Monday, 10 January 2011

Happy New Year...





Sorry to be so belated with the blog -- after Christmas, I embarked upon a journey that involved so many snow-related delays that we ended up on a flight from London to New York that was diverted to Montreal at the last minute, then from Montreal to Chicago to Tampa to Miami. Thus began three days and two nights in assorted airports, all of which look, smell and sound spookily alike... But I know other people had even more frustrating delays, and the hours in various limbos sped up while I read John Le Carre's latest book ('Our Kind of Traitor') and 'A Week in December' by Sebastian Faulks; both of them big, dark, state-of-the-nation novels that felt somehow appropriate as narratives to accompany my jet-lagged zigzagging across time-zones and national frontiers.
Anyway, when I did get to New York, it was completely wonderful: we ate delicious food (downtown at the Little Owl and Barbuto in the West Village, uptown at the Mark); drank cocktails at the King Cole bar at the St Regis; and stayed in what is now my favourite ever hotel room, on the 39th floor of the Four Seasons, with a view over Manhattan and Central Park that made me very, very happy. Met the producer of the David Letterman show, and ascended to the heights of his office at the CBS tower (v. thrilling). Shopped for brilliant sale bargains at J.Crew (how I wish we had a London store, though you can get some of the range at net-a-porter), and bought the perfect pair of black velvet trousers and a soft tweedy black and cream cardigan (I like to think Mademoiselle Chanel would have approved of the latter, in the knowledge that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery).
Back in London again, facing the expanse of 2011. I've been clearing out cupboards and drawers -- trying to do at least one a day -- a task that I put off while working on Coco; and finding it both therapeutic and occasionally overwhelming.
Tiny shoots of green grape hyacinth stems are appearing in the back garden, though later than usual, and I fear the squirrels have eaten a great many of the tulip bulbs I planted last year. But now that the snow has melted, spring seems a little less distant than before, and I've been reminding myself that the days are lengthening, if only by a few minutes. I've sometimes struggled through Januaries in previous years, although this time (fingers crossed, wood touched), I'm feeling braver than before, and resolved not to wish the days away, but to embrace the month, as a time to potter and bake and nest, and make some plans and wishes as well...

17 comments:

enid said...

Welcome back I have missed you. My friend to whom I gave Coco said it was her best present and has thanked me so often !!!! I hope that this year will be all you wish it to be and that we all continue to be inspired by your blog. Here it is so hot that all I want to do is stay indoors and read. I suppose we are never satisfied with the weather

Justine Picardie said...

Lovely to hear from you, Enid -- my first message for the New Year!

Wendy said...

Justine,
Happy New Year! The next time you come to America, visit South Carolina. I would love to meet you. It is snowing here today, which is unusual for the sunny south! I saw the movie "The King's Speech", and enjoyed it so much that I read the book. It was very good. Have you decided what your next project will be?
Take care,
Wendy

Karen, Surrey said...

It is lovely to hear your news. There are so many lovely shops in New York, I love Banana Republic - I love the clothes and the service. I have just finished your book I Wish I May and really enjoyed it. I am going to try and follow the fashion tip buried in there, "wear cashmere and heels" to dress up. Also I heard Vivienne Westwood on Any Questions this week saying buy nothing for 6 months, and also to buy well. Fits in with the cashmere!

gardenlou said...

I love to see you writing with as much fondness for your garden as you do for the world of fashion & Coco Chanel! As well as acting I design gardens, two things which in my mind go together like red wine & dark chocolate, so it's great to see your lovely pics of the green places you visit. Re. my one-woman show, if you ever could spare an hour or so so talk about Coco & real/created persona, I would love to meet up; there's so much in my head about who she was & what she created. It all started listening to your talk!

Justine Picardie said...

I'm really looking forward to seeing The King's Speech... and South Carolina in the snow sounds magical...

Justine Picardie said...

Karen, I'm thrilled to hear you've read 'Wish I May' -- and the cashmere and heels combination is definitely a good one.
Re: Banana Republic: my favourite, too, so I went there after J.Crew in NYC, and found the most incredible bargains (silk top and black jeans for under $25 apiece). Then listened to Vivienne Westwood on Any Questions, like you, and vowed to buy little and wisely. Mind you, that's the way I've always shopped: so the J.Crew/ Banana Republic splurge was unusual.
Gardenlou: red wine, chocolate, gardens and Chanel... these are a few of my favourite things.

kairu said...

Welcome back! I've missed you, and have been hoping you'd had a lovely Christmas and New Year.

I love the after-holiday sales; for me it means piles of cashmere sweaters and scarves. I bought two pairs of velvet slippers from Gap which fold into matching pouches, for $5 each.

Without a garden, I've continued forcing paperwhite narcissus bulbs in the warmth of my dining room. Their waves of fragrant white blooms have kept me going through the weeks of winter. I'll have to steal some grape hyacinths from a friend's garden.

jaywalker said...

Good to see you back, Justine. What a horrendous way to get to NY! A few years ago we were in Stockholm and due to fly back to Melbourne from London, and Heathrow was snowed in, no planes flying. The wonderful Swedish efficiency got us back home via five different airlines so I know a bit about the horrors of that sort of flight.

I've also been to see The Kings Speech and just finished the book. I suspect Rush and Firth will be nominated for some awards as they were both brilliant.

Tonight I'm watching The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister - it's only just arrived here but I guess some of you will already have seen it. Might be some good material there for an article or book?
Happy New Year to everyone.

Knitting Out Loud said...

We all missed you! Glad you enjoyed New York, and that you have something green in your garden.

Lilacs In May said...

Welcome home, amazing aerial photo of Central park, happy 2011.

Rose said...

Happy New Year! I got Coco for Christmas and so far I'm loving her

dovegreyreader said...

Happy New Year from Devon too x
Your trip sounds well worth the diversions. I have decided that a bowl of hyacinth bulbs is what is needed in January, so I have bought some and the scent somehow dispels all those sad thoughts. It will soon be time for the first snowdrop sighting too which always feels like a special,season-turning moment.
I know have to type 'cottu' as my word verification which somehow sounds very Coco!

dovegreyreader said...

I meant now...and now I have to type 'coroc' which is even better!

Justine Picardie said...

Thank you everyone for lovely messages. I feel thoroughly inspired, and am going to buy some hyacinths tomorrow for indoors, then crossing my fingers before replanting the window boxes. The scented geraniums didn't survive the snow, and nor did the winter pansies, and the squirrels gobbled all the bulbs beneath, so am planning to plant some ready-grown scented narcissi...

lyn said...

Happy New Year, lovely to have you back blogging. Thank goodness you had a couple of big books to get you through the airport shuffle. In the middle of summer here in Melbourne I'm just longing for the first signs of autumn but I know I have a while to wait. enjoy this time of nesting & planning & good luck for this new year.

S.E.B & J.A.D. said...

xl pharmacy

You're a lucky blogger, I would like to have the same experience than you but I do not have enough money to do the same journey.