’s the oldest bar in Rome; climb the Spanish Steps; visit the Parthenon; walk the Forum, and stroll the Colosseum. The next day, we throw coins over our shoulders in Trevi Fountain and visit Villa d’Este.
On the 18th, we pick up our Hertz and drive the Amalfi Drive to Positano and check into the San Pietro – a Hideaway recommendation…
On the 21st, we go to Capri and visit the Blue Grotto.
En route to the Grotto; one of my most favorite photos of JWM
Then back to London. On July 26th, we take the train to Middleborough w/Audre who’s come over from New York to attend an Earl Wild concert at Wynyard Hall. (The now late) Mr. Wild is generally judged to be the greatest performing interpreter of Franz Liszt and is a great friend of Audre.
On July 30th, frustrated by not being able to find a suitable home and disliking Sloan Street, we move to a furnished flat on Park Lane just in time for Sally’s arrival on August first.
In the first three days we go to the British Museum and see the Rosetta Stone; watch the Changing of the Guard; go shopping at Harrods, and have a big, welcome dinner party in our new home.
On August 5th, our “Magical Mystery Tour” starts. It turns out to be “Zig-zags and Roundabouts” by Norman King.
King was a good driver, but roundabouts discombobulated him. Instead of fly-overs or cloverleafs, in Britain, when several roads meet, they are joined by a circular, connecting road. One goes around the circle until the desired road is next, and then one peals off in the new direction. The rule of the road is that any car already in the circle gets the right of way. Therefore, if you are timid or overly law-abiding (King – he was a bobby after all), one might sit for hours waiting for one’s turn.
In King’s case, he would not only sit, and sit, and sit, waiting to get on the roundabout, but, once on, he was loath to leave and would usually go around several times before taking the correct road. It was very funny!
Our itinerary: Bath – The Priory Hotel and a walk around the Royal Crescent; we visit Longleat House and go on to Broadway in the Cotswolds to stay at the Lygon Arms, and see a matinée of “Midsummer’s Night Dream” at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in nearby Stratford-upon-Avon. Then we go on to Oakham and stay at Hambleton Hall, and to Moreton-On-the-Water to see the model village in which there was a model of the village in which there was a model village, etc...
Then on to York to stay at Middlethorpe Hall, and visit the Railway Museum and York Castle. Then back across the country to Windermere in the Lake District to stay at Miller Howe…
At Miller Howe
Along the way we visit Cliveden, Lydiard, see the ancient mark of a White Horse on a distant hillside, visit Warwick Castle, and…
and Castle Howard, Harewood, and lunch at the Falcon Manor Hotel. Then to Edinburgh to stay at the Caledonian Hotel, visit Holyrood House, and watch the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
As we would be at Lord Elphinstone’s on the 16th, we celebrated my birthday in the Caledonian; and Bear came into my life. On his jacket was sewn the Sutherland Crest, embroidered with gold thread.
Bear is still with me here in Thailand – 31 years later – and he still talks!
In the early eighties, Lord and Lady Elphinstone (Willa and Jaime) came to stay at The Point. (The Elphinstone title is one of the U.K.’s most important and ancient.) We became great friends and now they were returning the hospitality by having us stay at their estate, Drumkilbo, in Meigle, Scotland.
Jaime’s great aunt was the Queen Mum and tomorrow there is a clay pigeon shoot at her home, Glamis Castle.
Wikipedia - Glamis Castle is situated beside the village of Glamis in Angus. It is the home of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne and is open to the public. Glamis Castle has been the home of the Lyon family since the 14th century, though the present building dates largely from the 17th century. Glamis was the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, wife of King George VI. Their second daughter, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, was born there.
Ted and Sally
The Shoot - In attendance is HRH Prince Edward, all sorts of other royalty, and Jackie Stewart, the racing driver.
Jaime, Lord Elphinstone, is on the right
Willa and her sons. Several years later, Willa told me that Jamie drank himself to death over poor investments of which the family did not approve. The eldest son, Alexander, inherited the title and all that came with it; the other, Angus, didn’t - that's primogeniture.
