Almost Too Good
There are white roses in continuous bloom all around the house where I stayed during my holiday in California. There is a tree that bears plums, apricots and peaches, all. Like a gilded frame, the swimming pool holds wavering images of palm trees. They float on its aquamarine waters.
And there is an artichoke growing by the garden gate. If encyclopedias were still in existence and one were to look up the definition of the word artichoke, this artichoke, this very one, would be pictured as the definitive specimen. Perfect silver green leaves with nary a pest in sight and one peerless artichoke enthroned in the center. In many ways, this ideal artichoke is like so much of the idea of California. It is almost too good to be true.
The moment I land it is obvious that this is a city that never goes out without her makeup. The sky is achingly blue. The sun hits my face like a klieg light. The temperature seems permanently set at the most salubrious spot on the dial and never wavers throughout my stay.
I enjoyed a magical few days full of delicious food, delightful conversation and lots and lots of laughter.
At two in the morning, I watched a Royal Wedding on my laptop under the covers.
I lazed away an afternoon strolling along sun-dappled sidewalks at the LA book festival and, naturally, bought a wonderful book.
And in keeping with that California theme of “almost too good to be true”, I met two amazing women who seem precisely that.
A Bloomsbury Life
I first became aware of Lisa Borgnes Giramonti’s splendid blog, A Bloomsbury Life, not long after she posted on one of her journeys to London. I was entranced. Everywhere she went was a favourite place of mine. Everything she did was something I had done, or was dying to do. And she described it all with such an unique charm that I felt as though she was taking me by the hand and leading me along with a grin saying , ”Look! Let’s go over here!”.
Lisa is beautiful. Lisa is talented. Lisa is witty, delightfully so. When she heard I was heading to LA, she wrote to invite me to meet her for tea, and of course, I said yes. After a laugh-filled couple of hours over a pot of tea, I can only say that for those of you who find her blog as marvelous as I do - and I know her fans are legion - well, she’s even better in person. It was a complete treat to spend a part of the Royal Wedding Day with her, for throughout the years to come, in the pastel world of memory, whenever I think about that beautiful wedding, I shall always see Lisa’s face in the Westminster crowd!
Do visit her HERE!
Velvet and Linen
The next day I headed off to Santa Monica, but arrived in fairyland. The moment I opened the gate to Brooke Giannetti’s idyllic front garden, I knew it would be difficult to leave. Brooke and I “met” a couple of years ago when she began her amazing blog. She was kind enough to feature From The House of Edward as one of her favourites and I was incredibly flattered. Brooke works as an interior designer in partnership with her husband, Steve, who is a truly gifted architect. As soon as she began posting photographs of their work, I knew they were something special in the design world. There are so many design blogs out there in the ether, but much like the old adage of cream rising to the top, the Giannetti’s are the best. Meeting Brooke and Steve was like meeting old friends. Gracious and graceful, Brooke is everything I knew she would be and it was a total pleasure to tour her lovely home which looks just like a fantasy in person. I fell head over heels for her five chickens. The white ones looked so much like Edward with their furryfeathered back legs!
I am thrilled to report that Brooke and Steve are about to share their beautiful work with an even larger audience as their brand-new book, Patina Style, will be published on September 1st. You can pre-order it from Amazon HERE. I can hardly wait to get my hands on a copy for my very own. If you are in LA, you can visit their lovely shop, Giannetti Home, in Santa Monica, and everyone can visit Brooke’s gorgeous blog HERE.
California is a land where the apples are redder, the oranges more orange and hot pink geraniums spill over the hills by the freeways, as nonchalant and prolific as weeds.
The lights are too bright to see stars in the sky, so they all walk the sidewalks instead.
It is the land of cartoons and the yellow brick road.
Of The Jetsons, of Flubber, and the Bates motel.
However, to steal from dear Beatrice, I fear this bright sun is too costly to wear everyday, so I headed home with sweet memories and a drained tube of sunscreen.
I am now comfortably ensconced in another lovely home underneath mossy oaks in the low country of South Carolina for a few quiet days of writing.
I’ll tell you about that soon!
“No, my lord, unless I might have another for
working-days: your grace is too costly to wear
every day. But, I beseech your grace, pardon me: I
was born to speak all mirth and no matter.”
Much Ado About Nothing
Act Two, Scene One
by W. Shakespeare