January 15th, 1991

January 15th, 1991

At home, England

Just got off the phone with Lorna, who excitedly confirmed that her wedding date is March 12th, in Bermuda. The plan is to request a work trip with Carl and a few others we did our British Airways training with, which should be very fun! Sadly, I won’t be going with David but I’m not going to dwell on any of that. As Florence has pointed out on more than one occasion, there’s nothing I can do about a guy who prefers guys over girls. Absolutely nothing.

William sent a cassette with some of his favourite music, which I have to say was dreadful and not at all my cup of tea so I won’t be blasting that in the car anytime soon! Along with the cassette was a very, what I’d consider “heavy,” letter. As much as I like William, I think he’s too intense for me but I’ll at least write and say thanks (no thanks, haha!) for the cassette. Besides, the postage from Antigua cost a fortune and as mum would say, “It’s the thought that counts.”

 

January 8th, 1991

January 8th, 1991

At home, England

Florence came over tonight and surprisingly, we didn’t even finish the bottle of wine she brought.

“There’s too much to talk about, love,” she smiled.

“You can say that again!”

“So, what happened? And I promise I won’t interrupt or ask any questions ‘til you’re done.”

“You’ll never be able to do that,” I laughed.

“Watch me,” she said, with a mischievous wink.

“Ok, so the phone was ringing when I got home yesterday morning and it was, as you know, freezing, so it took me a while to fiddle with the key and get it in the lock, but when I came in, the phone was still ringing, so, I dashed into the living room and picked it up, hoping and don’t hate me for this, hoping it might be Ben to say he was coming to see his parents for the day or something.”

Florence rolled her eyes but didn’t speak.

“I know, I know…Anyway, when I picked up, I said, “Hello?” and the voice said, ‘Do I call you Karen or Madison?’”

Florence’s eyes widened.

“Yup, William! And guess what the first thing I said was?”

Her expression asked, “What?”

“I said, hang on a sec, I have to shut my front door!”

Florence burst out laughing.

“So, I shut the door, dragged my suitcase into the living room and we were on the phone for about two hours!”

Florence’s hands gestured, “And?”

“Obviously he received my epic letter, the one you suggested I send, explaining, for example, the fact I don’t actually work for Vogue or live in New York. And that my name is actually Karen and not Madison Frazer!”

Florence shook her head, as I continued. “Let’s see, oh yeah, so he asked when I’m going back to Antigua and I said Millie had suggested we try and get the fourteen day trip again but when I said that he got a bit quiet so either he isn’t interested in me being there that long or he doesn’t like Millie much.”

Florence’s expression led me to believe it was the latter.

“I know she can be a bit of a pill sometimes and looking back she wasn’t particularly nice to him so we’ll see but for now we agreed to keep in touch and I told him what you said about showing up on my doorstep and he said ‘don’t’ give me ideas.’ I mean, can you imagine if he did? That would be absolutely mental. Anyway, that’s it! You can talk now. Say something!” I urged.

“I don’t know what to say,” she laughed.

“You’re never at a loss for words.”

“So, you’re going to keep in touch and see how things go?”

“Yes, but to be honest with you after what happened with David I’m in no rush to get involved with anyone, let alone someone who once again lives thousands of miles away.”

“This is different though.”

“How so?” I asked.

“Well for a start, William’s only stationed in Antigua, so at some point I imagine he’ll probably go back to the States.”

“Oh yes, he did mention that. He should be back in the States within the next six months or so.”

“Does he know where?”

“Not yet but I’m hoping LA!”

She chuckled. “You need to stay away from there!”

I sighed. “I know but I still think about David. I wonder if he came out to his family.”

“Well let’s hope if he did, it was a good experience.”

I hope so.

 

 

 

Big, huge, thanks!

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Thank you to all who read, followed and liked Miss McGarr’s Diary. I started posting two years ago and have been amazed at the response to my diaries from life in 1989 and 1990.

Posting daily has been a labour of love and as most of you know, seriously time consuming so my blog will now focus on other writing projects.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and again, THANK YOU!

