Like a Gold Ring in a Sow's Nose

Experience life through the eyes of two star ladies - tat, clothes, tatty clothes...and Goblin beefburgers in a tin washed down with a pint of warm flat Panda Cola.


Beginning on Sunday we left Shifnal for the drive to London Heathrow Holiday Inn Ariel (see left). As is now customary there was a new stone chip to the windscreen and the sat nav seemed to have lost the ability to determine it's current position (fortunately I don't need it) but these things always make me twitchy because it means I have more expense waiting as soon as I get back. Anyway, we get to the hotel, both with hangovers and Dan in a foul mood due to having shoe horned in an appalling round of golf. I was so hungover that I actually fancied a burger (can't remember the last time that happened) and so we stopped at Toddington and had a couple of the world's most mayonnaise soaked burgers. So then all I heard afterwards was how Dan's stomach was upset, all the way to the hotel. Blah blah blah.

So, checked in and went down to the bar for a drink. where we found a West Ham v Tottenham match on in the bar - a bar with no atmosphere and Dan declaring, after one drink, that his stomach wasn't settled and that he just wanted to go back to the room. So it was room service and crap food - £5.00 for beans on toast anyone? Then it was a few more glasses of wine, Top Gear and 24, out with the contacts and so to bed at 10 o'clock for a 5 am start and soon fast asleep. As I was taking out my lenses (my monthly one night's sleep without them was supposed to be the Saturday night but despite putting the new set next to my bed I was still too drunk to remember to take them out) I thought about how I hadn't bought my glasses with me and if, this is no word of a lie, there was a fire alarm and we had to be evacuated from the hotel, I wouldn't be able to see anything. Anyway, I was fast asleep within minutes of turning off the light and I was having a dream so I was in a deep sleep when we were both shocked right out of it by an ear shattering alarm, I was so disorientated I thought it was my phone alarm going off and I thought surely it can't be 5 already? Anyway, when I looked at my phone and saw the time, 10.45, it dawned on me that it was the frakkin' fire alarm! I couldn't believe it. So off we went outside, couldn't see owt and it was fairly brisk - Dan realised that he was going to need to buy a warm layer in NY, his jacket wasn't going to be good enough, so I suggested that it would be the first place we went to when we got there, I knew there was a GAP nearby to the eventually the fire brigade came out and declared it safe to return and with a round of applause we all filed back inside, foil blankets and all.

Happy Mondays?

All too soon it was time to get up and get on the Airport Hoppa (right) bus that costs 4 quid each one way and quite frankly is a total rip off.
It dawned on me that it wouldn't be much more in a taxi and so our return transport was settled there and then. (And it was £8!) We checked in and boarded the flight and all went very well, Dan was happy with the level of entertainment and even the stewardesses were nice, you really can't knock Virgin Atlantic, they were just as good as I remembered them.
Then came the thorny issue of immigration at JFK (pictured below)...I was a bit nervous here because of Dan having been arrested twice and neither of us had checked out the details. It was also on the Green Form as well that you should check whether you need a visa if you have ever been arrested. Not charged or convicted even, just arrested! Anyway, this level of tension in me was not repeated in Dan as I don't
think he thinks about these things much, he expects me to do the sorting out if there's any research to be done etc. but this time I didn't.

Adding to this was the last minute discovery that we had both written our birthdays in the wrong box left us the last minute job of filling in our green forms whilst standing in an increasingly swift moving immigration queue - and I made the fatal mistake of letting Dan have the pen first, an amazingly slow writer and left handed to boot. And he wouldn't have it that you had to fill a section on the bottom in either - you did - and so by the time he had finished I was left very little time to scribble my details down and was reaching new levels of nervousness. I thought it wise to let Dan go first and he was fine, although I did have to coach him on where we were staying and for how long - how can you not know these things? Seriously? He was seemingly oblivious to the fact that US Border Patrol would be asking these questions. When Dan went through OK I felt myself relax but as is the case with me it's then that I get the shakes and all the tension comes out. So that left me shaking like a leaf and unable to tell my left hand from my right - I was Ajax - when I was asked to put my left index finger on the finger print scanner I stared at my hands and the woman had to point out which one she wanted! I was so embarrassed and couldn't put enough pressure on the scanner due to shaking too much! I am amazed I got let in!


So off to the Marriott Marquis Times Square (lobby bar on the right) and we had a transfer booked so that was fine. We checked in and my credit card wouldn't scan so I gave the woman a back up card and I wasn't sure whether that one had scanned either so I was trying to work it out (I needed to know for when we went out. I didn't want to take both out at the same time for obvious reasons) and Dan starts snapping at me...a sign of things to come...and when I told him to stop getting arsy he went off on the track that he wasn't and how dare I say that etc. etc. etc. Anyway, this little argument is nipped in the bud by the opening of our room door to see a view of Times Square Below and a lovely bed, the biggest bed I've ever seen in a hotel, and like sleeping on a cloud it was. A quick check of the TV shows that it has the Fox channel so I know that I am all set up for PB at 8 o'clock!


