THE DUSTY DIARIES… V1…..what have I done to deserve this ??

Well, dear reader the phone did ring lots of times,I’m sure, but twice with something important, it seems.
The first was from a Lady Dusty knew in L.A., Allee Willis, she had written a number hits for people and also had been, it appears, a drinking partner with our girl a few times in the dark and distant past.
Allee had just collaborated with Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe the ‘boys’ from the Pet Shop Boys, a written a great song with ” a somewhat complicated format” called (yes you’ve guessed it) What have I done to deserve this; and ‘the boys’ very much wanted Dusty to help them on the track which was going to be included on their first album. They were both huge fans and thought this would be a great song for her to feature “in and around the chorus, well all over the record really”.
Dusty had heard the Petshop Boys and, indeed liked their sound very much,”never in a million years thinking I’d get to sing with them”.
Therefore, her immediate response was NO !! If in doubt run away dahling. Allee told the boys Dustys answer and they ‘filed’ it away and would approach her again sometime.

A short while later Dusty’s long time friend and now manager, Vicki Wickham, called her with what would appear to be a real GEM!!
Richard Carpenter,he of The Carpenters, was considering getting back into the pop business after a number of years absence since his lovely sister Karen had left this World. He wanted Dusty, Dionne Warwick and few other ‘good singers’ to feature on this album, great stuff and at last she would be working with professionals again, quite a refreshing change after the Peter Stringfellow debacle.

The arrangements were made for the session, Richard had written a beautiful song for Dusty, Something in your eyes, and it was perfect for her voice, not quite so dramatic as her sixties product but right for her now and the record buying public it seemed !
Dusty did a great job with it as anyone who has heard the track will agree. You can actually see Dusty and Richard perform this on You Tube (where else)??
However Richard decided to release it under his name, no mention of Dusty, and of course it sold reasonably well because of the fact it was obviosly Dusty singing on the track.
Now……how Dusty didnt call around to his house and deliver him “a good old Twentieth Century Fox chorus girl slap” I dont know, maybe she did, its not documented.
One positive action to come from this release was Dustys voice was out there again and, guess what, the Pet Shop Boys were on the phone aagin to Vicki, would Dusty please rethink their offer, please, pretty please.
Strangely enough Dusty jumped at it this time and arrangements were made quickly for Dusty to fly into London, stay at the Portland, and attend the studios within a couple of days to record the song. Maybe the speed was in case she changed her mind again, who knows, thats not documenmted either !!
Dusty arrived, on time it seems, and ‘the boys’ were as excited as she was nervous. “there she was Dusty Springfield, the hair, the eyes and we couldn’t believe we had Dusty singing on one of our records”
The ‘boys’ couldn’t beleive it when our girl demurely asked “what to you want me to sound like” !!! They just wanted her to sounds like Dusty Springfield, nothing more and they were sure it was all the track needed. They were of course dead right, the song was a huge hit all around the World and so it should be. Dusty aparently took the task very seriously and (not literally I think) rolled up her sleeves, fingered her hair, took and couple of drags on her cigarette (our girl is smoking now for the first time in her life) sometimes 40 cigarettes per day !!

The PSB knew exactly how to use Dustys vocals on this track not only to sell the record but to bring Dusty to the fore, so that one could be forgiven for thinking it was a new Dusty Springfield single. Dusty would be and should be extremely grateful for this and “I find it difficult to BE grateful, it sticks in my craw”, well luckiliy she did deal with her missgivings and went from strength to strength with her new mentors, producers and best friends in the business.AND DIDNT IT SHOW ?? Dusty was all over the press both the Nationals and the Music papers.
She must have thought many times……What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this….way to to go dahling and not before time………

Why do they do it ??

A couple days ago two Lady friends and I went for lunch/catch up moment at the fairly new eatery here in Town, The Orphanage.

I like the look of the place and have noticed on the times I have driven past in the daytime that it seems popular and so…..why not give it go ??

The decor is really nice, lots of wood, stripey fabrics,fancy glass lighting everywhere, whats not to like ????

I’ll tell you what shall I ?…..the food dahling, the food !!!
I ordered a caeser salad, a favourite of mine forever, plus I’m always interested to see (and taste) the different spins resuarants put on this perennial favourite dish.
WELL…….what The Orphanage do is throw a lot of limp lettuce into a bowl, cover it in a bland dressing and THATS IT !!!
Really dear reader, thats it, no egg, no parmesan shavings, no anchovies, NADA, NICHT,NIL,NOTHING AT ALL……. all that and only R52…..que luquo, such value, such style, such A CHEEK !!!

