Today, our cherished John Julius Norwich would have turned 89. We love him still: Happy Birthday dearest Friend... off already on your next great adventure, writing another brilliant book for us to read across the sky!!! We’ll LOOK UP!! 😊 Especially sending love today to Mollie, Artemis, Antony, Nella, Adam and Jason
FRANCE 🇫🇷 CONQUERS PICCADILLY! 🇬🇧😊 Not since the Battle of Trafalgar has the fear been so great haha! Congrats! Viva la Republique!! (Off the plane from Porto Ercole JUST IN TIME to catch the happiness overflowing)!
10 snaps! Glenda Bailey, Steve Sumner, Peter Iacono (& me) went as a foursome to Royal Ascot this year! Another new adventure for we Four Musketeers!! G’s hat you ask about...? 😊 WELL, here’s the scoop!! Our beloved Glenda is also Editor-In-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar so VALENTINO lent her this wild hat straight off the 2018 runway collections! Couture of course! How cool is that!!!!!! 🎉💖 (Seeing through it was another story!)
...& the NEXT Morning, heading to ASCOT🐎 inside the Royal Enclosure 🎩🥂🍾!! 😊🇬🇧❤️🏴🎉 Prof. HENRY HIGGINS-land! Already singing... “🎼The Rain in Spain Stays Mainly on the Plane🎶🎵!!”/ 2 Days of “My Fair Lady” in a row!!!!
Official Palace pics arrived!!!BRITISH WARMTH abounding! ❤️❤️❤️🇬🇧🏴Such an HONOR for this kid born in LOS ANGELES to be with Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. (Gwyneth Paltrow- such a beautiful dress too!) *All pictures official / no “snaps” 😊!
At L’Orientaliste (the #HeywoodHill Bookshop of CAIRO! Can I sing higher praise😊🎉🕺) Right across from Groppi’s, I had to race into this Aladdin’s Cave of bibliophile treasure before catching my plane to London... Hassan bought the bookshop 32 years ago for his beloved wife, and with her passing, he now runs it for her😊❤️🙏🏻. In his “other life”, Hassan is Egyptian OPERA LEGEND HASSAN KAMY, who has sung in 45 counties from Sydney to the Met! A cultural ambassador to the whole world bringing his infectious, loving HUGE HEART & JOY FOR LIFE TO EVERYONE! (Think or an Egyptian John Julius Norwich! A singing one!) NOW to the airport!!!!🛫✈️🇬🇧
Awake at 6am, studying Tahrir Sq through a MAP of Old Cairo, from Artemis Cooper’s BRILLIANT book: “Cairo in the War: 1935-45”... IF (like me!😊) you discover yourself watching “The English Patient” or “Casablanca” OVER & OVER😘, then walking this district with the footsteps of the past to guide you... to where the legendary Shepheard’s Hotel once stood with its terrace hosting everyone from Churchill to Agatha Christie(!)... to Groppi’s for a coffee before sneaking into Cairo’s breathtaking Art Deco buildings (that rival the Bund in Shanghai!!!), then this book-in-hand is the guide I’ve DREAMED OF (and, I bet, you’d love it too)!! What’s lost to history is unlocked in its pages... EXPLORATION AWAITS!🎉🇬🇧
Finally INSIDE the most ANCIENT LIBRARY on EARTH🎉- home to the 4th c. Codex Sinaiticus, the most complete Old & New Testament ever found. In Here is HISTORY ITSELF! What JOY! What Bliss! We got to go back day after day... lingering and learning!! 🎉🎉This is The Holy Grail of ancient scholarship- with texts that source back to even the library at Alexandria!!!!!!!!!
Thank YOU Artemis for inviting me on this AMAZING journey!!! (We’re about to step into the oldest Library 📚 ON EARTH... to study ancient manuscripts kept safe there for 1600 years, behind the 16-foot-thick walls of the Monastery.) The ultimate PURPOSE of our trip has arrived!
5am morning matins in the 6th c. basilica (built by Justinian) enclosing the Chapel of the Burning Bush, built by St Helena in 4th Century, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great(!) on the very spot revered since BEFORE the time of KING DAVID where MOSES is believed to have spoken to GOD! Wow. TWICE while we were staying, we were allowed to step behind the alter, through an ancient four foot tall door, into the holiest of holy places here, AND we stood before the very spot where Moses witnessed “God in the Fire that Burned but Did Not Consume”... to kneel, place our hands upon it, creating an intimacy of experience that is mind boggling. It distilled the biblical stories so many of us grew up with... stories of religion, stories of history, stories of myth.... it distilled as well a lifetime of museum journeys that made the Bible manifest through the genius of Rembrandt, Titian, Giotto... it distilled IT ALL, SUDDENLY, into 24 inches of real earth before me encased in a bronze plaque on the ground. PHYSICAL temporal SPACE that promised to transcend ALL SPACE and ALL TIME. My mind practically exploded!!! AND EVEN if one has challenges with the Divine, SO MUCH of Western history had its genesis HERE, on this spot, that the profundity of this fact alone left my poor little mind with a 100 lifetime’s worth of contemplation. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who made this once in a lifetime experience possible.