After a good nights sleep and another fabulous breakfast at our favourite place Dave and I decided to take a trip to Brooklyn Museum to see a photographic exhibition called 'Who Shot Rock and Roll?'.
We took the subway and on our way there a young man of about 19 entered our train carriage with a box of kit kats, he addressed the packed carriage and gave a confidently executed and engaging speech about being a young entrepreneur trying to fund his college education by selling sweets to commuters.
I remember thinking what a good story it would make if he ever made it big and wrote his autobiography. He was a charming boy, if I'd had any change in my pocket I would have bought a kit kat from him.
The exhibition was inspired, it was absolutely full of iconic photographs. My favourite was this image by Andy Earl for the cover of an album by Bow Wow Wow.
Beautifully costumed by Vivienne Westwood it is a recreation of Edouard Manet’s famous painting Le déjeuner sur l’herbe (The Luncheon on the Grass).
The picture caused quite a stir at the time because Anabella Lwin, (the naked lead singer,) was underage and did not have her mothers permission to pose nude.
I loved the vibrant colours and the modernity of this version of such a classic image.
By the time we left the museum it was blowing a gale out side, it was snowing heavily and it was freezing cold. We battled against the wind as we walked towards the high street in search of somewhere warm to stop and have a bite to eat.
I had on my red leopard print ballet pumps which I had believed to be the sensible choice being that they were flat and I'd expected to be on my feet all day.
My shoes were soaked through and my feet were numb with cold...(proving to me, as if proof were needed, that flat shoes are never a sensible choice for a fasionista.)
We reached a road which must have had a blocked drain or something because there was a river of freezing water to cross! Davy gallantly scooped me up in his arms and carried me across the road to a welcoming, warm, dry pizzeria. We ate slices of homemade pizza and drank diet coke as we watched the snow fall.
We'd lost track of time waiting for the weather to improve and suddenly I realised how late it was.
There was no question of me going out in Manhattan on a Saturday night wearing a denim mini and flat shoes with wet hair so we made our way back West so that I could change in to some sequins and killer heels and put on some lipstick.
We had arranged to meet my friend Tim in the bar at his hotel and I realised now that we were going to be very late.
Tim is a very talented, very handsome graphic designer who I'd met at the wedding of a client and all round lovely girl, who's bridal gown I had made.
We had become facebook friends and through the boastings of our status updates had realised that we were going to be in the big apple at the same time, so, we arranged to meet up.
Tim was in New York with his mother to celebrate her birthday.
Tim's mother (who I have never had the pleasure of meeting) is by all accounts a bit of a fox and unsurprisingly had secured a date with a pleasant gentleman from Kentucky that evening which left Tim free to enjoy a cocktail or two with us.
I got ready as quickly as I could, but to be fair, you can't hurry heated rollers can you? They take as long as they take.
We got to the hotel an hour late.
"I'm so sorry" I said dramatically as I flounced in to the bar, and I meant it, but I mean, there had been a blizzard to contend with! and we'd been in Brooklyn of all places!
My excuses fell on deaf ears as Tim berated me for leaving him on his own for an hour and greeted Davy warmly, the boys shared a joke about my hopelessness before ordering 'one for the road'.
Our pretty barmaid eyed Tim wistfully while we drank up and my guilt eased slightly as I realised he'd probably been well looked after in our absence.
We finished our drinks quickly and hailed a cab on 5th to take us East.
Now... I am in the very fortunate position of having a very beautiful and very talented freelance seamstress in my employment who happens to have a very handsome and very talented brother who is in the employment of Hendricks Gin, as the national rep for the company his knowledge of the best bars in any city is second to none...
I was marginally apprehensive but very excited none the less about introducing my friends to one such bar.
We exited the taxi at the correct address and waited outside briefly for George and Stefania to arrive.
We were all gathered in the door way of a dodgy looking hot dog shop, all neon signs and $1 dogs.
Everyone was looking to me for an explanation but I knew it would make sense in the end.
