Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Ahhh Jersey. The water, the views, the food. Now listen, I said Jersey, not New Jersey.
This my friends, is the REAL Jersey.
As Wikipedia states:
Islanders became involved with the Newfoundland fisheries in the 17th century. In recognition for all the help given to him during his exile in Jersey in the 1640s, Charles II gave George Carteret, Bailiff and governor, a large grant of land in the American colonies, which he promptly named New Jersey, now part of the United States of America.
Well what Wiki didn’t mention is that Philip Hewat Jaboor lives in Jersey, and he is the reason I made the trip.
I have heard about Jersey for years from both Rod and PHJ. It has always come across as a slow (but dreamy!), waywardly official island of England where major amounts of alcohol are imbibed.
Well you know what- I was right!
This wonky island is absolute heaven. Not only did they harbor lesbian surrealist lovers in the 30's but the Nazis swooped in for five years and stuck my friends grandmother in her own attic, took over her house and sent her ramshackle pieces of food (correct me if I am wrong Richard). As Quentin Crisp said, "popularity breeds contempt" and the UK is always irritated at Jersey for being loved. Not only does she have loads of beaches, a wonderful climate and great seafood but terribly entertaining residence!
PHJ was the most delectable host, he catered to my every need, most of all champagne. There was a wonderful schedule for each day:
Coffee and hot croissants at 8am
Relax till 10
Jaunt into town from 10-12
Lunch from 12-2
Beach from 2-4
Nap from 4-6
Dress from 6-630
Drinks from 630-730
Dinner from 730-?
I would occasionally wake up at night from the sounds of my liver crying but Rod was sure to stock up decanters of water next to my bed each night.
PHJ's house is amazing. An old farmhouse with a lovely addition on it is roomy yet cozy. His gardens are the end. Masses of lavender, agapanthus and a huge potted Datura to greet you when you walk into the front door.
Pheasants abound and are heard squawking day and night. My favorite sound was the sound of the neighbors clopping by on their horses all day. I am not sure if they do that all the time or if PHJ pays them to do it for guests in the mode of Au Rebours. However it happens, it made me feel like I was living in another century.
And how about that Pagoda? We all need one in our lives. The perfect retreat from the bustle of country life. To hole up in during a rainy night with a candle, or a lover and do it a la Japonaise.....
All of the people I met in Jersey were such a treat as well.
The Miles, who I have traveled with to India and Egypt, invited us to Seafield, their historical maison, for dinner.
Pictured here, you can see it blows the pants off of most other homes. Built in 1808, Richards great grandfather bought it and it was here that his grandmother was locked up while the Nazi's used the home as a base during the war. Richard has a great story (one of many) of his grandmother converting to Islam in the 1920's and when she died he found a massive crate in the attic and hoping that it was full of costumes and photographs found it packed with sand from Mecca! We enjoyed a stroll through the grounds of the home and a feast of the biggest lobsters I have ever seen. Their sons Henry and Robert were quite entertaining as well. Unfortunately, their daughter Kate, who spent a wild Halloween with us here in NYC several years ago, was vacationing on Corfu and couldn’t be there. I did meet an unexpected guest- Henrietta the hen! Richard knows my fascination with chickens but didn't warn me about his hen house. As soon as we turned a corner and I saw the cages I nearly dropped my pink champagne and ran into the house. Inside was the pluckiest little hen you have seen. I swooped her up, fed her some booze and petted her repeatedly. We got along splendidly. Richard offered me some of her eggs but I declined, although on second thought, they would of been quite fun souvenirs if I hollowed them out and displayed them at Easter. Next time Richard!
Senator Freddie Cohen and his family were a riot. Their home was quite stately but full of kids, which made it very relaxing. They hosted a BBQ for us and 8 other people and we gorged on chicken, tuna and lamb. Afterwards, 15-year-old Henry Miles was very bored with the other kids (a feeling I can recall vividly) so we set out on our own for a dune buggy ride through the pastures and onto the cliff over looking the sea. What a view! We screeched through weeds, rocks and even gave some rabbits a good chase before running out of gas and having to push the cart back to the house.
One of my favorite spots we toured was a church built in the 1920's by the wife of the founder of Boots the Chemist.
She commissioned Rene Lalique to create the interior and the results are dazzling. You can see here the pulpit of the smaller chapel. What you can't see are the floors that were carpeted with white Shagreen. Now that’s luxe for the Lord.
Thank you PHJ for a most memorable vacation! I'm looking forward to the next moment of folly on this fantastic Isle...
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Yet another 4th was spent at the lush home of Jamie Drake in East Hampton.
Since Rod's birthday is July 3rd, we all decamp from the castle in Harlem and head out to the sweet smelling countryside for 4-5 days to celebrate.
This year the guest list included:
Jason and Jamie- Our fabulous hosts
Sue Saas- Accordionist flapper
Philip Hewatt Jaboor- Rods boyfriend and town smarty pants
Rod Keenan- Birthday boy
Cator Sparks- one piece wonder
David Casto- Cator's poet-liscious boyfriend
Jonathan Raiola- Grilled Pizza creator bar none
Chris Johnson- Interior Design guru of Savannah
It was a small crowd this year and there were no 'special guests stars' as there have been in the past.
I missed meeting new people but relished being around friends and just tanning, swimming, reading and of course boozing.
One day I actually set a record and started drinking at 9am but by 10 I was passed out by the pool. Enough of that!
Marika, Jamie's chef, made the MOST amazing dishes. Highlights included pea soup with curry topped with lemon cream fraiche, steak by the pound, strawberry cheescake, coconut pastries topped with jam and one hell of a hot dog, hamburger blowout!
Oh, and the baked figs were really top drawer.
This being David's first time out, he was a bit nervous and so was I frankly. Would he have fun? Would he like my crew? Would he roll his eyes at my one piece swimming costume? Well he did indeed roll his eyes, but cracked a gorgeous smile of approval.
Everyone found him simply wonderful and very smart. PHJ was so enamoured that he even invited him to Jersey! Hope David can make it over the pond with me in 3 weeks, but we shall see. David was really surprised too. He thought that the long weekend would be some sort of social function like you see on TV and was much releaved to find it was a relaxing holiday with lots of pool time. We even had nap time and watched Orlando.
I only left the house twice. One day after lunch a group of us piled into the convertible and headed into town for some shopping, only to find all the shops closed for the weekend. We did pop into LoCo my favorite shop full of old Chanel, Hermes bags, Venetian glass and fun books. Edmond, the owner was glad to see us all and David may even work with him selling some Venetian pieces he has from e bay.
Highlights included dinner at Amonditos where we all got rather wiped out on margaritas, sue's unfortunate run in with a mean pair of scissors resulting in 7 stitches, fireworks galore on Rod's birthday (the pagoda thats roof rose was a real hit), Rod opening presents (The latex aliens pictured are actually seeds you plant and the latex dissolves..), Lunch on Shelter Island (Just like St.Tropez there were so many French).
Alas, we got back Tuesday evening and tonight we head to Atlanta to visit the family and friends. Lets see how David does on horseback! Did he have any idea what he was getting himself into by dating me?