June 9th, 1991

June 9th, 1991

Scott’s House, Antigua

There are people who need no excuse to celebrate and there are people who never feel the need to commemorate any type of milestone and I’m getting the impression William is the latter!

Take tonight, for instance, William’s last night on the island before he returns to the States tomorrow, after a two year secondment here.  The people he’s come to know were throwing a farewell party at our favourite nightclub (where we first met!) but an hour before we were due to leave, he said he didn’t want to go.

“Why not?” I asked, thinking he might be feeling poorly.

“I don’t want to go.”

“Are you ill?”

He shook his head.

“You can’t just not show up, unless of course you’re ill, which clearly you’re not!”

“I’m not going,” he sulked.

“That’s not fair to everyone who took the time to organize it, besides, they all want to say bye to you.”

“I don’t like that kinda thing.”

“Well,” I huffed. “It’s too late now, we have to go!”

“You can go,” he stated. “I’m not going.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, I can’t go without you.”

He looked at me as though I were speaking a different language, reminding me of Nana, who told me on more than one occasion she didn’t like crowds or being the centre of attention.

“Fair enough,” I said, not wishing to upset him further. “But you should at least call and let them know.”

“Can you do it?”

“Absolutely not!” My tone was in keeping with my level of frustration.

I don’t mind missing a party but I’ll never be the one making the call.



Big, huge, thanks!


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.”


“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.


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 2nd, 1990

December 2nd, 1990

Chester, England

Slept for twelve hours straight!

Ridiculous waste of a day, where all I did was take a short walk and devour lots of overpriced, crap food from room service.

Hotel life can sometimes be the loneliest of all.


October 31st, 1990

October 31st, 1990

At home

In order to garner more clarity, it often helps to have a friend who listens, which is pretty much what Frankie did today (and yesterday!)

It was another late night and consequently we didn’t surface ‘til lunchtime. I made French toast and scrambled eggs and set everything up on the small picnic bench in the garden. When Frankie appeared, her smile matched the weather.

“How are you feeling?” she asked, in the same tone I’ve heard her use on sick passengers.

“Much better,” I smiled. “Thanks to you.”
“Glad to hear it,” she said. “You’ve been a busy little bee, this looks scrumptious.”

“Tuck in, oh wait, shall we have some Bucks Fizz?”

“There’s still champers left?”
“I always have an emergency bottle stashed away.”

“Consider this an emergency,” she winked.

Tonight, we went to The Point, hoping to see “Ghost,” but it was sold out so we went to Café Moonshine for more mega chat. Back here, Frankie went to great pains to analyze my relationship with David and suggested we ring him at work but fortunately I wasn’t drunk enough to actually do it!

Seemed the more we drank, the more expert we became on that thing called love!


September 13th, 1990

September 13th, 1990

At home, England

Even although it was only one night, I loved having Rachel here.

We attempted to have breakfast in the garden, but halfway through, it started bucketing down.

“Ugh,” I groaned, scrambling to clear the table.

“Nothing like soggy croissants!” Rachel said, helping me move everything inside.

“I hate British weather, it drives me batty! We were outside for all of what, fifteen minutes?”

Rachel nodded. “One thing I enjoyed about being in New York was eating outside. I loved the restaurants with the huge windows that open to the street.”

“Me too but you can’t do that in January.”

“Oh yeah,” she giggled. “That’s true.”

“Unlike in LA”, I said. “Where you can eat outside year-round.”

“Sounds blissful. You really love it there, don’t you?”

“I love where David lives, the beach is amazing.”

“Sounds incredible, I must get to California.”

“Yes! You! Must!”

She laughed. “I’ll wait ‘til you move out there.”

“Who said anything about me moving?”

“I think it’s inevitable.”

“You do?”

“Uh-huh, your face lights up when you talk about David and after seeing pictures of him last night I can see why.”

“He’s not too shabby, is he,” I smiled.

“I need to find a guy like that.”

“They’re ten a penny in LA!”

She cracked up laughing. “Quick! Help me pack!”

“Kidding aside, I think you would really enjoy the West Coast, it’s very laid back and has kind of a magical quality to it.”

“I need some magic,” she sighed.

Don’t we all.


September 12th, 1990

September 12th, 1990

At home, England

Tonight’s overnight guest is Rachel, who stepped off the train today looking no different from the last time I saw her five years ago, on our last day at secondary school.

“Shall we go on a little tour first before we go to my house?”

“Oh, I’d love that.”

“I don’t think too much has changed except for more houses.”

“It looks much more built up,” she said, peering out the window as I reversed out of the parking spot.

Our trip down memory lane lasted much longer than I’d expected after we bumped into Sarah in what used to be my favourite place to go with Ben whenever we had a hankering for Indian food. Sarah and her friends from work accompanied us to Vaults, where it seemed half the people we went to school with, were at the bar.

“It’s as if they knew you were coming, Rachel!”

“It’s so lovely,” she chuckled. “I’ve really missed being here.”

Two things surprised tonight about Rachel; She smokes. And she’s still a virgin.

“You are?” I asked.

She nodded and took a sip of wine. “You look surprised.”

“I just figured now that we’re in our early twenties, we’ve all…”

“Well, we know you have,” she laughed. “You and Ben could barely keep your hands off each other, even at school.”

I felt my cheeks flush. “Were we really that bad?”

“Yes! You were both so in love. I always thought you’d stay together.”

“Me too,” I uttered. “Top up?”

“Yes please,” she smiled, holding out her glass as I refilled it.

“Thank you. Do you still miss him?”

“Not as much as I used to, I mean I still think about him more than I probably should but…”

“Makes me sad,” she sighed.


“Because as much as you two loved each other, it wasn’t enough.”

