Some blogs need no words.
And so I get sicker. Well kind of. Because I have a diagnosis. They think it’s pharyngocunjunctival fever. (I’m waiting for the result of swabs but that’s what I’m being treated for). Stomach, gross eyes, headache, sore throat. My doc says I’m not contagious. Google might disagree. (It does disagree). Anyway, I’ve been kitted out with antibiotics for my eyes, a nose spray, plus some medicine to gargle. Fun times for spring.
I did make it down to Charleston for the weekend, though, where my symptoms were momentarily relieved. Though not enough for me to drink anything all weekend much to my travelling companion, Mike’s horror.
Regardless, Charleston was a sight for my sore sore eyes. I find New York to be a pretty mad, bad, cross place a lot of the time – just like any big city. But Charleston isn’t like that. Charleston is like coming home, if your home is full of good food, wide smiles and an over active central heating system. It’s warm in every sense of the word.
I think most service in NYC is either rude or transparent. In Charleston, the servers are either bloody good actors or they love a good chat. They all wanted to know what I thought of the town, where I was from and what I was doing in New York. Even the guy in airport security was friendly. They weren’t interested in Mike though. Joke, Mike.
The town is so beautiful we wowed our way around it and the beach filled me with so much childlike joy that Mike managed to get a pic of me dancing in the waves. (Admittedly not an unusual sight but I haven’t been well.)
We ate shrimp and grits at the Hominy Grill and the tallest burgers you’ve ever seen at Poe’s Tavern. To finish we scoffed pecan pie and ice cream at Kaminskys. On both days.
It does have an ugly past, though – we toured one of the old plantation houses, Boone Hall, and were horrified by the stories of the slaves who lived there. Perhaps unsurprisingly given that the Civil Rights Bill was signed less than 50 years ago, it is still a pretty socially segregated place. But an episcopalian pastor I met told me that things are changing. Blacks and whites are worshipping together in his church for the first time. And the stories are being told, to tourists, to schoolchildren. I hope I come back in a few years time, and I will come back, at least to visit Savannah, to find that thins have changed.
I’m still sick. This thing is morphing. The headache’s moved on, though the stomach thing is hanging around. But I now seem to have some gross eye infection that glues my eyes together in the morning. My editor has done well to disguise his disgust: ‘Can we help you get a doctor’s appointment?’, read ‘Get the hell out of my office with your pus-ridden peepers.’ Plus my throat feels as if it’s on fire on one side every time I swallow. This bug is nothing if not idiosyncratic.
The upside of all this is that I’m going to the doctor. An American doctor. There’s a part of me that is terrified that they’re going to make me hand over a gold bar on my way in. But mostly I’m excited. Don’t American doctors know everything? Do total body scans at every appointment? See through your body like the Beano’s X-Ray Specs to locate sinister growths? Officially I’m booked in for my stomach upset/headache/earache/eye grossness/inflamed throat (here you need to tell the receptionist what you’re seeing the doc for, or maybe my doctor’s receptionist is just really fricking nosy.) But I’m tempted to wheel out my years-old ailments. Achey foot, useless back, grim-oid psoriasis (scalp, foot, elbow if you’re interested. Oh, you’re not?) And while I’m at it, maybe I could book in to see an all-American dentist before I leave. Though I don’t want to scare them.
Normal blog service will be resumed next week. I’m headed to Charleston this weekend and I’ll be writing about that come Sunday night. No more pus, I promise.
I’ve been ill, and while I still feel like someone inserted a hot rotten burger into my head, this blog isn’t going to write itself. Plus I just wolfed some American strength meds and am feeling, I assume temporarily, half normal again.
So excuse this verrrryy out of date blog post. As my editor here says, ‘The moment, I feel, has passed.’ But St Patrick’s Day in NYC is too much of a visual feast to let you miss out.
It started somewhere at the beginning of February with these green cakes. Food that isn’t naturally green shouldn’t be made green. We all know that. But the food buyers at my local supermarket, The Food Emporium, clearly don’t know that. And nor does the rest of the city. For it was green for a month. In celebration of their Gaelic forefathers or fore fore fore fore fathers twice removed.
My dear colleagues at Fabulous magazine make a mockery of my claims to be half Irish.
Imagine the scene: Tuesday mid afternoon.
Eimear (the actually Irish former Features Editor): ‘What makes you Irish Ellie?’
Ellie: ‘Well, both my paternal grandparents were born and raised in Ireland, which means my dad’s fully blooded Irish, which means that I’m half Irish. And my surname’s Irish. Definitely.’
Eimear: ‘Does your dad have an accent?’
Ellie: ‘Well, no, he was born in North London.’
Eimear: ‘Ellie, you’re as Irish as a neon leprechaun.’
Ellie: ‘Good to know.’
Well I can tell you that the bar in NYC is set wayyyy lower for Oirish status. Everyone seems to be Irish in New York. At least on Paddy’s Day, as they call it here.
Mark was in town the day of the big parade and we decided to escape what we had been warned were marauding, violent crowds to visit the Frick Museum (which incidentally is the most beautifully curated museums I’ve ever visited – go). On our way out we caught sight of the parading pipers on Park Avenue (there’s a nursery rhyme right there) and stopped to take a look. There were millions of bagpipers, mainly male, and groups marching under their banners: ‘The Upper East Sude Irish Club’ or some such.
Whether or not these Americans were first generation or fifth, the pride they showed in their family’s roots was moving. My Great Uncle Humphrey came to New York through Ellis Island in the 1920s. Nearly 100 years later, it was overwhelming enough for me, moving to a beautiful corporate flat in the heart of the city with a job already set up. I can only imagine how tough it must have been for a young lad arriving here with nothing. I can imagine too why he may have wanted to create a strong sense of the motherland for the family that he went on to have.
Anyway enough of the serious stuff. I was so touched by the whole thing that we Irish danced down to the Lower East Side to find some of the marauders we’d been told about. They just happened to be our mates. Here’s us in Tom and Jerry’s celebrating all our Irish roots. Happy days.