Wikipedia: Alexander Mountstuart Elphinstone, 19th Lord Elphinstone and 5th Baron Elphinstone (born 15 April 1980) is a British peer in both the Peerage of Scotland and the Peerage of the United Kingdom. He is the great-great-grandson of the14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne and great-grandnephew of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, because of his paternal grandfather, The Hon. Andrew Elphinstone is the first cousin of Elizabeth II. Lord Elphinstone is the son of James Elphinstone, 18th Lord Elphinstone and Willa Mary Chetwode.
We had a glorious time. My favorite thing - the apparently-opaque, candle shades on the dining room table that became quite transparent when the candles were lit… revealing cavorting, naked couples.
The next day, as Sally flies to London and home to America, James and I take the train from Edinburgh to King’s Cross and are home by 4 PM.
On Saturday, the 23rd, we spend the weekend with Angela. Maggie Smith and Edward Fox came by for lunch. The visit had a big impact on James’ life – the subject of the London International Film School came up again.
[The other day, I emailed him to ask what it was that made him decide to go to film school when we were in London that year. In his words…
“The idea of film school was one of several school ideas, including design school. But the decision really came after we had met Angela Fox through George. If you recall, she was friends with some of the London Film School alumni and board members, including Mike Leigh and Franc Roddam. She didn't pull any strings, but she did place a call to a friend on the board. We soon after had a lunch with her at her home in I-forget-where with Maggie Smith and Edward Fox. We had just seen them in the play "Translators." Previous to that, we had seen Maggie Smith in the "Infernal Machine" and thought she was something of an acting goddess.
Angela didn't seem all that keen about having either of them, and I could see why. Maggie Smith had kind of this bilious half-smile the entire lunch, while Edward Fox seemed uncomfortable in his own skin, occasionally bursting out with this kind of oversized, adenoidal laugh. It was a very strange get-together. It was probably the thing that taught me to keep an arm's distant from celebrity; most are fractured, and they are almost certain to disappoint you.”]
The next week, James received CAN$20,000 for the old Ditchburn boat I gave him for his birthday last year. What luck!
Our luck held…on September 2nd, we went to look at a flat in the Docklands on the River Thames in the east end of London. The Docklands was becoming a rather chic place to live – it was much cooler than Belgravia, my old haunt. Radcliff Wharf was owned by a South African woman who had done it up into a cavernous, two-story townhouse. There was a room on the left when one enters, and straight ahead was a huge room – nearly as large as the Great Hall at The Point – whose whole, south wall was windows… lapped by the Thames! A kitchen was tucked under a gallery that ran along the opposite wall. Upstairs was a balcony sitting area, and a bedroom and bath. It was stunning.
James teared when I said, “We’ll have it.” It was £4000 a month but we could afford it – just sold The Point, after all.
Well, that made up James’ mind – he left for New York that Friday to pack up his stuff and ship it to London. My heart warmed.
On the 10th, Allen Warren invited me to dinner. In attendance were Edward, Lord Montagu and the Duke of Manchester. Allen was in the middle of doing photographic biographies of real and pseudo titled persons. Manchester was a bit of a boor. I’d met Edward Montagu many times. He was a notorious character – jailed for “playing” with a boy scout many years before.
Wikipedia - Edward John Barrington Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 3rd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu (20 October 1926 – 31 August 2015) was an English Conservative politician well known in Britain for founding the National Motor Museum in the grounds of his stately home, Beaulieu Palace House, Beaulieu, Hampshire, in 1952, as well as for a pivotal cause célèbre in British gay history following his 1954 conviction and imprisonment for homosexual sex, a charge he denied.
He was chairman of the Historic Houses Association from 1973 to 1978, President of the Institute of Traffic Administration from 1973 to 1974 and chairman of English Heritage from 1984 to 1992.
On two occasions Montagu was charged and committed for trial at Winchester Assizes, firstly in 1953 for having underage sex with a 14-year-old boy scout at his beach hut on the Solent; a charge he always denied.
When prosecutors failed to achieve a conviction, in what Montagu has characterised as a "witch hunt" to secure a high-profile conviction, he was arrested again in 1954 and charged with performing "gross offences" with an RAF serviceman during a weekend party at the beach hut. Montagu always maintained he was innocent of this charge as well ("We had some drinks, we danced, we kissed, that's all"). Nevertheless, he was imprisoned for twelve months for "consensual homosexual offences."
