After a great deal of nagging and against My better judgement I chose to take the ginger minions to NYC for one night. Had it been only myself i would have headed straight for Moma and the the Met followed by a stroll in central park. I would have taken the circle line ferry and seen Manhatten from the Hudson River. Alas I was harangued into visiting the worlds biggest Toy shop FAO Schwarz which was a dissapointment after much build up and huge expectations. My son marched right up to the manager and demanded to be lead to "the weapons department'. The manager stifled a gasp and explained in a whisper "we do not sell toy weapons here!' My children who have become die hard Angelinos have become very unaccustomed to walking. Due to heavy traffic and no subway we had no choice but to walk 2 or 3 blocks to our hotel in humid heat . My children started to fade and feign illness saying they could not cope with this prospect and would probably swoon. So I cajouled ,carried ,bribed ,beseached and begged them back to our tiny shared room on 7th ave. I was mentally exhausted by my cohersing but no rest for the wicked as it was straight on to TOp Shop for my teenager.This time we tried the subway. After about an hour of figuring out how to get through the barrier we managed to get on the train. This was the first time they had used public transport in 4 years and it was shocking. The noise, to be nose to nose with people we did not know. Quel horror! Top Shop was also a let down . In England it is affordable accessable glamour but in New York it it high end and exclusive . my poor teenager , ! we bought a t shirt. Next stop was my glorious friend John Barratt ,an amazing hairdresser who is a dear old friend. He had invited us for dinner at his vast Soho appartment . I thought it would be just me and the kids who made themselves at home immediately on his pristine bed eating ice cream and watching videos. I soon discovered that he was holding the party in my honor and had invited 30 of his closest friends.He peraded me around like a visiting Duchess saying that I was Sarah from LA which was the reason for the party. I met a variety of very entertaining people but felt somewhat self concious. After a predictably uncomfortable night sharing a tiny bed with my 8 year old son we headed for Times Square which I thought would be a "hit' . Sure enough we found the 2nd largest toy shop with a weapons dept and a policemans booth . My son who is facinated by law inforcement was allowed into the lockup and quizzed the policeman on criminals. My 4 year old girl asked innocently "Do you mainly arrest black people?" awkward silence ensued and I'm sure buttocks were clenched as it was also within 2 weeks of the unfortunate Dr Gates incident.
So the children and myself have been on the East Coast enjoyng the wonderful hospitality of my dear friend Maureen.I have always said that a good form of torture is 1 adult plus 3 (preferably under 5) children on long haul flight..you will reach depths of despair you did not know existed. The flight pain factor measured at about a 6 out of 10 and it was only 5 hours of mediocre distress from LAX to JFK. Of course I did NOT get to watch the Virgin America in flight entertainment , nor did I get to read a sentence of Middle march. My time was taken up with managing fisticuffs, squabbling and attending to demands and whinges and trying not to disturb my fellow passengers too much.I tried but alas failed. There was the inevitable tutting from all around.This flight however was a picnic compared to my epic and disasterous journey from London,s Heathrow airport to Sydney Australia in 2002 when I flew alone with my two very young children who did sleep a wink in 24 hrs.I dined out on the martydom of that flight for some time. We arrived to torrential rain in NY which my children found quite a novelty and were picked up my the marvellous Pat who drove us the Maureens beautiful house in South Hampton. The house is in a small colony about 5 miles from South Hampton village where most of the inhabitants have been coming every summer for 40 years . Children roam free around the colony and the beach is 2 minutes walk away.People drop by, children are in and out of each others houses and bikes are ridden . It s like England but warm.Maureen and I met in London when our eldest daughters were two . She went on to have 3 more kids and I lagged behind at only have 2 more.Maureen was a wonderfully generous and relaxed host and we had many years to catch up on. So with 7 children and no husbands we went sailing ,kyacking, painting , played tennis,swimming ,sat by the Atlantic. It was Idyllic We became well acquainted with the Long Island insects. Due to a record amount of rain and storms this summer the mosquitos have mutated into these super bugs which were delighted to feed upon my 3 children and myself.As well as the mozzies there were Tics that embed themselves under you skin. Grace was bitten by some tiny spider and we nearly ended up having to pay a visit to the notorious Dr Kot-known by the local women as Dr Hot due to his extreme handsomeness. Maureen gave me a tour of the various tennis and beach clubs which I was entertained to hear one was only allowed to join if you had the "right breeding" I was shocked! This is America for God sake..Is this an East coast thing? However the local community has obviously worked very hard to preserve the charm of this place. Parts of Sag Harbour looked so pretty it was like being on a film set, I am now so used to the ugliness of LA that beauty can look inauthentic. It was great being able to meander down small streets looking in shops.It felt like a great privilage to be able to see this beautiful , unspoilt part of the world.