“I think we were too young. It was too intense for us to know what to do with it.”

“Perhaps if you met now for the first time, it’d be different, right?”

“Maybe, but listen, enough of that. Can I ask you something?”

“Of course you can, lovely wine by the way, is this our second bottle?”

“Yes, but I have plenty more!”

“Oh dear,” she said, with a mock expression of shock. “What did you want to ask?”

“Are you saving yourself for marriage?”

She laughed. “No! I’m saving myself for someone I’m in love with. It just hasn’t happened yet.”

“It will.”

She looked pensive. “I worry it won’t.”

“Are you kidding? Look at you! You’re so beautiful. Added to which, you’re intelligent, creative beyond belief, ridiculously cool and..”

“Oh please,” she said, waving her hand dismissively.

“You are!”

“I disagree. I think I’m awkward and shy and unsophisticated and…”

“You’re looking in the wrong mirror,” I said.

“Things I need to work on,” she said. “Come outside so we can keep talking while I have a ciggy.”

My reaction prompted her to ask, “What’s so funny?”

“I can’t get over you smoking!”


August 26th, 1990

August 26th, 1990

Home sweet home, England

“You’re officially grown up!” Lucy (my first visitor!) said, handing me a bottle of wine and a house plant.

“Don’t be fooled,” I laughed.

Very nice,” she said, looking around. “You sure you just moved in? Looks like you’ve been here for ages.”

“It’s all due to my mum and dad’s help, they’ve been amazing.”

“I’m sure they’re really excited for you.”

“Let me give you the grand tour then we’ll have some wine. Don’t worry, it won’t take long.”

Within five minutes of Lucy’s departure, I rang David.

“Is this a good time?” I asked.

“Sure. I just got home from work. It’s pretty late for you isn’t it.”

“Yeah, Lucy, my old school chum just left.”

“Did you guys have fun?”

“We did. It was lovely to see her and hopefully I drank enough wine that I’ll be able to sleep tonight.”

“You didn’t sleep good last night?”

“Not ‘til the sun came up.”

“How come?”

“All I could think about was the mad axe murderer lurking outside the back door. I was so scared, it was awful.”

“Oh honey, that’s horrible. Maybe you could have your dad install a sensor light or something to make you feel safer.”

“That’s a good idea but it’d be better if you could come over. When can you get here?”

He laughed. “If I catch the red eye out of L A X tonight I can be there sometime tomorrow.”

“Noooooo,” I whined. “That’s too long.”


“That’s ok, I’m just being a baby.”

“So, my boss broke the news to me today that I need to go back to Tokyo.”

“Shit, when?”


“That’s when I leave for Boston.”

“I know, I have your roster right here. Your mom is going with you, right?”

“Yup and it’s all she can talk about; Lizzie’s big return to America!”

“I hear Boston is pretty cool.”

“You haven’t been?”

“Nope. I’m relying on you to tell me all about it.”

“I wish you could join us.”

“Me too. Hey, I just had a thought.”

“That’s dangerous,” I laughed.

“Yeah, right? Maybe I could hit London on my way back from Tokyo.”

“Ooooh, I could come and pick you up and whisk you back here to my lair.”

“Let me see what I can do.”

Fingers crossed.


August 25th, 1990

August 25th, 1990

Home sweet home, England

First night in my new house and I have carpets!

In my absence, dad managed to contact someone from the flooring company’s head office and with the help of Florence and her husband’s work van, they were able to salvage the carpets I paid for, which (especially financially) is very good news.

“Will you be ok there tonight by yerself?” Dad asked, as I was jamming the last of my stuff into the car.

“Of course I will.”

“You know you can phone us anytime, right? Day or night.”

“I know, thanks dad,” I smiled. “Don’t worry I’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure?”

“Dad, I spend half my life alone in a hotel room!”

“Aye but that’s different.”

“Trust me, I’ll be ok.”

“Do me a wee favour and give mum a phone in the morning when you wake up.”

“Will do.”

I just had a bath, overflowing with bubbles and I’m getting ready to ring David for a chat nobody else will hear.

Pure bliss.


August 16th, 1990

August 16th, 1990

At home (mum & dad’s)

Went with dad first thing, to the carpet showroom, only to find the entire building secured with huge padlocks! There wasn’t a soul about, so I guess I’ll have to find another company, which means spending more money on something I already paid for.

The fridge was delivered this afternoon, as scheduled, but the bed didn’t show up, so I rang the company, in Italy, in the hopes of finding someone that spoke English.

“Buon pomeriggio, comme posso aiutarti?”

“Oh, eh hello,” I stuttered. “Do you speak English?”


“Great, ehm, I’m ringing about a bed I ordered.”


“Bed. B. E. D.”


“Yes. I ordered a bed from your catalogue.”

“The book?”




“Too fast. Again.”

“C 1 9 8 4 4 3 6.”

“One min eet pleeze.”

While on hold, I fanned myself with the invoice and ignored the outrageous amount of money I spent on something I bought because I liked the glossy picture.

“Ok,” she said, the sound of papers rustling in the background. “Tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow for what?”

“For the bid.”

“No, it’s supposed to be delivered today.”

“Not today. Dee lay.”

“I need it today. It’s supposed to be here today.”


“I won’t be here tomorrow,” I stated.

“So, you want today?”

“One min eet.”

More fanning with a few deep breaths thrown in for good measure.

“Ok, so tonight.”

“Tonight? I can get it tonight? What time?”

“Ten or more o’clock. It is ok?”

“Eh, I suppose that’s ok, yes, that’s fine. I’ll be here.”

“Ok tonight for the bid.”

I now have a bed and a fridge. And bare floors.