Role in LGBT history
Unlike the other defendants in the trial, Montagu continued to protest his innocence. The trial caused a backlash of opinion among some politicians and church leaders that led to the setting up of the Wolfenden Committee, which in its 1957 report recommended the decriminalisation of homosexual activity in private between two adults. Ten years later, Parliament finally carried out the recommendation, a huge turning point in gay history in Britain, where anal sex, a form of "buggery", had been a criminal offence ever since the Buggery Act 1533.
In 1958, Montagu married Belinda Crossley, a granddaughter of Savile Crossley, 1st Baron Somerleyton, with whom he had a son and a daughter before the couple divorced in 1974.
In 1974, he married his second wife, Fiona Margaret Herbert, with whom he had a son.
Montagu died after a short illness, on 31 August 2015 at the age of 88, at his Beaulieu Estate in the New Forest. He was survived by his three children and two grandchildren.
The next day, Edward takes me to lunch at his club - Bucks Club. He wants my help in finding a job for his… I can’t remember whether it was his son or a boyfriend. Why he felt I could help, I don’t know, but lunch was nice. Later that day, putting more pressure on me, he calls and invites me to come down to Beaulieu and spend a couple of days at his beach house. (THE beach house?)
I went. His wife was in the main house, we dined there the first night, after which Edward delivered me to the beach house where I spent the night alone. The next day, I wandered the museum, and that evening, Edward cooked partridge and red cabbage for us in the beach house, after which, he immediately returned to the main house. He never made the faintest suggestion of a pass. The next day, I took the train back to London.
What was that all about? I never knew.
Lord Montagu and his second wife, Fiona, on their wedding day in 1974,
by Allan Warren.
End of Wikipedia article.
I saw Elizabeth and George Lane regularly. Elizabeth was giggling about a mystery man who was buying all sorts of things at Christie’s (Elizabeth was on the main Board of Directors in charge of valuing grand country houses) to furnish an hotel near Gatwick. She said, “You’ve got to see the place, let’s go for Sunday lunch.”
We went on the 27th.
Alexander House is a 19th-century, red-brick “pile” that had a scarred facelift in the form of a “Dynasty”-like port-cochere with tinted glass doors that automatically slid open to reveal a pair of 19th-century French ormolu-mounted lamps.
I thought I was gate crashing a reunion for “The Unsinkable Mollie Brown.” Only one phrase came to mind… “Toto, this sure as hell ain’t Kansas.”
If someone had set out to build a parody of The Mansion on Turtle Creek in the middle of the rolling Sussex Downs, it would have to be Alexander House – The Mansion at Turner Hill.
It was a celebration of bad taste – a gilt trip if I’ve ever seen one, and the towels were brown!
We were having a drink in the bar when a long-haired (blond) man in a suit, but no tie, approached. As he walked along, he knocked every door frame with the knuckles of his right hand… warding off bad spirits perhaps?
He came up to Elizabeth and she introduced me to Roger Milner King, the owner. Fast-forward thirty years, you would have sworn he was a shorter Donald Trump – same huckster, same rudeness, same hang-ups.
When he heard that I was the head of Relais et Châteaux for most of the western hemisphere, he got all soft around the edges and insisted I come for lunch on Thursday.
On Thursday, I told him what I thought… starting with the brown towels and gilt. It turned out that he was personally responsible for every detail, and thought it was great (of course). I told him that it wasn’t – certainly not for an hotel expecting an international clientele. He asked me to spend the night asap and come to lunch the next Thursday. In fact, he wanted me to come to lunch one Thursday a month in return for which, he would pay me $250,000 a year. He didn’t say he would take my advice or change anything, but I agreed and became Management Consultant to Alexander House, and to Roger King’s several advertising and travel companies.
George Lane was also hired with me as a consultant. We celebrated by going to Lord and Lady Bessborough’s for lunch.
On Oct 3rd, James’ boxes arrive from New York followed by him on the 8th.
Two days later, Miss Piggy was delivered, and King starts his new job as our chauffeur looking for a suitable garage near our new home, The Wharf on Narrow Street, into which we moved on October 15th.
