December 20th, 1989

December 20th, 1989

Flight from SIN – AUH

Two reasons why I love champagne;

  1. It tastes delicious.
  2. It doesn’t give me a hangover (true love.)

With a clear head and hoarse voice, I met Matt and Sarah this morning and we went to several markets where I found some lovely, unusual little gifts but it was so humid I felt drained after only a short time. I was overjoyed when Sarah said she felt the same and suggested we head back to the hotel for afternoon tea.

In the hotel lobby, we rang Frankie to see if she wanted to join us but there was no reply so we made our way to the Compass Rose on the top floor of the hotel. Afternoon tea was terribly civilized with the most amazing views over Singapore and Matt made us chuckle with his “pinky etiquette.” Judging by how close he and Sarah sat together, I get the impression they’re becoming rather fond of each other!

Lots of jovial chat on the crew bus on our way to the airport. Frankie was the only quiet one, which is most unusual. I teased her about not seeing the light of day but she didn’t respond.

Take-off was delayed by two hours and passengers were already onboard so we were subjected to complaint after complaint, all until we served dinner on the ground which seemed to calm everyone down. All except for the vile woman in 32A, who literally hasn’t stopped moaning the entire flight. We have two hours to go and I’m surprised her finger hasn’t fallen off with the amount of times she already pressed the call bell.

Matt told us about his little brother’s obsession with something called the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which I’ve never heard of. Apparently, they’re very popular this Christmas and just before I came on crew rest, Matt gave us masks that we had fun in the galley with.

Maybe I’ll don the mask again and scare the you know what out of the witch in 32A!

 

December 19th, 1989

 

December 19th, 1989

The Westin Stamford Hotel

Singapore

I was so concerned about Frankie that I kept the adjoining room door open and throughout the night, I popped in and out to check on her, like one would, a baby. Each and every time I found her in a different position which reassured me enough to stumble sleepily back to bed.

Just as I was finally dozing off this morning, Frankie came bounding into my room.

“Darling! Are you awake?” she screeched.

Eh, no. I’ve been up all bloody night keeping an eye on you! I didn’t say that of course but I certainly wanted to.

“Sweetheart,” she continued. “Why is there a wheelchair in my room?”

I sat up and stared at her. “Are you serious?”

I filled Frankie in on the reason for her new mode of transport and when I was done recounting the latter part of the evening’s events, she covered her mouth with her hand and giggled like she was twelve again. I tried desperately to maintain my scornful expression but watching her laughing so hard made me do the same.

“Ok, that’s enough,” she said, trying to compose herself. “We have to get ready.”

“For what?”

“Gam is coming to pick us up.”

“No way.”

“Waaay,” she said in a fake drawl.

“No. I. Am. Not. Going. Out.”

“You have to come with us, Gam has the day all planned for us.”

“Sorry but no. I really need to sleep.”

“Party pooper,” she said, blowing a raspberry.

“That’s me,” I said, gleefully crawling back under the covers.

 

Sleep was blissful until Frankie returned and blasted the radio. The adjoining door was open and I poked my head in.

“Frankie? You there?”

“Darling!” She exclaimed, making her way towards me with her arms outstretched.

“Why are you all dressed up?” I asked.

She hugged me tight. “We’re meeting the crew in twenty minutes.”

“Oh no! I thought I’d only been asleep for a little while.”

“Guess you needed it.”

No shit, Frankie!

 

Frankie omitted to tell me Gam would be joining us and he looked slightly bewildered when everyone started showing up in the lobby.

“Who’s he?” Sarah whispered.

“His name is Gam. He’s a friend of Frankie’s. He lives here.”

Sarah snickered when I shrugged my shoulders.

 

On the Captain’s recommendation, we made our way to Fatty’s restaurant. The sleeves of Frankie’s dress were covered in pale pink feathers and each time Alan (our Captain) turned to talk to her, he pretended to sneeze. Sarah, Matt and I were walking behind them and couldn’t stop laughing but Frankie seemed oblivious and just kept talking.