Sorry you guys, get a clue before the closing ceremony please, if only for the sake of the soon to be unemployed staff. ~

My Andalucian Antics….well most of them #2

WELL….after about a year of this ‘bliss’, yes you guessed it, he buggered off ! Being on the receiving end of this sort of treatment was a whole new and devestating experience for me,I must say.
I actually fell to pieces, millions of them all over the Campo !
Thank God I had a couple of friends who were there to help put me back together albeit with bottles of vodka and cigarettes mostly.
Natalie and Allen were still living in the U.K. at that time and living through their own dramas and personal nightmares, unbeknown to be (well most of it). Its very strange (again with benefit of hindsight) how one can be so self centred and unable to even see the plight of others when you feel your own World is spinning out of control. Paul tells me even now how self centred I can be at times and yet on other occasions so completely selfless and think only of others. One of Natures little mysteries I guess. I have long since realised, with the help of my Man Paul, that this dramatic screaming and shouting,insulting (no abusive) phone calls back to the U.K. and all the threats were actually a huge smoke screen for my REAL feelings.
It was in fact my HUGE EGO that had taken a thumping and we all know how hard to swallow that particular bitter pill can be!!

Very soon after this scenario Natalie and Allen sold up in the U.K. and came to live with me, for a while in Spain,bless them. I really do not know what I would have done without these two saviours of my sanity.
Not true, I do know, I would have drunk and smoked myself into some sort of catatonic state for sure. They helped pull me from the bottom of this pit I was diving headlong into every day.
I say everyday advisadly because there were days that I just stayed in my pit, not a pretty sight for your Princess and her Man to look at let alone deal with. It is, as they say, all a terrible blur to me now and THANK GOD !!

However, we got through that little ‘blot on the personal landscape’ and dived headlong into, what appeared on the surface to be a romantic fantastic envious venture. We bought a beautiful old Andaluce pueblo house and renovated it, stripped it down to the bones in places, built on and generally created this stunning, stunning residence, not to live in but…….a superb restaurant in a truly Moorish style, typically involving rich fabrics, beautiful lamps,strong colours,plants everywhere, it was really beautiful. Natalie and I got to camp ourselves silly with the redecoration and Allen took on a couple of ulcers dealing with the finances and logistics of the whole fairytale or nightmare depending on where you’re coming from.Neither Natalie or I are particularly strong in that field we are more”the creative type” dahling !!

The restaurant “Santiago del Calvario’ was launched to a great fanfare in the following November after months and months of nightmare builders (mostly), obstinate bank Managers, moronic plumbers, tile suppliers etc. etc. pero en Espana son normal no ??

After a couple of ‘slow’ months the place really took off and with both the hard work of both Natalie and Allen (incidentaly this is where Allen picked up the name ‘the washerup’) and my own particular skill in networking and working as the Maitre ‘D’ it went from strength to strength. Natalie and Allen worked day and night behind the scenes and also in he kitchen and waiting tables.
When one considers that we had, neither of us, ever worked in the hospitality busines before……and never will again, trust me, we achieved absolute miracles !!!
I use the ‘royal we’ here, as I only appeared in this pantomime for a year,just over and then….to quote my beautiful irreverant daughter “he’s off on his Royal tour dahling”……….~~~~~~~~~


My little sister Marilyn (she’s not THAT little she’s just a clever dresser!!) fed me the thought for this little excusrsion down memory lane and therefore the blame lies right at her door this time , brace yerself……
When we were kids there wasn’t central heating (I don’t think) and besides I know we wouldn’t have been able to afford it if there was. Another reason would be my Dads hesitance to contemplate anything of that nature. “A bit of cold never hurt anyone, put another jumper on thats what they’re for”!! He didnt realise that to me sweaters (NOT JUMPERS PLEASE!!) were meant to be fashionable,preferably in cashmere and with a raglan sleeve!!
Dad still goes to bed with the fanlight window open in his bedroom, how my Mum, bless her, dealt with that God knows.I bet you a pound to a bag of gobstoppers he has even in the really cold spell and heavy snow they’re experiencing in England this week. I must say at this point that he’s coming up for 94 in April and it doesn’t seem to have done any lasting damage to him. Its made all of us ‘kids’ wimps and lovers of warm houses and cashmere sweaters though, a ver !!
My Dad resited a telephone being installed in the house, for the longest time. “I dont want all the bloody neighbours coming in here at all times of the day and night, we’re not the Salvation Army”. …..lightbulb moment here…..maybe thats why I have such a stubborn single minded approach to things sometimes, not often of course, Paul will tell you that honest, but……he’ll tell you anything if there’s a glass of red wine at the end of it. I seem to have picked up that trait too, must be osmosis ??
I still remember as a kid in the winter we often went to bed with our clothes on. Not, you understand, in case the baliffs turned up (I dont think so anyway!). We five boys slept in one room whereas the four girls occupied the other bedroom, cosy doesn’t cover it here!!
I’m listening to Katie Meluas album, call off the search, forgotten how good it is, she seems to have lost that vulnerability in her voice now, but I still enjoy her music very much, much to the chagrin of Natalies Allen, he doesn’t get it, but then he doesn’t like Marty Pellow(wet wet wet) either or the lovely Dusty, so what does he know??