So we head out to GAP after a glass of wine in the bar looking at Times Square. On the way there we pass the MTV studios where there was a crowd of people going nuts for a woman in there called Ciara who was on the cover of a glossy magazine as well, and poncing around by the window.  I hadn't got a clue who she was so she gets the big ignore. And a guy passes us talking to his friend in that wonderful NYC way saying "And I saw my fuckin' papers and I thought 'Man! I'm goin' down!'". Brilliant.


Mind the GAP

Now I knew that Windy had done some modelling for GAP in the US and was going to go into GAP to look for a bag I wanted (really) and thought that I would have to get Dan to go into the men's section to wind him up and here I was, I didn't even have to make up an excuse to get him there, he needed a warm layer to put under his Gortex jacket because it was cold in NY and going to get colder. But even I wasn't ready for a 15 by 15 ft photo of my hero (as seen on the right) smack bang in the foyer as you went in! (Or as some peasant woman remarked "that TV guy"). Dan uttered something like "Oh Christ" and some may feel sorry for him but not me, especially when I have to put up with his behaviour for the rest of the day...when we got out of GAP empty handed it had started to snow and the wind was so strong that the snow was falling horizontally. It was pretty bad and Dan spotted a sports shop and we went in and got a cheap thermal lined fleece. Once back out into what was now a blizzard I suggested we went to the hotel to lay low whilst the snow blew over. This earned me a snotty reply about not wanting to be stuck in the hotel and that he wanted a hot dog from a street vendor. This is all well and good like but in a frickin blizzard? I wasn't keen on this and whilst I too wanted to eat I thought finding a nice diner would be better but oh no, he wanted a hot dog and I was ruining his trip because I didn't want to do these things like every tourist does because I had already been there and I didn't care about what he wanted etc etc etc. Utter bollocks and all because I didn't want to stand in a f**ing blizzard eating a hot dog! Eventually we ate in a deli and found an Irish pub on the way back to the hotel.

Guinness - it's everywhere innit?  

I knew Dan had wanted to go into an Irish pub so we went in, all very themed really but not too touristy for Times Square. Anyway, this place had the Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Isle of Man and even the Cornish flag on the wall, such is the Celtic air of the place, along with a mosaic of a young man with long brown hair..."f**k me", I thought, "that's Bobby Sands. The martyr himself". And the same match was on the TV that I had already seen in the bar at the Holiday Inn in London. So Dan starts his routine of making sure that, despite his accent, the bartender knows he is Irish and promptly asks who the mosaic is of! Poor lad. Mind you even I was shocked he didn't know and said so but I suppose he is maybe a little young to remember it, he would have only been about 10 when he died, and it's to his credit that he doesn't even feel the need to find out about it, just look to the future instead. But I did give him a bit of stick about it and he got all touchy, serves you right for shouting at me in the street about a hot dog mate, thinks I. Speaking of which, after we leave the shrine to Bobby Sands we find a hot dog and pretzel vendor illegally selling on Times Square and seeing as the blizzard is over this time we get some. Naughty naughty as apparently it's not only illegal to sell but to buy as well. A hot dog for Dan which he wolfs down in an alley way to get out of the wind - how is that enjoyable - and a giant pretzel for me to munch on whilst watching PB. A quick stop off to get presents from a shop by the hotel and we are back in the room for a bath and PB. And very enjoyable it was too with the nasty icky twist of incest thrown into the plot along with the President resigning to get out of all the sh*t she's in by pretending to have cancer. Nice. This was followed by 24 which Dan was watching and I throw a pillow at him which goes astray and nearly knocks his beer over, which prompts him to have a right old go at me which is followed by stony silence from me and then Dan says something along the lines of "are you going to cry now?" which pisses me right off and I say that I would rather batter the sh*t out of him and then he goes off on one and smacks the TV off switch, shouts at me some more at gets into bed, I put the TV back on and carry on watching it until I fall asleep.

F**k him, thinks I, it's still Monday night!