October 20, looking for a garage, I come upon a sports car racing organization with an immaculate garage filled with Ferraris in various stages of disassembly. In the center of the highly-polished concrete floor was sitting a stunning, V-12, drophead Ferrari 400i! Ferrari never made such a car but there it was! It turned out that the previous owner had flipped it, and instead of repairing the roof, had it cut off and turned the car into a convertible. As with the Porsche RS61 in Stuttgart in 1963, I fell in love and bought it on the spot…
I told King that he better find a larger garage, and James and I went off to Norfolk to spend the weekend with our new toy and show it off to old friends.
On the 29th of October, we had a house-warming party for The Wharf; James cooked for nineteen!
The first week of November, James started visiting schools and I decided to make the ground-floor room on the left of the entrance into my office and bought a wonderful, rosewood desk with return, and five drawer/filing cabinets to match. I paneled the walls with half-inch thick, dark brown cork, and hung my grandfather’s six Alice in Wonderland prints. It was lovely.
Then we bought an Apple Macintosh computer and it’s matching $6000 laser printer. James and I had a ball learning how to use it…
Mid-November, I was running out of the blood-pressure pills I had been taking since 1978. I called my old London physician, Dr. Atkinson, to prescribe some more but he explained that as he hadn’t seen me for almost eight years, he couldn’t just do it over the phone. He made an appointment with a heart specialist on Harley Street (where all the finest doctors in London had offices).
I went off to see Mr. What’shisname, (top British doctors are addressed as “Mister” – I don’t understand why either). He didn’t like the results of his tests and set up an appointment at Middlesex Hospital Nuclear Medicine Dept.
They didn’t like the results of their tests either and made an appointment for me to have an angioplasty on the 24th. I went home and “put my affairs in order.”
On the 24th, I watched the little TV as a catheter was inserted in my right arm and was pushed into my heart. A squirt of something made my anus get hot – he didn’t tell me that would happen – and the screen went blank.
“There,” he said, “that’s the problem we’ve all been having.”
But, immediately, the heart passed all tests with flying colors and I was wheeled into a cooling-off room filled with patients whose tests weren’t as successful.
Mr. What’shisname came bedside and explained that I had an intermittent electrical aberration that, happily, had no effect on my health whatsoever but did screw up most tests. As he turned out to be the Queen’s personal heart consultant, I relaxed, went home, refilled my prescription, and haven’t been bothered about heart problems ever since...except emotional ones.
James and I had a small, sixth-anniversary party on December nineteenth, and on the 27th, my container of furniture, etc. from The Point arrived, and we were able to set up our home properly.
The Entrance Hall
The South Wall and the Thames
The East Wall
The West Wall
The North Wall with the kitchen opening on the right (you’ve seen that painting before!); Sally and Me at The South (River) Wall
All done; we celebrate with George and Elizabeth
On December 22nd, Gretchen, staying with friends in London, drops by; a great surprise!
On the 23rd, Sally arrives from New York and, on Christmas Eve, James’ sister, Christy arrives from Texas.
Christy and King and Miss Piggy
“And the only sound that can be heard is the ticking of the clock.” Rolls-Royce
On Christmas Eve, James goes to sleep with visions of sugar plums in his head.
I was awakened not by the sound of teeny hoofs but by beeps from the living room! I rushed to the balcony and there, moving about the floor below was…
Also, among myriad fancy-wrapped packages, was a beautiful Peugeot bicycle for me from James and Sally Claus.
James and Sally
The next day, Boxing Day, Sally, James, and I drive down to Chilworth, Elizabeth Lane’s mother’s thirteenth-century house for lunch. The hunt stopped by and we all toasted a wonderful year of wining and dining, and clubbing, and touring, and great, great friends.
James, me, Elizabeth, George, and Sally at Chilworth
On New Year’s Eve, an old friend, Alan Sievewright – one of the U.K.’s great opera buffs, invites us to intimate festivities at his home, and we toasted the New Year with Placido Domingo opening the Champagne!
A new year and a new chapter starts…
End of Chapter Seventeen
Thinking I might use the story of our trip, I kept notes:
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