New York, with added tractors



New York, just like I pictured it.

New York, just like I pictured it.

So as a veteran of three US book tours, I’ve learned that if you don’t want to start a two week tour looking like an extra from The Walking Dead, it is a good idea to build in a rest day to recover from the flight.
If you’re me, that will also mean you use this day to book in an emergency back massage in a tiny suite above a Chinese supermarket on 7th Avenue (don’t ask. I’m crocked), walk halfway around NY with that weird intensity of melancholy which comes from realising you are probably never going to  live somewhere you would have probably loved living in, squeeze in some present shopping on 5th for your children, and a trip to Brooklyn to see a friend from London and her toddler. Because obviously I couldn’t just, you know, wait to go home and see her in London.

Sophie was staying in a flat in Brooklyn Heights, an area which despite its acheing trendiness and elegant brownstones, apparently induces immediate profound deafness in Manhattan taxi ranks. Through the medium of mime, the waving of dollar bills, and an air of utter desperation, I finally found one prepared to venture across the Brooklyn Bridge (apparently only because it was a holiday) and spent a pleasant afternoon under Sophie’s expert tutelage stalking the houses of various writers (Martin Amis, do you REALLY need anti-sparrow spikes above your windows? Hmm?)


E, said toddler, basically bore the brunt of my misplaced maternal longings patiently. We played bubbles and rolling off the sofa and admired each other’s socks and finally strolled through the 90 degree heat to an old fashioned Brooklyn diner, where, when she suffered the kind of exhaustion overload that only someone of two and a half can, the Italian owner came out and took a look at her plate and exclaimed: “They made your food touch? They put your ketchup right next to your chips? What’s WRONG with them? Here. I’ll sort it out, sweetheart.” Cue one pacified toddler.

That evening, relishing the fact that I can now actually walk without weeping,  (thank you Esther at Body Balance! I’m sorry if I actually told you I loved you!) I ate soft-shelled crab with a film producer, and walked back to the hotel through the steaming Manhattan streets feeling a little like my life had been hijacked by someone far more interesting and exciting. (It’s possible that a lot of this blog will sound like this. If you’re going to feel nauseated, it’s probably wise to jump ship now.)

I returned to my laptop to the news that my husband and children, in my absence, had  bought a tractor to renovate: It’s a long way from Manhattan, or Hollywood, but weirdly, just as exciting. This is what REALLY passes for news where I live…

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