Thursday, May 13, 2010

Heaven Around the Corner--Discussion Thread

In Heaven Around the Corner, Louisa's 'Frank' is a self-important, rather short fellow with loads of money, a gorgeous car AND a villa in Spain. No, I will not not start singing Elton John songs. But seriously, if you put 'villa in Spain' on one end of the scale, one wonders how much self-importance one would tolerate on the other side to even things out satisfactorily. [Betty Debbie] I don't think I could handle a "self-important" husband at any price. Not even for a villa in Spain.

Miss Savage sends Louisa to Harrods to get some new uniforms. If that doesn't scream 'been at the whisky bottle' then I don't know what does. Harrods is one of the most famous luxury department stores in the world--holder (according to Neels) of innumerable ball gowns, silken undies and leather handbags. But I hope by now I have gleaned enough Brit culture to know that Marks and Spencer would be a better place.


The flat that the ladies stay in is described as 'well-furnished in the modern Scandinavian style'. Fine enough if it's Dania--sleek squared-off leather couches and flat-fronted consoles. But, of course, there's the other end of the spectrum with IKEA. I wonder if they have a working knowledge of Allen wrenches and the time to assemble a dresser in their idle hours...or gypsy bookcases. I am imagining bare wood floors, without fitted carpets - just a plush throw rug or two. There's a reason for all those thick wool socks.


Eva (cook/housekeeper in Bergen) works from 8am to 7pm each day with 2 hours off in the afternoon. Eh. What a sucky schedule. In the winter it's probably pitch black by 4 and in the summer you're missing all that lovely sunshine. I don't know what they're paying her but the cooking sherry keeps going missing and Miss Savage eats like a bird. It sounds like Eva could use a little visit from a plucky Sally Fields. On the other hand, she does have a six month contract and will get paid whether the Savage clan are in residence or not.

Claudia is described as bone idle (there are many times that I am also bone idle...but you won't find any empties under my mattress). Here's a partial list of physical symptoms of alcoholic dependency:
  • Anxiety or jumpiness
  • Shakiness or trembling
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
Alright, it's clear that 'bone idle' is a synonym for 'fatigue'. Betty also has her eating next to nothing, being irritable and moody...There's everything but a bright neon sign hanging over her head. Do you suppose they covered alcoholic spotting in nursing school? If not, why not?


When Louisa goes skiing, she is told that they can borrow equipment for free. Betty Debbie and I are separated by enough years so that she did not come from a skiing family and I did. Dad didn't get the equipment for free but, if you are willing to be an unglamorous skier, a few productive trips to Goodwill can seriously mitigate the cost of such an expensive sport. You'll know us when you see us. We're the ones with the creative approach to alpine fashion. There doesn't seem to be much of the apr├Ęs ski culture in the few Western U.S. ski resorts that I have been to...so I think you're good.

4 comments:

  1. Uniforms at Harrods: I beg to differ.
    1. Claudia would tell her to charge the uniform to her account. Claudia does not have an account at Marks & Spencer....
    2. Harrods provides everything the upper classes could possibly need, and this includes uniforms for servants (you can be sure Claudia regards her nationally registered nurse as a servant)

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  2. You have a point about an account. What's that line in 'Thoroughly Modern Milly' about rich people nickel and dime-ing you death because they don't carry change.

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  3. I don't think I could actually handle a self-important husband, but I have to admit to seriously considering the question vis-a-vis the villa in Spain -- it sounds awfully good right now!

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  4. Spain is too far away to be really attractive as a regular vacation getaway for me - it would involve lengthy plane rides with multiple layovers...most likely including the Atlanta airport (which I loathe with great loathing).

    A villa in Hawaii (5 hour plane ride on one plane...fine) Luxury cabin in Jackson Hole, Wyoming...only a couple of hours by plane. Beach front home on the Oregon Coast...5-6 hour drive. Those are all do-able. A regular vacation spot that doesn't induce jet-lag. That's way more tempting than a villa in Spain that would take all day and night to get to.

    I could understand it being more appealing to our East Coast Bettys who are 2500 miles closer to Spain.

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