... we were on vacation, especially now as I huddle on the sofa, head pounding, coughing, spluttering and wheezing from an airplane cold. It ain't pretty.
For years we have flown the Atlantic route and I have never slept a wink on a night flight, so this time we decided to take Virgin Atlantic, fly through the day and have little problem with jet-lag at the end of the journey. And great fun it was - we upgraded to Premium Economy very cheaply when checking in, were very comfortable and raring to go once off the plane in London. We flew up to New York one day and took the flight to London the day following spending the evening in between at a hotel at the airport. We arrived fresh enough to have dinner with an old dear friend before we collapsed in her guest bedroom and slept the sleep of the just - well, we slept.
A visit to the Metropolitan Museum is always part of a trip to New York and this time it was to view the Francis Bacon exhibit. Fascinating to see such an overview of a great painter's career and whereas not everything appealed the later self-portrait above is one of my most cherished images - I sort of knew how he felt the minute I set eyes on it. Afterwards we did a quick trot through The Model as Muse exhibit which seemed uninterestedly put together and bland as all get out.
Museum feet, and the fact that we got out of bed at five that morning, led us very quickly to a taxi and to the King Cole bar at the St. Regis for refreshment - in my case the best Manhattan I'd had until the one I drank a few days later on the Isle of Skye, and in his case, a Tom Collins.
The King Cole bar, named after the Maxfield Parrish painting, is the place where according to the New York Times the Bloody Mary was first introduced in the 1920s but for me that cocktail is basically too much greenery plonked in a puddle of red goo so I decided on something more fortifying and went straight for the only drink to drink in Manhattan, the Manhattan. What am I, a tourist?
When we arrived the bar was well-lit but right after sitting and in the middle of reading the list, the place was plunged into that gloom many bars and restaurants consider mood lighting - a sort of dimness that makes it impossible to read a menu without a flashlight - very irritating. No transition, just flick a switch and there you are, in the kind of darkness where the whites of your companions eyes are also dimmed, and which is lit only by the flickering light of the iPhones and Blackberries at every table. Seemingly none of us can exist any more without checking email, answering the phone, or texting whilst we are in company. What happened to manners?
Fortified but slightly tipsy from the cocktail - I was ready to sleep - we went to the theater. I knew something had been planned but was unable to find out what and to my great pleasure it was Blithe Spirit - a good production with Angela Lansbury who was described by a critic as hamming it up so much she was just this side of a pork pie. And HAM she did, with delight and verve. The audience drank it in. Rupert Everett was not acting that night but I didn't really notice.
Tomorrow, London, Lancashire and the road to the Isles.