goodnight, irene

This song has been playing in my head, nonstop, for like the last five days, so I'm giving you just an assortment of my favourites, to illustrate this post:

It's scarier, sometimes, being where something ISN"T. Just as when we had left the cat alone in London during the riots this summer (with a wonderful girl from the vet coming in), were concerned for all our friends and felt so helpless, while staying at the beach house on Long Island. And then: that very same beach house, and my mom, were basically sitting ducks for Hurricane Irene. It was just such a scary weekend. Holding vigil. So many, many people that I love, friends and all my closest family, just sitting right there, in her path.

My brother, having taken the cat and his daughter to my mom's beach house had to take the decision: stay put (downside: it's on water, high up, all that glass), house on top of a mountain upstate (dirt road, guaranteed at best to lose electricity, even on a good day) so they opted for his apartment in the West Village, NYC. They basically did a reverse evacuation: having heard Mayor Bloomberg's instructions, they drove, Saturday morning, right into town. One block from the evacuation zone. Then stocked up on water, got lots of blue tape (I love that it wasn't red) and taped up the windows, then cheerfully, bravely, like millions of others on the Eastern coast, waited and hoped for the best.

It all went well, of course. There were real tragedies, loss of life, and it would be disrespectful to the families who have lost loved ones to belittle this, but this was nowhere near the tragedy it could have been.

And I've got to say: for a few days there, I couldn't care less about fashion, or posting, or blogs. It really hit me, what matters, and what was at stake, and what I could have lost, in a heartbeat.

My husband - being all English and 'pull up your socks', was on a rant yesterday at how 'irresponsible' the media and, basically, the United States government were, for 'overreacting'. I could tell it was one of those situations where it was pointless to argue with him, but he wasn't going to give up until I 'took responsibility'. For what, I asked. My fellow Americans? The City of New York? The Media, he said. So - because sometimes, in a marriage, it's better to be happy than right, I sighed and said 'Okay, honey, I apologise on behalf of the Media, and take full responsibility.'

So to celebrate, we finally - after holding onto these tickets since last July - headed to Kew yesterday. I have so many photos I want to show you, I don't even know where to begin, so this is a start. KEW GARDENS is simply amazing: it is probably my favourite destination in London (just outside, actually, but easily reachable by tube). HUGE thank you to Frida, for contacting me and sending the tickets, and for your patience (we meant to go before our holiday - it was never the right time - yesterday was the right, the perfect, day). We couldn't have been in a better place to celebrate life, and nature, and all that is good and beautiful in this world. Can't wait to return. More - better, perhaps - images to come. I'm well aware that these aren't the most flattering shots - this isn't even one of the many outfit changes I'd brought for my shoot - but who cares. It's just good to be alive, and know the many people I love are alive, and well.

Goodnight, Irene, goodnight, Irene, I'll see you in my dreams.

Shot entirely at the Royal Botanic Gardens, in Kew.


Anonymous said...

The events of this week have been bizarre - the hurricane really jumped out of the blue (although I suppose that's what they tend to do). It was really weird and eerie seeing all the pictures of the streets of New York and Manhattan empty - with only the flashing signs and adverts remaining. It is scary to think that something like that can affect a city like New York - the weather is one of those things we just can't control, extreme weather especially. It just goes to show how people's lives can change so dramatically in a few short days.

These photos from Kew are lovely Jill - I love your jumping pose in the first photo. I like how you've taken on the role as spokeswoman for the world's media as well and apologised on behalf of them!

Alexandra xx

Emily said...

As alexandratherese said, it was weird seeing NYC looking so deserted on Saturday night - like a weird SciFi movie. So relieved it wasn't as bad as it was predicted to be, or could have been. But thoughts are with those for whom it was a terrible event.

Kew Gardens look really beautiful - I must pay them a visit when I'm in London sometime.


style odyssey said...

absolutely gorgeous photos. just wow. and great shots of you on the lawn. i can feel your glee and exuberance!

i agree the US media blows everything out of proportion. i guess they think americans like drama. (not this american!) i don't believe, however, that you personally can do anything about the media. mr. dot was surely joking??

i hardly watch the news because of the way they exaggerate things. i'm quite selective about what i watch and read, but i do pay attention when i deem it necessary.

huge sigh of relief to know your loved ones are safe, Jill. you are a beautiful soul. you put loved ones and family first. i like that about you, my friend.


daisychain said...

I just wanted to say thank you for always leaving such beautifully thoughtful comments. You have no idea how much they mean xxx

Maralyn said...

Beautiful thoughts and photos~

the nyanzi report said...

ha! I love what you wrote about the conversation with your husband concerning the blame and i love the last shot. beautiful!

Kathrin said...

Beautiful photos!
I'm in London in a week and I'm looking forward to visiting Kew Gardens.

SabinePsynopsis said...

Kew Garden truly is a beautiful place (I especially love the green houses). I guess it's difficult to know in advance how hard it would hit - and don't the British also like to say: 'Rather safe than sorry?' xoxo

mtg said...

So glad your family is safe. I felt like not posting during those days, but went ahead anyway hoping my readers won't deem me callous.

What a beautiful song. I never heard it before, hard to decide which version I like the best, probably the first one. Then I started looking up on youtube and so many musicians have done Goodnight Irene.
Never heard of Lead Belly before until this post. Wow, what a discovery (it's a new discovery for me!), THANK YOU!! I am not prejudice, but there's nothing like black folk and blues. Love it.

mtg said...

OMG, have you heard this??!!