OOOOPS, I digress………… The bedrooms were sooooo bloody cold in the depth of winter that it was necessary to sleep fully clothed sometimes.
There was a one bar electric fire built into the bedroom wall (cant remember if the girls did). But unless it affected me how was I to know or be expected to understand ? I do recall thinking ‘I wont go to school today, I’ll lie in and have the fire to myself when I do get up towards midday’ Truthfully I manipulated Mum so badly in my teens its a wonder she didn’t throw me out with the rubbish, really!!
Thats not to say I (we) felt any shame or embaressment over the fully clothed in bed thing, its just what we did and all of our friends on the estate did the same. Its was only as I got into my teens and began venturing away from home, both mentally and physically, that I discovered central heating, fitted carpets and matching dinner plates. I WOULDN’T CHANGE THOSE TIMES FOR THE WORLD……… (maybe the dinner plates thingy but they are not really important in the run of things, its just me being a fussy Queen !!)

I remember my lovely sister Pat (Aunty Pat) trying to grow up into the beautiful young Lady she was,in this environment. It must have been difficult, bless her, trying to put her schlapp on in the bathroom with ice on the INSIDE of the windows and the all important lippy needing to be warmed up slowly, because if she did it too quickly it would break. Ah the pleasures of Rimmel beauty on a budget tray !!! She always, always took time to get her face on before she launched herself into the World, girl after my own heart here, I miss her everyday.

Another really scary thing (for the girls anyway) was that at Christmastime my Dad would bring home whole, fully clothed Geese or Hares and hang them on the back of the larder door, the same larder that housed our breakfast cereals etc.The screams from the girls as they opened the door was hysterical, to me at least. I’ve always had warped sense of humor (its is funny, isn’t it?).. God know where he got the animals from, I think some of the customers in the pub he worked day and night in(literally) gave them to him, I’ll ask him later when I call home (E.T. moment?).
Marilyn and Melanie are scarred to this day, I swear, over these dead animals ‘hanging around’ in the kitchen. Melanie is a confirmed vegetarian who knows ??

Its a beautiful afternoon in Cape Town, 32 degrees, light wind and a glass of Chenin Blanc enroute as we speak……rude not to really !! xx

~Temenos Retreat in McGregor….heaven on earth.~

A few weeks before Christmas last we set off in search of a little peace and tranquility before the pending onslaught of the Christmas festivities. We knew from our previous visit to Temenos that the next few days were going to be just what the doctor ordered.
So……we threw a few things in a bag, (anyone who knows me will KNOW that to be not true!!) filled up the car and headed for the N2, taking the Grabouw turnoff.
We much prefer this route for a number of reasons but primarily because it is far less hetic than the recommended GPS route.(What do they know?)… Elgin, Grabouw, Villiersdorp and the surrounding areas are absolutely stunning, the scenery is quite breathtaking in places, far more than sitting on the good old N1 and trundling through the Huegenot tunnel and Worcester. (How to win friends and influence people Tony ??).
The lakes, dams and mile after mile of superb hills and valleys immediately relaxes you in preparation for the coming retreat.

As it was Christmas and you only get one of them in a year,we decided that we would have lunch at The Small Hotel in Robertson, because of the superb Ruebens restaurant there.The lunch menu is really quite limited but offering just the right light options and (as its Robertson) lovely, lovely local wines.Bring it on girls we’re on holidays !! I think the choices change regularly for seasonal availability reasons and so it would be pointless of me to suggest or recommend courses as they probably are not available at this point. However…..the Graham Beck Brut Rose MCC is always a crowd pleaser, that I can whole heartedly suggest, its just the right wine for any occasion and always a good price too. (OK then we’ll have another bottle, rude not too really !!)

We arrived at Temenos just around two, in time to unpack and take a well deserved siesta…que luquo guapiton.

Early evening at Temenos is so beautiful the heat has gone from the sun, the birds, geese, ducks and peacocks are all strutting about doing there stuff and creating quite a performance in doing so.Love it, Mother Nature is quite a girl isn’t she?
One pea hen was proudly exhibiting her five chicks and at the same time protecting them from their Father, apparently they can be quite agressive towards their offspring !! The peacock was trolling about showing the World and his wife his stunning plumage (bet he is a Leo too??)
The cottages are very well appointed in a very simple rustic style ensuring that your stay with them is relaxing and memorable. We love it there. The beautiful places of contemplation in the grounds are so, so special inducing a complete state of tranquility both menatlly and physically. There is no religous doctrine at Temenos, quite simply places of peace and reflection with just about all the different religons and their icons hidden away in a woodland setting.
My particular special place is the angel of lost children, a simple angelic statue with outstretched arms surrounded by white roses. It quite simply makes me want to cry. I dont actually know the exact reasons but I am sure it must bring back some of the emotions I felt when Natalie was very sick a few years ago. Such a feeling of relief and thankfullness.
You MUST stay with Billy and his lovely staff as soon as possible for your own sakes, if for no one elses. Please let me have your comments and/or observations when you return to this rat race a completely rejuvenated being.

Have a great Year ahead and be kind to people, its easier, trust me. xx