Dinner with our entire crew was most enjoyable, a great bunch for sure and I think the fact we’re spending Christmas together prompted everyone to make an appearance tonight.

After dinner, most of us went to the Top Ten club, where Sammy and his bodyguard (oh, please!) were inside. The second Sammy spotted Frankie, he made a beeline for her. Sarah gave me a questioning look and gestured towards Gam.

“No idea,” I shouted.

The music was loud so we couldn’t hear what was being said but Frankie and Sammy’s body language told us everything we needed to know!

Frankie made her way over to Gam and Sarah and I watched Frankie telling Gam he had to go. And he did. Just like that, he made his way towards the exit and once he was gone, Sammy beckoned for us to follow him to what appeared to be the VIP area. Inside the ropes, we lounged in armchairs with tiny lights inside. Even the Captain joined us!

The champagne (courtesy of Sammy) flowed and we were all in very good spirits. I joined Sarah and Matt on the dance floor, just in time for the chorus of, “I Hate Myself For Loving You.” We sang in a way that pretty much guarantees we’ll have no voice tomorrow.

I can definitely relate to that song!

 

December 18th, 1989

December 18th, 1989

Singapore

I was so excited when we landed in Singapore (another new destination) at two this afternoon, eight hours ahead of London time and too late to consider a nap.

My room adjoins Frankie’s, which in itself should prove to be an experience! No sooner had we arrived when Frankie produced enough Christmas decorations to fill Santa’s Grotto and my very upmarket hotel room is now adorned in tinsel and plastic reindeer.

Gam, Frankie’s friend who lives here, arrived as planned and had a big look of surprise on his face when Frankie poured vodka (no idea where it came from!) into three tall glasses and proceeded to tell Gam to “drink up,” because we were tired and he had to go. He didn’t protest or take even a sip of his drink. We said our goodbye’s and as soon as he was gone I asked Frankie what she was up to.

“You’ll see,” she purred, looking more angelic than ever.

Out came the glitter, at which point I was happy to retreat to my room. Frankie managed to find a radio station playing Christmas music, which she blasted and danced in and out of my room in various stages of what she calls, “getting dolled up.”

There was such a huge queue at the taxi stand that we waited close to an hour for a taxi. I was ready to go back upstairs and crawl into bed but Frankie insisted we “Press on.”

“Where are we actually going?”

“To Sammy’s,” she replied, shivering slightly in her sleeveless dress.

During the twenty-minute taxi ride, Frankie filled me in on Sammy.

“So we’re going to his house?”

“Yes, finally you get it!”

“Is he expecting you?” I asked.

“Probably not.”

Sammy wasn’t home but his housekeeper let us in. Well when I say let us in, I mean she  held the door open while Frankie barged inside. At the time, Frankie’s arm was linked in mine so I followed her into the huge, open room with floor to ceiling windows.

Frankie made a beeline for the phone, rang Sammy and proceeded to shout into the phone for the next couple of minutes. Then she hung up, didn’t say a word and was helping herself to a drink when a man, I assumed was Sammy, appeared.

“Who are you?” she barked.

“Miss, my name is Paddy. I drive you to mister Sammy.”

“Oh goodie,” she said, downing her drink.
Off we went in the back seat of the gleaming Mercedes, complete with privacy screen. The road was narrow and winding and down we traveled towards the hub of the city. When we pulled up outside the Hilton Hotel, two men were waiting outside.

“That’s him,” Frankie said with a nod of her head while she applied her lipstick.

“Which one?”

“The tall one. The other one’s his bodyguard.”

“Why does he have a bodyguard?” I asked but she was already outside.

Sammy isn’t what I’d call attractive but he’s striking looking.  He’s about six five with jet black, slicked back (yuk) hair. He was wearing a huge gold watch and heavy gold chain, doused in cologne. I imagine he spends an absurd amount of time in the gym, where I expect the mirrors are some of his closest friends.

