The horror! The horror! as Joseph Conrad wrote.
My ex-landlady (the Morticia of previous blogs) from Los Angeles reappeared to me in a dream. I have not seen her since our court date, after I successfully sued the rental company for money that had been withheld from my deposit after I left the apartment.
In the dream, she was showing a property to a European gentleman who was looking for locations to shoot his next movie.
Interestingly, it was Morticia’s obsessive updates to me regarding a European gentlemen tenant in the building that had been one of the main reasons for my departure, so there must be some unconscious connection there.
Anywhere, the nightmare – dream is way too nice a word for what was going on in my head – continued, when I discovered that I was moving back into my old apartment.
The old apartment with the dated cupboards, the crap cooker, the broken window, the grotty bathroom basin – the “very high end” establishment, as Morticia described it to the judge. Trust me: high spec in LA just means expensive. Never mind the quality, feel the width of your shrinking pile of cash.
Never have I been so grateful to wake. But it set me thinking about the things I DO miss about LA.
Obviously, now living in Cardiff, the second wettest city in the UK, I miss the warmer climate.
I miss walking to Santa Monica pier at the end of the day and watching the sun go down while sipping a frozen Margarita.
I miss my friends at Wine Expo, the Santa Monica wine bar and shop that boasts the best selection of Italian wine I have ever seen – on either side of the Atlantic.
Strangely, I miss the long-haul flying. Twelve hours without a mobile phone is a long time in media land, and I used to welcome the peace in the air, doing nothing but watching films and taking advantage of the many goodies on offer.
I miss the Virgin Atlantic and Air New Zealand cabin crew.
I miss Thierry in the Air New Zealand lounge at LAX.
Most of all, I miss the optimism of LA. I loved being in a city whose very heartbeat was film and television; and while there were undoubtedly many hangers on in that environment, I will repeat what I have said many times: Hollywood may be bollocks, but it’s still the best bollocks in the world.
Today, the sun is shining in Cardiff. I have just enjoyed a great four days with my mum staying with me for her birthday - the only downside being Maddie the bichon frise emptying her bladder (again) on my lovely rugs. I adore the dog, but now suspect that in some strange part of her brain, she thinks she is “rewarding” me for giving her copious amounts of chicken and gravy.
I have also just had lunch with my very pregnant friend Jane, who is about to drop at any second; in fact, I thought that her broken waters were about to join Maddie’s urine on the carpet, so was relieved when she had to leave to go to pick up her daughter.
Both occasions were reminders of why I returned to the UK: friends and family. I made a few friends in LA and remain close to them, but even some of them still find the distance between their new life and people they have known forever, difficult to cope with.
At some point in the spring, I will go to Paris for five days, and that will be another reminder of why I returned. From King’s Cross, my favourite city in the world is a little over two hours away on the Eurostar.
On a Sunday morning, I will to the Café Philosophe and listen to an incomprehensible debate in French. I will cross the road to the Bastille market and move between smells of melons, roses, cider, cheese and bread, and I will cry with joy at this glorious onslaught on my senses.
I will go for lunch in Bofinger, where they will remember me from past visits and sit me in my favourite part of the restaurant under the stained glass, domed ceiling.
I will see the friends I made during the seven years I lived in this great city and think how blessed I am to have all this on my doorstep.
And I will remember LA and everything that is great about it.
But I will know, in my heart, where my true love is.