Day 9: Philadelphia and Ocean County, NJ
I have half the day to work on the computer and wander around. I love waking up and reading emails that have come in overnight from Australia. My daughter Olivia has sent 6 today panicking about my hair. I sent her a photo from the book launch evening when my hair was piled on top of my head in a 1930s kind of do. Poor Olivia thinks I have had it all cut off and is distraught thinking my 'old' hair has gone. I send lots of emails back reassuring her that I haven't changed! My father and Bertie kindly call her too to explain why it looks so short.
Even though I have bought way too much already, I still can't resist the urge to have a look in the nearby J.Crew store (Michelle Obama's favourite). I find great tee shirts there and several summer dresses on sale, but hold back until after I visit Daffy's Designer Discount Store (Philadelphia's best kept secret, so someone told me). Of course I find heaps of Italian designer shirts and dresses for ridiculous prices. Like a Missoni style knitted dress I buy for $23 reduced from $395. I miss these kinds of designer discount stores in Oz. We have outlets, but what they sell is all well handled and last season (and boring). Here, I know you have to work through tightly packed racks of clothes, some pretty yuk, but there are treasures in there if you have the patience and the stamina. I leave with a large bag of goodies.
My next presentation is in New Jersey. I have a driver and car arriving to collect me, take me to the venue and then to New York City again for the last 5 days. I am sad to leave Loews Hotel – I linger as long as possible and have a nice lunch with a glass of chilled California Chardonnay at the bar.
I seem to be doing a lot of driving, but at least I am not physically driving. I can certainly get used to having a car and driver at my disposal. It takes 1 ½ hours to reach the Ocean Country Library. We are a bit early so my driver takes me to the bay and we walk out onto the pier. It is peaceful and very pretty. The Lobster Shack sits on the waters edge and apparently serves great seafood.
My talk is well attended with all ages. Lots of lively questions and a few books are sold. The room in which my talk is held has been newly refurbished and is quite lovely with a large Palladian window at one end and lots of tall sash windows the other. The walls are lined in a soft pine coloured wood.
I am off again in my black sedan and arrive in the City just after 10pm. My evenings all seem to begin after 10pm over here. I check back in to The Time. Tomorrow is a big day of talks so I make a few notes and hit the sack.