Downtown, Midtown, Niketown

Tuesday begins with Dan waking up and immediately apologising, but to be honest, I am sick of this kind of behaviour. he did it in Sicily and Italy
and being tired and overwhelmed by a new country is not a good enough reason to treat me this way, especially as without me, let's face it, he wouldn't be there. Disagreements are one thing but shouting at me like he does and losing his temper is just not on. I let it go, just about. On our way out I notice a couple of men in football kit (as in soccer) walking back to their rooms, odd I think but don't mention it. And so we go out into what can only be described as intense cold. The morning TV programmes were all going on about the cold so we knew it must be bad if the locals were finding it so. It was actually minus 12 centigrade in very strong winds that literally took your breath away. You couldn't look up because you couldn't breathe. After about 3 minutes I felt like Scott of the Antarctic but fortunately with our layers our bodies were OK, except for our heads and legs that is. And my toes. We walk across to fifth avenue with a trip up the Empire State Building first on Dan's list. On the way there, again no hassle for him as I am navigating, Dan decides that he wants to eat and drink something and I am more than up for that as I am missing my breakfasts. His idea, however, was to grab a coffee and bagel and eat it in the we go again. I remarked that I didn't fancy that and was he mad. This brought forth another tirade about how "when in Rome" etc. etc. and that again I was ruining his experience and I was the mad one for not doing it when all the locals were doing it. And he's really shouting at me like I am just a piece of shite and I told him that all the people he could see eating and drinking on the hoof were probably on the clock and would be spending the rest of the day in a nice warm office, not hoofing it around midtown in the freezing cold. I mean, if you've got the day to yourself do you go and get breakfast served up to in a nice warm diner or do you eat it outside in the teeth of a gale force wind in a temperature that was at least minus 12? Answers on a postcard. Seriously, when you're spending the whole day outside...And to accuse me of not wanting him to enjoy NY when this was my fifth time there and I was about to go up the ESB for the 3rd time really stuck in my throat.

After a debate about the wind and whether it was the best day for a trip up the top of one of the tallest buildings in the world, we decided that we would, seeing as we were outside of it and it was very quiet. However I needed a hat so we went a couple of blocks down the road to get us both a hat but I can barely bring myself to talk to him by this point. he actually has to ask what's wrong and so I tell that I am sick of being shouted at in the street which brings another apology but I want to know why he does it but it just deteriorates into another bickering argument. By this time we are at the ESB and as you go up now they ask you if you want your photo taken as a memento and well, you can imagine the look on my face when the photographer said "smile"! And my God, how cold was it up there? I couldn't move my fingers, one side was blocked off due to the winds and my mobile phone battery froze up and switched off after a couple of minutes exposure whilst I attempted to take a photo. My face had lost a layer of skin and my toes were frozen so we went back inside. After looking out from the warmth of the observation room we headed back down. I am still finding it hard to speak to him and so back out into the biting cold we go to see the Flatiron building. Then it's back up fifth avenue to St Patrick's Cathedral. By this time we both need food and drink and Dan can see the sense in finding a diner where we can be waited upon. However, shortly after the Library and just before St. Patrick's Dan sees a deli and declares that we will try in there, I tell him that you won't get waited on but he announces that he doesn't care. Needless to say, as was becoming the norm, he didn't enjoy his food and moaned about it afterwards. So we went to the Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central, past the Waldorf, all the ticks on his list and eventually we went back towards the hotel for a break in the warmth. We stop off at another Irish pub and have a drink but now Dan declares his stomach is killing and so we head back to the hotel. Dan goes to bed for an hour whilst I read the phone book (really) and put another pair of socks on, so I have two pairs on. So after this interlude, Dan still feels like shit apparently, off we go again and this time to Macy's. Walking everywhere as Dan doesn't want to get the subway if we really don't have to - fine for when it's not arctic weather but never mind. By this time both of our faces are completely wind burnt and our skin is flaking and I look like Rudolph the frakkin red nosed reindeer.

Anyway, in Macy's I find a bag that I like in leather, at last! I get that and am served a lovely woman. Dan finds Karen a Guess purse which I refuse to have a hand in, and we have a mooch around for some golfing gear for Dan. They don't have much he likes so we decide to go to Niketown which will also have the added benefit of being in Trump Tower and close to Central Park, thus earning some more ticks off the sightseeing list. So I get us there in double quick time (there's some famous sports woman in there but I haven't a clue who she is) and Dan buys some gear, I let him gett it on my card as he has promised to pay immediately on our return. And we go back to the hotel both eager to get warm and have some pizza. However, by the time we get back, after I am thoroughly tooted at by a NYC taxi driver for blocking his way so I could move some sparrows on, we are so cold that we need to warm up and have a rest before eating but neither of us fancy going back out into the cold again once we have had a shower etc. Both of our legs have gone very dry and rough and started to bleed - yes it was THAT cold, I have never ever been so cold before in my life. Frost bitten legs and a frost bitten ass! So we head out into the bar of the hotel and have a couple of drinks and some bar food (pizza) over which he starts to moan about his breakfast again and how karen was right and that the breakfasts in the US are crap. I said that as neither of them usually ate breakfast it was a bit of a bold statement and that if you don't like one type of breakfast there are loads more to chose from such as pancakes and bagels. This is clearly not acceptable as it's bacon they want in the morning and the bacon is horrible - I said that to expect everything to taste the same as back home is an unrealistic expectation and that did it then. He went off on one about how I was dissing Karen and wouldn't let him or her have an opinion blah blah blah. Eventually after defending my position we fell into an uneasy silence until he again apologised and said that he was hyper sensitive about Karen at the moment, presumably because she is up the duff but what a load of crap this is. It's guilt, that is what it is, guilt that he can't be arsed to go over there and see them, that's what it's all about and if I dare to say that I think she is wrong about something I get my head bitten off. No thanks for taking me around midtown today, thanks for getting me that golf gear on your card, none of that for me, oh no. Things got a little better until we both decided we were tired and went back to our room but as we got to the lifts...

