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Blog 12 - Mexican Flowers

You may wonder how I have two colourful silk scarves of the same design. There is a tiny difference in the size of each. In fact, I have no idea how I came by them but they certainly evoke a colourful memory.

In 1979 just after New Year we packed up our home in Hong Kong and sent our possessions on the high seas westwards to England, having re-homed the dog. My husband, one daughter and I set off in the opposite direction for America, leaving one daughter behind in HongKong. We had six bags, a typewriter and air tickets for San Francisco and no fixed idea where we would live. It was dark on arrival, raining and cold. First thing was to rent a car at the airport. We got on the car rental bus and then were marooned as a gunman was holding up the car rental office. Welcome to America! Eventually, the police intervened, we got our car and headed for the nearest airport motel. I will not describe these first couple of weeks holed up in a motel whilst husband sorted out our next step. Yes, it rained every day and I cried every day. We moved across the Golden Gate Bridge to a nice hotel on the bay in Mill Valley, I stopped crying but it was still raining. After three weeks, we set off south and it rained all the way until we went to Disneyland in LA. We saw Mickey Mouse and the sun came out. That was the turning point. We pressed on southwards and finally reached Mexico. That was where I bought the huge paper flowers, the size of dinner plates, three of them in the bright colours of my scarves. We also bought a colourful Mexican blanket. That night, we celebrated in yet another motel with a carafe of Paul Masson wine. We kept the glass carafe. This would be the vase for the paper flowers. The decision was made, having looked at all California, to settle in Marin, just over the bridge in San Francisco. We rented an unfurnished ‘tree’ house in Sausalito, bought two beds, one set of bedlinen and minimum towels, set up home with the colourful Mexican flowers and sat on the carpeted floor under the blanket. No other furniture. The previous tenants had left a tv and a padded bed headboard which we used on the floor to support our backs. Every three weeks, I flew across the Atlantic or Pacific, buying a home for our daughters in London, meeting the shipment from HongKong, going to the storage unit where all our furniture from a large house had been stored for years and then deciding what to ship to America, furnish the girls’ flat and what should remain in storage. This was my job, as my husband was trying to set up a business. We even went to mainland China for three amazing weeks. There were no tourists in the Seventies….that’s a story or two for future blogs. Back in California for six months, we lived with no stuff and certainly no scarves! It was a wonderful time of freedom. No need to lock the door. Nobody was going to steal three Mexican paper flowers.

On Monday this week, I had an exciting time being photographed by the New York Times photographer for an article which should have gone out this week about the scarf blog, but has been delayed as preference was given to the Breonna Taylor shooting story. Don’t know if it will go out before you get this blog. Elizabeth, the photographer was a most interesting Mexican lady who has worked all over the world including three years in Beijing. After the official shoot, she took this photo of Ella, my art editor and me wearing our brightly coloured flower silk chiffon scarves. It brought back the memory of that brief visit to Tijuana and the simplest home furnishing item I have ever bought. I should have played the sound track from the film Frida whilst Elizabeth was doing the photo shoot. Yes, there is nobody more colourful than Frida Kahlo, Mexico’s famous painter. Maybe, I’ll visit Mexico City one more time and visit her Blue House…….and even find these paper flowers again.

I give you Frida’s own quotation……FEET, WHAT DO I NEED THEM FOR, IF I HAVE WINGS TO FLY?

Busy Bee, Scarf Face!

Series 2, Blog 12.

4,454 views16 comments


Oct 04, 2020

Thank you for the lovely writing ,it certainly cheered me to read about your travels The first wine that i ever tasted was a Paul masson and i also saved the glass carafe It been over 20 yrs i use it as flower vase


Oct 04, 2020

Hello, from Annapolis, MD, USA. I have started from the beginning and am reading each & every one of your posts after reading about your blog in the NYT. What a wonderful, interesting life you have had! And those gorgeous scarves of yours photograph so beautifully. I am enjoying these little trips down memory lane immensely; thank you for doing this.


Hazell Jacobs
Hazell Jacobs
Oct 02, 2020

Nice to hear from a former Sausalito neighbour, Desaubrius. Our tree house was on Sausalito Blvd which we rented. Got fed up with the fog and moved down the hill to the banana belt. I loved my time as a Bay Area resident. Just heard from a goddaughter here in England who is taking art tuition from a Sausalito artist. Interesting all these international connections. We celebrated our Silver Wedding at the old Alta Mira. Loved their Sunday brunches with a Ramos Fizz!


Oct 01, 2020

We must have been neighbors in Sausalito back then! I lived on Bulkley Avenue and was very happy to drive over the GG Bridge every day to work at the San Francisco Opera ...


Sep 30, 2020

Good day,

I read your NYT article and think you are amazing! I would like to invite you to be a guest on Life Après' Sylvia and Me Podcast. Sylvia is a Fairfield County, CT resident who founded Life Après four years ago. It is a community of like-minded women from all walks of life. Our mission is to encourage women to realize that they can survive life changing events, and in fact come out of it stronger and more empowered. We recently started a podcast to feature women who are leaders and who have made a change in the world, whether they be big or small. Some of this past seasons guest include: Mary Barneby, CEO of Girl Scouts…

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