So this is it, the last blog from LA for a considerable period of time at least, if ever again. I know, I could come back again, and may even need to come back again sooner than that, but being practical, I have many other places to see, some for the first time, some for repeat visits, so its going to be a while, if ever again. And yes, at my age, with the distance involved, and I’m sure the deterioration of my physical health, which is far from perfect even now, I’m sure I wont be able to do as much then, as I can now, anyway. I’m already suspecting that delights like walking up the long hill at Forest Lawn might be beyond me by then at least, but we will see.
To be fair, if you’d told me back in October ’15, that my next holiday would be back here, I would have laughed at you, but its happened. I guess I just wanted to show this city that I’d battled through everything that life had thrown at me, and got here again. But now thats done…?
In some ways today has been a light day, I havent actually left Hollywood. However, I spent a lot of the day on my feet, walking, so maybe not as light as all that? It was actually interesting going on a guided walking tour of Hollywood, where I knew the guide! I know, end of holiday, but in truth, it didnt matter, as I got to visit lots of old buildings that I’d never have got into myself. Oh fine, the one that amused me the most, has to be Musso and Frank’s! Yes, I finally got to go in there, if only for coffee, but at least I now know what it actually looks like from the inside. Of course, for works of fiction, thats a mere technicality, but at least I’ve made it there now. Yes, its every bit as impressive as I’d been led to believe. So if I ever want to use it in a story again lol…?
The other thing I’d already decided was where my last big meal in town would be, and though its not bargain basement, its cheaper than that legendary place. So I settled for the 50’s feel of Mels Diner, for one last time. After that, a couple of final, final goodbyes, at the star, and prints of Jean Harlow, before heading back to base. I do wish there was a star to the uncredited chorus girls/bit part actresses of the world, but no, there isnt, so I just said goodbye to Clara Johnson generally, as I turned off the Boulevard for the last time, on foot at least.
What can I say? You can take a woman out of Yorkshire, but you cant take Yorkshire out of a woman? Yes, I stopped off at a gorgeous, quirky, vintage clothing store on the way back, and saw the most gorgeous, silver flapper dress, really looked the part. Had my size too, but I didnt get it. Why? Because I cant justify spending $65 (plus tax, I’m sure) on a dress I have no idea when, or where I would ever wear it. So yes, I know I’ll regret it, but it stayed in the shop. I could get it in the morning (shop opens at 11, I have to be ready to go at 12.30, and its about 5 minutes walk), but I know I wont.
The only walk I’m planning at present to do in the morning, is a short trip around the block, so that I can walk a little way up Beachwood Drive, looking at the Hollywood sign, one more time. No, I’m not going as far as Verbena though, thats far too far for the short period of time I have left ‘in the sun’ of LA.
Yes, thats it for here. Pretty sure you’ll have to wait until Monday for the next blog, I’ll have too much catching up to do on Sunday for that.
The video. I’m surprised I havent used this Elaine Paige classic before, but seemingly I havent (well, on 1 blog at least), so lets use it now
Trying to work around other potential events, which now look like they’re not going to happen, I took the chance yesterday to visit Glendale, and most significantly Forest Lawn, where someone I have a bit of a link to is buried. Strictly, yes, I mean Jean Harlow, at rest there for now fast coming up on 80 years, but call it a feeling, or otherwise, whenever I visit, I just have this instinct that Clara Johnson may be at rest somewhere in those large grounds as well. As I say, no evidence, impossible given I dont know her married name, but just something calls me when I’m there, and though that might be Jean, I do just wonder. But anyway…
As for all the best laid plans…The 2 previous visits, I’d found a pleasant little fast food restaurant near to where I get off the bus, and therefore I planned to go there for lunch, before going on to pay my respects. Only snag is, sometime in the last 18 months or so, it closed! Anyway, I knew I’d seen a few shops on the road leading to Forest Lawn, in the opposite direction at the junction, so hoped I’d find something there. Yes, I did. Its not glamorous or anything, but I found one of these roadside buildings with a few tables, and took my chance. To be honest, under $9 around LA, for a burger, fries, and a drink is hard to find. To find it cooked to order at that price, even more so! If anyone around that area wants to know the name of it, shout, and I’ll work it out on Google Maps, if I can.
After that, I walked down to Forest Lawn, to see a stunning layout of US Flags in the grounds, for Memorial Day on Monday. I gather something is happening there then (think it was 1.00, but check?) to respect the occasion. Fine, not for the first time, I entered the actual grounds, hoping for 2 things to happen. Firstly, some signal from ‘above’ that would lead me to Clara’s resting place. The second, that the gate in the mausoleum where Jean is at rest would be open, as it was the first time I visited, but not the second.
No, neither happened! I didnt really expect the first, somehow, and no, the gate was very firmly shut across the passageway where Harlow rests. In truth, I think the first time was sheer fluke, whether that was divine intervention, or just Jean ‘fixing it’, I have no idea? But yes, shut is the norm, according to everything I’ve read online about the place.
So fine, I said a few words, from as close as I could get, and said my farewell, as I’m pretty sure this is my last visit here for a number of years, if ever again. And whether at that point my body will be capable of climbing the hill up to the mausoleum, I doubt it somehow! Also, at the top of the hill, before dropping down to the exit, I did the same to Clara, not knowing where she was in that huge area, or strictly, if she really is there, but job done.
Then finally, as I passed back those flags, all set up for Memorial Day, I paid my respects to all those brave military folk, who had died in our, and other generation’s service.