...there they were, the footballers I had seen earlier in the day - frakkin' Everton! Staying in our hotel on a team building week.  Dan's off getting amongst them but I turn and glance at them, see the looks of fear that they are being recognised on their faces and do the decent thing, snort derision and give them the Big Ignore. Dan's all excited but a bit annoyed he didn't see Phil Neville. Unbelievable thinks I, still barely speaking. Bedtime!

It's Snow Joke

Overnight it snowed and left a fair covering. It was still snowing as we left the hotel, still sans breakfast, and I told Dan that he would have to get the Subway if he wanted to do lower Manhattan, we couldn't walk there in that weather. So off we went and we get there OK, got the Staten Island Ferry
and Dan got his view of Manhattan and the bridges and the Statue of Liberty but he wasn't happy about the standard of clientele on the ferry - what do you expect? It's a freezing cold day, the ferry is warm and free - anyway, he still won't eat and it's 1 o'clock and I am getting hungry and annoyed. I know I could stop and eat but who likes doing that, eating a meal in front of someone not eating? Anyway, we go to Ground Zero, Chinatown, Little Italy, Wall Street and then get the Subway back to 7th and 53rd where Dan decides he can now eat (the great unwashed of the Subway over with for the day) and so we go into Lindy's because it's next door to the Subway station and I wanted some cheesecake anyway. I opt for steak and fries, Dan goes with surf and turf and we both have cheesecake. Dan declares his steak horrible but has the shrimps. At least he likes the cheesecake. This then brings a bone chilling walk back to the hotel, both of us are shaking with the cold and decide to go and get warm in the hotel. We stop off at Duane Reade's Drug Store where they refuse to sell us some beer because we have no ID! We have some light hearted banter about being in our thirties and I try to point out Dan's few grey hairs and eventually the manager lets us have it. We go away, slightly inconvenienced but flattered at the same time! Dan is now feeling bad again and blaming it on the shrimps. And this just goes on all night. We have one drink in the bar but that's not enjoyable between Dan rushing to the loo and moaning about his stomach and the loudness of some guys behind us so it's back to the room to watch some fabulously awful Mexican TV channel and some fab ads. I was getting through the booze by now and was sold on many of the 'inventions' including a brilliant fold flat colander complete with fold flat Tupperware. Pass me my credit cards!

 The Wentworth Miller Cloned XI

The next day saw us packing up to come home. I was moaning about how, of all people, we have to bump into a Premiership football team and Dan said that I was just annoyed because it wasn't the Wentworth Miller Cloned XI we had bumped into. This thought fills my head for the entire journey home...
Anyway we pop out to get me a top from GAP - any excuse to go in there again let me tell thee, and I get a bargain, reduced from $39.99 to $9.99. We then go to the Virgin Megastore to see if there's owt in there. On our way in we see a queue of people outside and upon entering we discover that there is a book signing (or magazine signing) for some bint out of Playboy. Glorified hooker more like but there you go. Ashley Massaro was her name (pictured right at the very same event, just after I had passed her) and me and Dan spectacularly blocked the assembled photographers' view of her as she was making her big entrance on the down escalator by choosing that exact moment to go on the up escalator. I have never had a bank of photographers take my photo before, I had the full on flash experience before clocking old Ashley, all teeth, tan and tits and giving her the Big Ignore as well.

Back at the hotel and using up our remaining dollars on beer, Dan clocks Phil Neville (left) in the bar. Thank heaven's there's not a Phil Neville Cloned XI.  So Dan goes and talks to him, you know Dan, and he seems like a really nice bloke to be fair and Dan is made up. I just sit quietly and dream of the Wentworth Miller Cloned XI...goodbye New York, hope to see you again soon but not get moaned at so much.

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