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Archive for the ‘London’ Category

Party of Four

While browsing through the iStockphoto offerings, I happened upon a photo of a famous West End restaurant, one that brought back memories of a previous trip to London. The Ivy is a restaurant popular with the theatre-going crowd, audience and actors alike.

The circumstances of my first visit were so perfect, it could have been a plotline right out of a West End play: two women strike up a conversation one morning over breakfast at a hotel. The older woman was at the hotel recovering from surgery, and I was there for a color conference with several clients. The woman reminded me of my grandmother. She had the kind of class you can’t acquire – you have to be born with it. We talk for an hour about this and that. Alone, with no family, she was happy to have the company.

While she and I talked, one of my clients stopped by the table to say hello, she looked a little dejected and when I asked what was wrong, she told us how she and two of her colleagues had wanted to dine at The Ivy that night but were unable to get a table. The first available reservation was weeks away.

I didn’t think I could help her. Earlier in the week I had bribed a few doormen at some of London’s more posh clubs. But my sense of it was that only an act of God or a recommendation from Sir Anthony Hopkins himself would be able to get my clients into The Ivy.

I looked at my dining companion and she smiled a slow indulgent smile. She picked up her cell phone, speed dialed and said a few words to the person on the other end of the line. Then she looked at me and asked, “What is your name, my dear?”

I told her. She nodded and concluded the call with my name and the words “party of four.”

She then smiled and told us we had a dinner reservation at 11:00 p.m. and told us whom to ask for. In the parlance of British slang, my client and I were gobsmacked.

I thanked our benefactor and asked her name. She politely sidestepped the question, rose and left the table like some regal grand dame.  And that’s exactly what she was.

photo: © istockphoto.com/onebluelight

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It’s a good day when you can combine business travel with some personal activities. My travels in early May allowed me to catch up London Callingwith a friend in Dusseldorf over drinks, to take in the Artemisia exhibit at the Musée Maillol in Paris and to visit friends in Joberg and Durban. Go ahead and say it …I do all the time… I am a lucky girl.

And I’m also a café girl. This Sunday I will be joining friends for lunch in Covent Garden for a quick catch up. Since I’m migrating from being a prose writer to a screenwriter, I will take the opportunity to visit the London Film Museum.

I hope it will inspire me because I have come to learn that writing a screenplay is much harder than writing a book. Forget having to cram Any Color but Beige into 120 pages. I’m having trouble coming up with a “saleable” box office logline. It’s tough, let me tell you. Give it a try and you’ll see.

From London, it’s a quick hello / bonjour to Paris and before you know it three days later, I’m back home. The good news is it’s not enough time to feel jet lagged. The better news is I’ll be home in time for things like the Montreal F1 Race (where I am sure I will catch up with a breathtakingly handsome Brazilian pilot), the Jazz Festival, the Fireworks Festival and the Comedy Festival. The best news of all is that I will be able to enjoy Montreal all summer long.

photo: © istockphoto.com/ChrisSteer

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But that doesn’t mean I’ve run out of travel destinations.  Look for posts from the road in January from the UK, Germany, Italy and Las Vegas. And although Vegas may not be its own country like the others, it is somewhat of a wonderland.  My goal is one post for every passport stamp.

If you want to suggest headlines for each destination or travel in general, I’d be happy to have a go at creating a post around it.  Just leave me a comment.  In the meantime, here’s a little something to inspire you.

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. Henry Miller

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