 

 

 

December 31st, 1990

December 31st, 1990

Hilton Hotel, Perth, Australia

Ending 1990 on the other side of the world, in a hotel room, where I’m not alone.

Still fragile from the room party our gregarious Captain insisted upon, even although we arrived at eight this morning (!) I stayed in bed most of the day and didn’t get up ‘til I heard a knock on the door.

I peered through the peephole to see Perfect Penny and my initial reaction was to creep quietly away, until I spotted the plastic shopping bag in her hand, at which point I knew something was “off.” Perfect Penny isn’t the sort of girl to ever be seen in public in possession of a bag with any less status than one designed by a woman named Coco (whose real name, incidentally was Gabrielle.)

As soon as I opened the door, Perfect Penny strode into my room.
“Hey Penny, come on in, why don’t you!” I drawled, my tone snarky.

“Penelope. Please,” she hissed.

She looked pale. “I see you’re still suffering as well.”

“What?”

“From the room party? You-”
“I must use your loo,” she blurted.

“Be my guest.”

I scanned the room service menu to see if they offered chocolate mousse (they did) and thought I’d order one not only for myself, but also for PP, mostly because I knew there was no way she’d eat it, which brought a smile to my face but that quickly changed when I heard her piercing scream.

“Are you alright, Penny?” I called out.

“It’s Penelope,” she shrieked.

“Sorry!”

She opened the door and held out her hand, in which she held a stick from a pregnancy test kit. I glanced at the solid pink line and a little sound, indicating shock, escaped my lips.

“It might be wrong,” I stated.

“I hope you’re correct. I shall try again,” she snipped, slamming the door shut.

I paced around the room, the appeal of chocolate mousse suddenly gone, then I heard the bathroom door creak open. “What does that one say?”

PP held out the stick. The result was the same.

“I’ll try another one,” she uttered, this time closing the door, slowly.

“How many do you have?”

“Four,” she whimpered, from the other side of the door.

“I’ll make us some tea,” I offered, because I really didn’t know what else to say.

PP came walking out of the bathroom as though she was in deportment class at finishing school but I could see she was shivering as she sat down.

“Here,” I said, pulling the blanket off my bed, draping it around her bony shoulders. “And I made you a nice cup of tea. Drink it up and I’ll turn up the heat.”

I sat on the bed across from her and noticed her hands were trembling. We didn’t speak for a while until PP broke the silence. “I don’t….I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

“They’re all-” I started to ask.

“Positive, yes,” she nodded. “All four of them.” Her voice sounded shaky.

“I’m sure you and Jeremy will figure everything out,” I said, in my most soothing tone.

She stared at the floor. “I can’t tell him. He’ll be furious.”
“Things don’t always go as planned,” I uttered, my mind wandering briefly to a momentous moment in a hotel room in LA just last month.
“I don’t think you understand,” she stated. “Jeremy and I have yet to…explore that side of our relationship.”

My questioning look prompted her to confess. “He thinks I’m still a virgin.”

“Oh,” is all I managed to get out.

“We planned on changing that on our wedding night, so you see, I…I can’t tell him.”

“Shit, Penny.” She glared at me. “Sorry, Penelope.”

“Thank you,” she sniffed, picking up the cup and saucer.

I didn’t know if she was thanking me for the tea, or for using her full name.

The evening arrangement was to meet in the First Class purser’s room at eight, then head to an Italian restaurant close by, where the Captain had reserved a private room. However, as the hours wore on, the reality of PP’s “condition” seemed to take hold of her and she went from being quiet and trembling, to crying hysterically.

She shared with me the entire sordid tale of the passionate affair she’s been having with the man who trains her horse (he’s twenty years her senior, married, with three kids.) He and Not So Perfect Penny have been having it off in the stables for the past six years!

After a few hours of trying to console her, I moved my suitcase off the spare bed and tucked her in. She was fully dressed and didn’t put up a fight, which is when I knew she’d gone over the edge. Within minutes, she was sound asleep, making murmuring sounds that led me to believe she was dreaming of her horse!