Judging by his reaction at seeing Frankie, he was ready, willing and able to devour her! Honestly, it was embarrassing. I immediately felt really out of it and during dinner I feigned interest in the conversation (aka drivel) but in reality, my mind kept wandering off in different directions.

After dinner, Paddy dropped the three of us at the Top Ten club, which is really naff but most of our crew were there, including Sarah, a girl I worked down the back with (this is only her second trip) and a fun guy called Matt.

Matt, Sarah and I were having a great time on the dance floor but Frankie said Sammy wanted to leave. I didn’t think she should be alone with him so I said I’d go with her.

Next stop was Caesars, where Frankie and Sammy worked their way through the cocktail menu and needless to say, by the time we left, they were both pretty gone.

“Nightcap, nightcap,” Frankie cooed.

“No nightcap, it’s time to go back to the hotel,” I stated.

“Paddy will take you,” Sammy said. “See you girls tomorrow.”

I think not.

We were only in the car for about fifteen minutes but during that time Frankie went from bad to worse. By the time we pulled up outside the hotel, she was hanging like a ragdoll. Paddy made no attempt to help her out of the car but fortunately the bellhop appeared.

At that point, Frankie couldn’t even stand and as small as she is, the bellhop was even smaller and couldn’t keep hold of her so he pushed her against me and said, “Please wait. I return.”

A few minutes later he reappeared. With a wheelchair.

And that’s what we used to take Frankie to her room!

 

December 17th, 1989

December 17th, 1989

Flight from LHR – SIN

Presently on crew rest which, due to the almost fourteen-hour flight time, is lengthy. Frankie is upstairs in the bunks, no doubt resting up for what I imagine will be an amazing trip. Our flight was delayed by three hours and most of the crew had been informed but I left the house too early.

Kept busy in TriStar House writing notes and reading the cards in my mail slot. Annabel’s card is one of the nicest ever, printed, of course, with a picture of “the country house,” covered in snow, looking very grand. Inside, she scribbled;

Miss McGarr!

You simply must come and stay, in 1990!

Lashings of love x

Sweet looking card from Graeme, with two mice under the mistletoe, wearing Christmas hats. I rolled my eyes when I read; The best thing this year was our trip to Bermuda. Do you need my number?

“Bloody men,” I uttered.

Jon rang this morning and we chatted for ages about all sorts.

“This time last year you were in Orlando,” he reminded me.

“And this year I have to work on Christmas day.”

“Yeah, but you’ll be on the other side of the world.”

Working.”

“Sorry McGarr,” he said, laughing. “You do not have my sympathy.”

“Regardless,” I chuckled. “Happy Christmas, Jon.”

“Same to you. Enjoy the festivities and ring me when you get back.”

 

After I hung up, I had an overwhelming desire to see Ben so I rang him. Half an hour later, he was in my car.

“Where should we go?”

“Not too far,” he said. “I have to pick Mandy up at the train station.”

Crushed doesn’t cover it. “When?” I asked.

“In just over an hour.”

We drove to Willen Lake but it was too cold to walk so we stayed in the car. Ben kept looking at his watch then without asking, he turned on the radio, after which we barely spoke. By the time I dropped him off, I felt utterly depressed and cried all the way home.

Dad gave me a questioning look and I made an excuse about the cold and how it was affecting me.

“You just missed David. He phoned about five minutes ago.”

“Did he leave a message?” I asked.

“He said to wish you a Merry Christmas but hoped you’d have time to phone him back.”

“It’s still early in LA,” I said, looking at my watch.
“Aye, he said he set his alarm to try and catch you before you left.”

Another questioning look.

“I’ll ring him after I finish packing,” I said, even though my suitcase was already packed and ready to go.

Just as I was about to leave, mum came downstairs, looking ghastly. She looked like she’d been crying and when she hugged me and said, “I’ll miss you at Christmas,” it took all I had not to cry.