I motioned for everyone to follow as I walked into the hot-dog shop, people in coats were queueing to buy fast food, paint was pealing off the walls, there was a strong smell of frankfurters and onions, in short, there wasn't the slightest hint of glamour anywhere to be seen. It has to be said, I felt quite out of place.
I looked around nervously... eventually I spied a battered old phone booth in the corner, relief washed over me and I confidently strolled over fluffing up my hair and entered the booth.
I picked up the phone.
'Welcome to Please don't tell, can I help you?' said the professional female voice on the other end of the line.
"I have a party of 5 please." I answered hesitantly.
Just then a secret door in the back of the phone booth opened to reveal a quilted leather clad haven decked with crystal chandeliers on the other side, the beautiful hostess looked us up and down and ushered us inside. You are very welcome, she said but we may need your table by 1am.
Translation: if we decide you are not fabulous enough for us we reserve the right to kick you out in 30 minuets time.
We were shown to a comfortable booth with red leather seats and subtle lighting. and given elegant cocktail menus to peruse.
George shook my hand enthusiastically and quipped " bloody hell Gill, it's like you have the key to this city or something! I can't believe they let us in here."
"You can get in anywhere as long as you're consistently over dressed and subtly over confident" I answered with a wink.
We enjoyed a wonderfully decadent evening of bespoke cocktails and table service in beautiful surroundings and were grateful to note that we didn't get kicked out at 1am, in fact we stayed until after 3.
Obviously we were, just, fabulous enough.
On the way home we stopped for a late night bite at and a nightcap and Tim got chatted up by the waitress. Again.
We said our goodbyes to George and Stefania then and that's when I first felt a little sad, we'd been having so much fun I'd almost forgotten that I'd be leaving the next day.
Tim, Davy and I shared a cab back up town and I stole a little kiss from Tim as he got out of the car, "see you back in Bristol kid" he said with a parting wink.
Davy slept the rest of the way back West and I watched him fondly as I reflected on the weeks events.
That I was in love with Manhattan there was no doubt, but being with her this past week had rekindled a love that I'd thought had been lost.
I thought about the offers of employment I'd had and I thought about Gilly Woo.
I'd stuck up for her and been angry when Mark* had slagged her off and suggested she was inadequate, I'd felt disappointed and uninspired at the thought of designing under another name...under someone elses name.
I'd felt uneasy about the prospect or compromising her artistic integrity and potentially, her reputation, for commercial success.
I didn't want to loose her... suddenly I felt short of breath at the thought of loosing Gilly Woo.
No matter what I'd gone through, the long hours the financial struggle, the constant pressure, never switching off, never being able to do enough, all the sacrifices I'd made...I'd made for the love of it, for the love of Gilly Woo.
I couldn't feel that way working for a business like Marks where money in the till was more important than happy customers, or Carries where I'd be designing dresses I didn't care about for women I'd never meet.
This is what I was meant for, Gilly Woo and I belonged together. Manhattan was a glamorous and exciting mistress no doubt, but no one does glamour like Gilly Woo!
I slept a little uneasy that night, my head full of thoughts and ideas and apprehensions.
Davy was flying from JFK and I was flying from Newark so after breakfast we said goodbye and I wished him a safe journey and told him not to be late (cos he's always missing flights,) and then I walked back to the hostel feeling a little melancholy if truth be known.
Once there I collected my bags and checked out.
I received a text message from Mark while I was waiting for my cab to the airport.
'Meet me for lunch?' it said,.
I replied that I was leaving today and had a flight to catch so I would be unable to.
'Stay longer...If you need money just say how much.' came the reply.
To say I was tempted, is probably understating it, but I had a business to get home to and a reignited flame of passion to fan.
Maybe one day, with hard work and dedication, we could return to Manhattan together, Woo and I, and the three of us could make a go of it....Stranger things have happened.....Well spoken James Bond baddies in coffee shops, Talking walruses, Hawks living in penthouses....
If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere....It's up to you....Well, actually, it's up to me...
(or maybe...it's just the beginning ;-)