I can’t believe I feel sorry for her, but I really do. At some point, I’ll have to inform the Cabin Service Director, but it’ll have to wait, as I know he’s out celebrating with the crew.

Meanwhile, I’m 9,000 miles from home, trapped in a hotel room with sleeping beauty and her bun in the oven, thirty minutes away from 1991.

 

December 30th, 1990

December 30th, 1990

Night flight from MEL – PER

Short, uneventful stay in Melbourne, now on crew rest, as we make our way to Perth, the place where we’ll bid farewell to 1990, the year in which I travelled to;

Lagos, NIGERIA

Malaga, SPAIN

Jeddah, SAUDI ARABIA

Doha, Qatar, SAUDI ARABIA

New York, New York, USA

Montreal, CANADA

Detroit, Michigan, USA

HONG KONG

Washington, Dulles County, USA

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Toronto, CANADA

Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA

Nairobi, KENYA

Dusseldorf, GERMANY

Kingston, JAMAICA

Amsterdam, HOLLAND

Bergen, HOLLAND

Los Angeles, California, USA

Abu Dhabi, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Miami, Florida, USA

Antigua, WEST INDIES

Durban, SOUTH AFRICA

Cairo, EGYPT

Harare, ZIMBABWE

Seattle, Washington, USA

Vancouver, CANADA

Caracas, VENEZUELA

Bogota, COLUMBIA

Puerto Ayacucho, VENEZUELA

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Newark, New Jersey, USA

Cologne, GERMANY

Bangkok, THAILAND

Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

Adelaide, AUSTRALIA

SINGAPORE

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

A total of 21 countries and 376, 279 miles!

 

December 29th, 1990

December 29th, 1990

Night flight from BKK – MEL

Winging our way to the land down under on this Saturday night, on a plane filled with crying babies that literally haven’t stopped since we left Bangkok four hours ago, which means we have another five to go.

Ugh!

 

December 28th, 1990

December 28th, 1990

Dusit Thani Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

Graeme left first thing to operate the flight to Melbourne, which was most welcome as he was just starting to get on my nerves. There are very few people I want to spend heaps of time with and I rediscovered Graeme isn’t one of them but hey, no regrets!

Spent most of the day with Penelope Platt-Balfour (from my crew) who’s make up and blonde chignon looked as immaculate at the end of the day as when we met this morning. Even after hours in the sticky heat, nothing about her appearance faltered. It was ridiculous, I mean, who goes shopping in the markets of Bangkok wearing pearls?

Penelope just got engaged to Jeremy (three carats) and they’re going to live happily ever after in their country house in Hampshire; “We plan to build on a parcel of land Jeremy’s mummy and daddy acquired.” A “Parcel of land,” in Penelope’s world is equivalent to half of Scotland and “Acquire” is posh talk for “Inherit.”

Penelope and Jeremy will have two point two children, named Rupert and Clementine (after her great-great grandmother, the rich old bag who left Jeremy’s Daddy oodles of dosh and “the land,” in Hampshire.)

Rupert (commonly known as Ropes) will play rugby and dabble in archery but he’ll fail to excel in anything, because his Mother will constantly compare him to his younger sister, forcing him to grow up feeling inadequate.

Clementine (affectionately known as Pudding, a name bestowed upon her by her doting Grandmama) with her striking resemblance to the old hag who left all the dosh, will play piano superbly, dance ballet beautifully, sing like an angel, and demand a pony before she can write her name.

Jeremy will continue to “work in finance,” but will fail to notice how much Penelope spends employing the five people who run her, “terribly hectic life.” When the head nanny (“We keep two just in case I manage to conceive again, it’s all been so dreadfully difficult”) loses weight and comes dangerously close to weighing the same as “Mistress,” Penelope will take to her top of the line Range Rover and drive across muddy fields (read as; “all the land we own.”)

During that particular trek, Penelope will devise ways to sack “Skinny Nanny,” before stopping halfway across the field to check her make-up. In the mirror, Penelope will admire her still glossy blonde locks but when she runs her hand across her pale, smooth cheek, tears will begin falling from her beady eyes. Penelope will scold herself for being a terrible person because she knows Skinny Nanny’s weight loss is related to the recent, sudden death of her younger sister.