Dad put my suitcase in the boot and asked if I had everything.

“I have my ID and passport. That’s all I really need.”

“Have a nice trip, hen. If you can phone at Christmas, that’d be great. I know mum would like that.”

“I’ll try, dad, but with the time change and everything…”
“Aye, I know, hen. Just enjoy yourself.”

“Thanks, dad. Happy Christmas.”

I put my brave face on and drove off waving, but as soon as I turned the corner, I burst into tears.

 

December 16th, 1989

December 16th, 1989

At home

Super busy Saturday, delivering gifts and packing for tomorrow’s trip. Seems strange that I won’t be back until the end of the year.

This afternoon, when I picked mum up from the Christmas party at church, she introduced me to her friends. They were all very sweet and I got to see firsthand why mum enjoys the sense of community there. Everyone I talked to spoke highly of mum, which is no surprise, given that she is such a likable person who’s easy to get along with.

We celebrated Christmas here tonight by opening presents and eating mince pies (I’m so stuffed.) Mum looked like she might burst into tears at any moment and dad, clearly aware of her mood, made sure to play only happy Christmas songs.

As interesting as this year has been, I don’t think I’ll be sad to leave it behind.

 

December 15th, 1989

December 15th, 1989

At home

Went shopping with mum and felt sad knowing I’ll be away for Christmas (on a trip with Frankie that will, no doubt, be very interesting!) Mum mentioned more than once that Christmas won’t be the same without not only me around, but also Nana.

I have lovely memories of helping Nana wrap our gifts, then feigning surprise when I opened mine on the day.

“It’s just what I wanted,” I’d say, laughing.

“I’m so glad you like it, hen,” Nana would say, avoiding eye contact with me for fear of cracking up laughing.

I do feel bad I won’t be here, especially this year, where things have been difficult for mum and dad but more than ever I know it’s time for me to move out. I’ve been thinking about Christopher’s offer of helping me get set up somewhere in New York in an apartment that I’d rent (no way could I afford to buy there.) I still love the idea of buying a place in France but New York captures (and holds!) my attention unlike anywhere else and I can imagine “popping in,” to see Christopher (the only person I’d know in New York!) on my days off.

I know plenty of cabin crew who commute, ok maybe not to New York but with the short flight time, I think I could make it work.

 

December 13th, 1989

December 13th, 1989
Night flight from JFK – LHR

I’m a whiz with Christopher’s coffee maker after having watched him use it so many times, so while he was getting ready for work I used it, for which he was grateful.

He said I was welcome to “hang out,” as long as I wanted, but I thought it would be a bit strange staying there without him, so I left with him.

It was snowing a little when we stepped outside his building (a different doorman this time, not nearly as nice as Michael.)
“Do you mind if I walk for a bit with you?”
“You Brits are so polite,” he said, offering me his arm.

Christopher laughed when I raised my head up to the sky so I could feel the snowflakes landing on my face. We had a chat about snowflakes and how no two are the same, then of the blue, he squeezed my arm and said, “You should move here.”
“What?”
‘You love the city, you should move here.”
“I do, it’s my favourite place in the world.”
“Why don’t you think about it? I’d help you get set up.”
“In what way?”
“I’m a native New Yorker,” he said in an exaggerated New York accent, “I got people.”
We both cracked up laughing.

I hadn’t planned on walking all the way to the office with him but we were having such a lovely chat.
“You wanna cab?”
“No thanks, I want to walk back in the snow.”
We hugged in the middle of the mass of people swarming into the huge building.
“Don’t be a stranger,” he smiled.

Back in my room, the message light was flashing. I thought perhaps there was another delay to the flight home, but no, the message was from David, from last night. He said he was sorry he missed me, but would ring me at home this weekend. Telling him I’d spent two nights in a guy’s apartment probably wouldn’t sound very good, even though it was completely innocent!

The snow got heavier as the day wore on and I bundled up and walked up to Central Park. It was bitter cold, but I really enjoyed the brisk walk. This is the most amazing place.