Today, really not much to tell, so lets throw it in briefly now. Really just a stroll up the Boulevard, to do some souvenir shopping, for me, and others at home. One gift I couldnt find, so tripped off to Universal Studios to get in the shop out there, which I knew would have it. If she reads this, she’ll know whose gift that was! Tomorrow, I get to walk along Hollywood Boulevard again, this time on a guided walk, run by a friend I know from Twitter, and have met before. Should be fun, especially as she knows the whole Harlow thing with me! I think I have the place planned for my last big meal in town, unless someone wants to treat me to Musso and Frank’s lol?
After that? No idea, in truth. I’ll sort of say goodbye to an old friend on the walk in the morning, so where I go after that, will think on it at the time. I will get out at some point Saturday morning, but wont get far, thats for sure. I have a feeling I might do a little walk along Beachwood, just for old time, and admire the famous sign, one last time, without annoying the locals!
Right, video time. Not that Jean could sing (well proven), and though Clara was a decent dancer, she was no star. Besides which, this group is from LA, and the song fits in from yesterday. So all in all…
Alright, fine, its getting towards the sad end of the break, the last few days. How do I know that? Well, for the first time in a few weeks, I had to really think about what I needed from the supermarket up the hill, and not get more than I really need. Most things I’ve managed to work fairly well, though the peanut butter is going to run out 1 day early, and I wont quite use up all the sugar, or the last part of the loaf bought today, but done pretty well. I’m planning a nice last lunch out in Hollywood for Tuesday, instead of cooking for myself, mind. Why lunch? Simple, I will need to pack as much as possible on Tuesday evening (being picked up at 7.45 am Wednesday), and besides which, just after 5 pm, the 1 game of the World Series I will get to see live. Game 2, I will be in mid flight, and the rest will happen in the middle of the night, UK time. Only wish I could see more, but unless someone is crazy enough to give $2,000 dollars to me in the next day or so, not going to happen. But seeing Kansas City get this far, has been pretty special, all the same.
The other reason I know its the end? I’ve started doing the trips I was leaving until now, to say goodbye to a few places, and “friends”. The first of those happened at the end of last week, the return to Pacific Palisades. Its funny, when I went there in April, it was by sheer accident, this time it was deliberate. Its a lovely little place, which as the name suggests, sits very close to the Pacific Ocean. So after lunch, and a last look around the community, I headed down the canyon towards the Pacific Ocean. I walked down the beach, to the ocean, and said my goodbyes. I mean, I will see it again, when we take off from the airport on Wednesday, and its quite possible I will see it again, in San Francisco, or Seattle, but from here, in lovely LA, by the water, that was it, almost certainly forever! As far as I can see, thats it, though 1 Facebook friend tells me I will return, in 6 months, but I cant see it myself.
Alright, after that. the journey back here. It should be just over an hour (70 mins or so) to Hollywood from there, but…it took 2 and a half hours! I assume there was an incident on the freeway, but we crawled, or simply sat still until we reached back to the junction with the 405 freeway. I did hear a couple of sirens, so I assume it was that. Let me just say at this point, that the bus seats on the Metro buses win no prizes for comfort, or design. So my back stiffened up beautifully, and getting home from town was fun. As was clambering into the bed that night! Better by next morning, but that evening…ouch!
Yesterday evening, I had the chance to go somewhere different, The Magic Castle. To go in there, you either have to be a member, or a guest of a member, and I was fortunate enough to be the latter. OK, as with so much travel this trip, things didnt go smoothly. The taxi was fine, and then we hit a traffic jam on Franklin Avenue. So he went down to Hollywood Boulevard to avoid it, just as bad. So down to Sunset Boulevard, then all the way up to my destination, but it meant a $12 taxi fare ended up at $18! Oh, and of course, my friend got stuck in the same jam, but texted me what to do on arrival, and all was fine.
The evening itself was wonderful, I had wonderful company (thanks Eden, and Phylis), and was wonderfully entertained by both them, and a string of magicians. One especially took my heart (though not in that sense, I think?), but they were all great. Phylis ran me home afterwards, and I got in about 1.15 am, a time I have no idea when I last saw before bed! Oh, and this morning was the latest I’ve got up in my stay, about 8.15! No surprise, I guess? Still, Wednesday (when I guess I’m going to have to be up by 6, or soon after) is going to come as a culture shock!
Right, 2 full days, and 2 special trips to do. Tomorrow is off to Glendale, and Forest Lawns by bus, to say my final farewell to Jean Harlow. Yes, I know, she’s not going to answer me or anything (unless her “ghost” turns up, who is seemingly very chatty, then all bets would be off!) but its something I really want to do, just spend some time with her, one last time. Hopefully its as easy to get close as it was in April.
Then Tuesday, one last farewell trip to the delight that is Hollywood Boulevard. A little bit of souvenir shopping, a nice lunch (which I wish could be Musso & Frank, but I really cant afford it. Silly, its only because I included it in a story, but…), and then say farewell again, at Jean’s star on the strip, and to her’s, and a couple of other people’s hands, and footprints at the Chinese Theatre. Then 1 last nice ice cream at Hollywood & Highland centre, then with, I’m sure a few tears, say goodbye to Hollywood for the last time, as I head back here, to pack, and watch baseball!
Then, Wednesday morning, the long trek home. At least I will see that wonderful Hollywood sign, one last time, as the shuttle pulls out on to Beachwood before I leave.
I have got a few possible jobs to follow up on, from before I left, and I’ve applied for a couple more in the last few days, telling the people concerned that I wont be back before the 29th! Hopefully they noticed!
I’m sure there will be one last posting from LA, assuming Tuesday doesnt prove more problematical than expected, packing wise, and the like. So, if I dont…
Right, lastly, the video. Lets go back to last night for that.