Jim Haynes newsletters

Newsletter No. 712
A Quick Trip to London
21/22 October 2010

Wednesday, 20th October: Contact Nicolas Clifford at Blue Marble and he books me a ticket on the Eurostar train for 11 tomorrow morning and a return to Paris on Friday at 14.04. He always comes through. Hooray for Nicolas and Blue Marble. Talk to Sheila Colvin in Edinburgh and she gives me the name of the Deputy Mayor of Montreuil, Gilles Robel, who I met at Nick Phillipson's reception during the Festival. Sheila says that she is traveling to London tomorrow. I tell her I am as well. We discuss meeting for a meal in London. Also talk with Roza Petherick who correctly spells two names for me which means the festival newsletter is now more or less completed. Talk with Antonia Hoogewerf and we agree to meet tonight in Odeon to see the new Woody Allen film, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, and to dine afterward.
I am a Woody Allen fan. I love all his films, the early ones, the middle period and the current ones. I like this one, but it is darker and more pessimistic than usual.

Thursday, 21st: Up very early, before the alarm goes off. Make a fresh pot of coffee. Shave, shower, shampoo. Quickly pack - basically just pajamas and bath robe. And two books for Lindsey Bareham. Lindsey was my secretary at the Arts Lab back in the mid-60s. Katy makes toast for me and a banana smoothie. She departs. Take the 38 bus, but it is only going to Chatelet. Get off at Palais de Justice. Am forced to take a taxi to the Gare du Nord.
Quickly check into the Eurostar and clear both British and French Customs and move to a Change facility and change 300 euros into pounds sterling. The departure is announced and I am soon rolling towards London. Just over two hours later, we arrive. Manage to get a taxi and am soon at Ernie Eban's flat in Gloucester Terrace. He suggests we have lunch straight away in Le Café de Anglais which is just down the street.

 
Sue Miles, photo ©Pearce Marchbank
Sue Miles, 1973
photo ©Pearce Marchbank

Lindsey Bareham is lunching there and I might be able to ride to the funeral ceremonies with her.We make the short walk. Ride up the elevator to the restaurant and soon spot Lindsey. She is with two men and we are all introduced. They are Nick Smallwood and Rowley Leigh. It is Rowley who has created the Café de Anglais. Nick has been involved with a number of hip restaurants in London. They both knew Sue Miles and are going to the funeral. But they are in a small car and alas no room for Jim. Ernie has decided not to attend. He knew Sue, but feels that he did not know her well enough to attend the funeral. He says he might go to the party at 6.30 in the Camden Arts Centre.
Ernie and I find a table. We are sitting just down from Deborah Rogers, who is with someone. And across from Elsie Donald who is sitting with a friend. Elsie and I are old friends from Edinburgh University days. Introductions are made. Then Ernie and I order. He has oysters and sardines. I have crab pasta. We are both very happy with our meal.
Purchase some flowers and Ernie hails a taxi. Soon I am on my way. More or less on time. Arrive at 3 pm. Begin to meet a few old friends immediately. All are surprised to see me. Many have not seen me in 25 years or more. I left London in 1969 to live in Paris. We move into the chapel. Discover I am sitting behind Tony Elliott and his lovely wife, Janey. They turn around and are surprised to see me. The chapel fills to over-flowing. The ceremony is well put together. Mark Williams is one of the first to speak about Sue and his friendship with her. Several people follow who I do not know. A recording of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" is next. A recorded poem by Felix Dennis. (Felix is in Edinburgh and could not be here this afternoon.) Then Jonathan Green produces a moving tribute. Neither Miles, her first husband, nor Pearce Marchbank, her second, say anything. Nor do her two children, Celine Marchbank and Otis Marchbank. In the end we all walk pass the closed coffin and deposit our flowers on top of the casket. I think Sue would have liked the simple presentation.
Outside encounter more people I know: Richard Adams, John Hopkins, Miles, Mark Williams, Pearce Marchbank, Michael Horovitz and Dick Pountain. Mark Willams asks Lindsey and me if we would like to go to Deborah Moggach 's home for some warmth and tea. And a place to rest a bit before the party. Yes, great suggestion. We accept with pleasure. We pile into a lovely BMW and Richard Adams joins us. We are soon delivered to an amazing home that is covered and surrounded with vegetation. It is as if we are not in London, but away somewhere in the English countryside. And another car arrives with guests that include Jonathan Green and his wife, Susie Ford. And Alan Marcuson. Tea is divine. The fruit cake is not bad either. And the hostess is extremely lovely. She and Mark are in the early days of their new romance. Deborah has sold the rights to one of her novels and it is currently being filmed in India. Twentieth Century Fox have invited them to fly out for a week to visit the set and to see some of the filming. They are leaving next week and are very excited.
It's now time to pile back into cars and drive the short distance to the Camden Arts Centre in Arkwright Road. Not sure who organized all this but I think Felix Dennis has paid for a lot of the expenses. Here I see more people I know from London in the 60s. And I am introduced to many more including Sue's two children, Otis and Celine. Talk with Rosemary Bailey, Barry Miles' wife. She is a sweetheart. Hoppy tells me that he thought the After Eight TV commercial was superb. Talk with Katy Hepburn. Talk with Carol, who used to be a waitress in the Arts Lab restaurant and who was a great beauty. I think she used to go out with Guy Brett, who was an Art Critic for The Times. (Now Lindsey writes a food column for The Times.) Talk with Jack Hanson's mother, Annie, who thanks me for giving her son and his girlfriend, Holly Roughan, a bed recently
Lindsey asks if I am ready to leave and I say why not. We collect our coats and slip out and look for a taxi. Call Ernie Eban and tell him that we are in a taxi and on our way to Gloucester Terrace.
We arrive and food is mentioned. Quick as a flash, Ernie calls Khans and places a take-away order. Ernie and Daniel slip out, refuse any financial contribution and are back minutes later with an Indian feast. We four sit around the kitchen table and stuff ourselves. And giggle and gossip. It is beginning to get late. Daniel is soon to fly to New Zealand to cover a boat race for the BBC. Lindsey and I go out and find a taxi easily and are soon zooming to Chiswick.
Lindsey shows me the guest room. I give her two books of mine. We talk a bit about Ben John and his children. Lindsey had two sons with Ben, Zach and Henry. We also speak about Jessica John who Lindsey introduced to me and who now is living in the South of France. Tomorrow is a Friday. Every Friday, Lindsey goes to Zach's to babysit his son, Caspar. This means we have to get up early. Soon I am in good old Sleepy Land.