I could see myself living here.

December 12th, 1989

December 12th 1989
Christopher’s apartment,
73rd Street, New York

After only two hours of sleep, Christopher left for work. I sat on the couch reading while Frankie continued with her beauty sleep and when we eventually left, I experienced total déjà vu talking to Michael, the doorman, who hailed us a cab. There was no way I was walking back to the hotel:
A. In the bitter cold.
B. Wearing last night’s clothes!

Frankie’s angelic looking face and blonde wispy hair told the story of a wondrous evening in which we went out together and stayed together, yet experienced a completely different night!

Back at the hotel, Frankie amazingly came back to life and said we were going skating with a guy she met last night! I thought she was talking about “Leroy,” but no, it was someone else. I still have no idea what his name is even though we (she) skated with him for an hour in Central Park. With no coat! Apparently she agreed last night to meet mystery man at two pm today to go skating, and he was actually there! I don’t think I will every truly understand her.

I rang home and was happy to hear Granda is much better and will be going home in a day or so. Mum sounded ok, the fact that she was up to answer the phone is a good sign.

Fortunately, I went back to my own room as there was a message on the phone from BA saying my flight had been cancelled! Frankie was so disappointed that she still had to leave. I had to move the few things I had in her room back to mine and we said our goodbyes.

I rang Christopher at work to let him know my flight had been cancelled.
“That’s awesome news. Do you wanna get together later?”
“I’d love to.”
I did what Christopher wasn’t able to and took a nap!

At eight pm on the dot, he showed up with a bottle of champagne and wasted no time ringing room service for a couple of flutes.
“No need for ice,” he said, shivering. “It’s so cold in here.”
If only to escape the cold room, we downed the bottle in record time!

“Wanna go to my local?” he asked, mimicking my accent.
“Sure,” I replied, mimicking his. “Remind me where your local is?”
“Coconut Grove.”
“Oh, I love it there.”
“That’s why I suggested it,” he grinned.
After dinner he asked if I wanted to go back to his place. Responding to my expression he quickly said, “I don’t mean like that. I mean just to hang out.”

We walked arm in arm to Christopher’s building, where Michael was standing underneath the green awning. Holding the door for us, he greeted us warmly
“Surely he hasn’t been here all day?” I asked when we were in the elevator.
“I guess so. What are you smiling about?”
“Those doormen must have some stories to tell.”

“You’re welcome to stay,” he said, “unless you’d rather go back to your igloo.”
“Only if I can borrow your monogrammed pyjamas again,” I laughed.

Wearing his pyjamas, I joined him on the couch.
“What would you like to drink?” He asked. “Wait, let me guess. Tea?”
“Yes please. Do you want me to make it?”
“No way, you’re my guest.”
“Thank you.”
“Listen,” he said, standing up.
I shrugged my shoulders and gave him a questioning look.
“So nice,” he sighed.
“What?”I asked. “The sound of the cab horns beeping?”
“No,” he laughed. “The absence of Frankie snoring.”

Over tea and toast (that boy does not mess around!) Christopher filled me in on the various Manhattan neighbourhoods.

There are so many, most of which I’ve already forgotten but not this one. I am presently in what’s called the Upper East Side. I like the Upper East Side!

We talked about the future and what we want to do. Christopher said he’d like to stay in the world of television. He has some great ideas, and big plans that I have no doubt he’ll follow through on.

I shared my thoughts with him on possibly buying a house in France. He thought that was a “very cool idea,” then he said I’ll probably get “swept off my feet” by some fantastic man and have an amazing life! I told him I don’t need to be with a man to have an amazing life and he laughed and said, “I know, I can see that, but it’ll happen. Trust me.”

It’s now three am and I’m amazed that Christopher is still awake. He insisted I sleep in his bed (no, not like that!) so here I am. He’s on the couch in the living room and he just yelled, “Where’s Leroy?”