Penelope’s tears will land on the freshwater pearls (handed down of course) she wore in Bangkok, years ago, during what she still secretly considers the happiest time of her life. A time before Mummy won the argument that, “Only common girls work.”
Ok, so perhaps I’m being a little harsh on Perfect Penny (“It’s pen eh la pee. Please refrain from calling me Penny. Mummy says it’s frightful to shorten one’s Christian name.”) After an entire day of listening to her high-pitched voice, I returned to the quiet of my room but in my head, I could still hear her prattling on about her horse.

In an effort to escape, I ordered far too much food on room service (all gone) then climbed into bed and watched, “A Room with a View,” with Julian Sands, who is much yummier than the three servings of chocolate mousse I mistakenly (yeah, right!) ordered.

 

December 27th, 1990

December 27th, 1990

Dusit Thani Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

So, there might have been a little bit of kissing tonight. Ok, there might have been a fair amount of kissing. Oh alright, I confess, I had a major snog fest with Graeme!

I met Graeme on a trip last year, during which we fell in what I like to call, “trip lust,” which typically occurs in an exotic location, in this case the beautiful island of Bermuda with its pink sand and turquoise water.

Since that trip, there’s been a running joke between us that I continually lost Graeme’s phone number, when in fact I never kept it in the first place!

We met up again tonight in that most romantic (not!) of places, The Toby Jug, which crew seem drawn to like moths to a flame. I only agreed to go because it tends to be the first stop for crew before heading somewhere livelier (and less British!)

I soon realized I wasn’t in the mood for traipsing around Pat Pong in the heat so I came back to the hotel with Graeme, where we sat in the beautiful lobby bar with the huge Christmas tree and piano tunes to match. Conversation flowed as freely as the Mai Tai’s before he walked me to my room, outside which there was that awkward moment of, “Now what?”

Graeme gazed at me in that Christmas lights a glowing sort of way and his eyes sparkled accordingly, which, on reflection was at least eighty two percent alcohol induced but regardless, I’m a single girl, in Thailand, with a cute guy.

Added to which, it’s Christmas!

 

December 26th, 1990

December 26th, 1990

Flight from LHR – BKK

Presently on crew rest as we wing our way to Bangkok, and if my first impressions of the crew are accurate, I foresee a boozy trip, laced with several helpings of drama!

 

December 25th, 1990

December 25th, 1990

At home, England

Festive Christmas Day with Florence and her gang, filled with presents and delicious food, including my all-time favourite; Christmas Pudding with Brandy sauce. Oh my!

“Karen love,” Florence uttered, long after the table was cleared. “You must fess up to William.”

“Why?”

“I have a funny feeling he’s going to show up on your doorstep!”

“Don’t be silly, he lives on an island, thousands of miles away from here.”

“I know love, but I just think with him being so keen and reconnecting with you he might make an appearance.”

“He won’t,” I stated.

“I wouldn’t be so sure.”

“Don’t worry, he won’t.”

She gave me a questioning look

“I ehm, I gave him a fake address and number.”

“Oh, Karen!”

“I know, I know but, ugh, it was all so weird, with Shelby squealing and me panicking about missing the flight and all that. I was completely caught off guard!”

Her look told me she didn’t agree with me.

“You think I should’ve told him the truth?”

She nodded. “I think you owe it to him to at least tell him the truth about the circumstances under which you met. The other stuff is up to you.”

I sighed deeply. “You’re right. I should tell him.”

She smiled. “Can you write to him?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Then I think you should spill the beans and make it clear you don’t want to see him again…unless of course you do.”

“I don’t know if I do or not. I’ve been thinking about the fun we had in Antigua but I don’t know if I’m flattered because he made such an effort to find me or because I really liked him.”

She nodded in agreement. “I think starting with the truth is the first step, then see where it goes from there. At least that way when he shows up on your doorstep professing his undying love, he’ll at least know your real name!”

I came home and penned a ten-page letter that I already put in the post.