 

Friday, 22nd: Wake up and wonder where I am. Then realize that I am in Lindsey's guest bedroom. Hear her moving about. Shout a "Good morning!" and get one back from her. Begin to wash and dress. She brings me a big smile and a cup of tea. And asks what I would like for breakfast. I tell her whatever she is having. She says fresh fruit. Join her in the kitchen. We talk about the full day we had yesterday and we both conclude that it was delightful in every way. We both just wish Sue Miles could have been with us to enjoy it all. Give Lindsey two copies of One Magazine and a copy of Paris Magazine. Two articles by yours truly and a profile of me. She gives me her book, The Fish Store. Linsdsey has to depart soon to baby-sit this morning. I call Dorota Chhrisp and she reports she will be home all morning. I say that I will see her in about thirty minutes. Collect my small bag and we are out the door. Lindsey drops me in Silver Crescent - only about fifteen minutes away.
Hugs, kisses and promises of eternal love and then she is away. Ring Dorota's bell and she opens the door and asks if I would like a second breakfast. I ask for a cup of coffee. Dorota's husband, Tim, appears and joins us. We talk about Lindsey's step-daughter, Jesseca John. Dorota has just returned from the South of France where she has been visiting Jessica. Actually it was Lindsey who introduced Jessica to me and I introduced her to Dorota. Tim departs to run a few errands. Dorota and I ponder going out for lunch. I call John Calder & Sheila Colvin. No answer. Call Ernie Eban and get his answering machine. Call Benny Puigrefagut and he and I chat a bit. Then decide to depart for St. Pancras and the Eurostar to Paris. Dorota and I embrace and I ask that my best wishes be passed to her son and daughter, Joe and Lila.
Out the door and am on my way. Just under an hour later, I am checking in for my train to Paris. It's completely painless. Some two hours later, we are pulling into the Gare du Nord. Find a taxi outside and the driver, who is from Lisboa, gets me home fairly soon. My neighbor, Thomas Dufresne, says there was a fellow looking for me this morning. He thinks it was someone from India. It must have been Yuyu from Kathmandu. Damn I thought he was coming tonight. Katy is home and quickly makes me a glass of fresh carrot juice. She has done all the shopping for Mary Bartlett (who will be cooking tomorrow the preparations for the Sunday dinner). Katy asks if I would like a garlic pasta dinner. Yes, please. And quick as a flash, she whips one out for both of us. And, of course, it is delicious.
Yuyu appears and says he heard that I was in London for a funeral. He will go and collect his luggage and return within a short while. And then Naras & Gintaute arrive from Vilnius. They open their luggage and produce seemingly an endless supply of black bread. Plus a very large bottle of Polish vodka. And then Yuyu reappears. More introductions. And we start to eat one of the loafs of black bread. It is like cake. Delicious. Tell Naras that he and Gintaute are in the upstairs bedroom. And Yuyu is on the downstairs couch. Naras and Gintaute head out for a meal in the Latin Quarter. Yuyu checks his email. Katy goes to her room. And I go upstairs to get some well-deserved rest.

 

This 24-hour jaunt to London was meant to celebrate my friendship and love for Sue Miles and she is not mentioned very much in the above outpouring. I first met her in the very early 60s. I think in Edinburgh when she and her newly married husband, Barry Miles, were visiting Edinburgh. I think I found them a place to stay in Dean Village. They immediately volunteered to help out in my bookshop, The Paperback. Then when I transferred the centre of my activities to London in 1965, I saw more and more of Sue and Miles. When Miles, Hoppy, Jack Moore, Michael Henshaw and yours truly decided to start the newspaper, International Times, Sue was always about, making tea for everyone, cooking, contributing positive energy and ideas. Soon after that I decided to start the Arts lab in Drury Lane in Covent Garden and Sue was my first choice to run the restaurant in the Lab. Maybe I launched her culinary career. We became pals. But then when the Lab closed in 1969 and I was offered a Visiting Professorship at the newly created University of Paris 8 in the Bois de Vincennes, I left London. It was only going to be a year. But it has now been some 41 years. Over this time, I saw less and less of Sue. Sometimes she traveled to Paris. Our friendship suffered. And now she is gone. I usually do not go to funerals, but when Lindsey wrote me that Sue had died and that her life was being celebrated, I knew that I had to be there. Dear dear Sue, I feel so sad that you are no longer with us. And I feel terrible that our friendship which was once so strong I had allowed to wither. Dear Sue, please forgive me. RIP

 

 

Jim Haynes
October 2010

Atelier A-2,
83 rue de la tombe Issoire,
75014 Paris France

 

 

 

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