Elena Bowes

New York-London design & culture writer of a certain vintage looking for meaning and wholeness in life

Going on Vacation

July 8th, 2018

I am going on holiday and will be back, well, later. I have some serious reading by the beach that I want to attend to (scroll to bottom for my summer reading list). It may seem that I am on permanent vacation, but that is where you are so wrong. I have been working hard, very hard. Just not on my blog.

Relationships take a lot of work, and I am a workaholic. Training, training, training. It’s 24/7 with Stretch.

Let’s just say that height is not our only difference.

For starters Stretch is a much nicer, more thoughtful and forgiving person than I am. He likes to share. I am not a natural sharer. My kids always know when I have ordered something delicious in a restaurant. I go silent and accelerate my CPM (chews per minute).

Stretch, on the other hand, is always suggesting we share. What’s his is ours.  I have just about gotten used to sharing entrées, water bottles, even a stick of chewing gum.  But I had to draw the line the other night when he suggested we split a Refresh eye drop. He’ll be offering up his used  dental floss next if I don’t set limits pronto.

We recently went to a vintage car sale in Greenwich, a fun weekend activity, window shopping. We had zero intention of buying anything. I instagrammed several photos of cute, curve-y, cuddly cars that I liked.

Then I had to go do a few errands and left Stretch at the auction with his car-loving middle son. No sooner had I bought a few groceries and picked up the dry cleaning than we became the proud owners of a not very curve-y, cuddly vehicle – a Testarossa (red Ferrari).

It’s an investment, he said.

This is from a man who brings paper towels in from Greenwich


to save a few pennies, a man who thinks a $100 haircut is highway robbery and who buys own-brand chapstick on principle.  Stretch is not a strutter.  The only good news about said “investment” is that it came before my birthday.

My therapist says that I need to be more direct with Stretch about my wants and needs. That Instagramming the kind of cute cars I like is too subtle. I need to be more open (aka blunt). So I tell Stretch that while I like the Korean bowl he gave me for last year’s birthday, and the book he’s suggesting for this year’s big day is a sweet idea, really, truly, all I want is jewellery.  Men cannot go wrong with a gem or two. And a  happy Elena is a happy household.

I am pleased to report that directness won the day. I have the gorgeous citrine ring (right hand) to prove it. So I try again.

I am very sensitive to my surroundings. I like beauty, I tell Stretch. Nice hotels make me happy. Linen sheets make me happy. Gorgeous nature makes me happy.

This summer we are going sailing in western Canada. Stretch has been there before.

Hold on, he says, leaping from the sofa. Let me show you photos of where we’re going. You’re gonna love it.

He finds the album, opens it.

Check this out.

Grizzlies and Ferraris, my two not great loves. So trust me, while I may not be blogging much this summer, I will be working hard, very hard, getting even closer to my beloved.

When I am not working on the big R, here’s what I’ll be reading or listening to:

A Tale for The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki –  my new very well-read friends Simon and Eliana, say this book is excellent, and really sings as an audio because the author narrates it so beautifully.

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman- NY Times writer Sarah Lyall wrote this terrific review of Steadman’s thriller here.

And for a funny, light summer read, Ian Mc Ewan’s Nutshell is a must – a soon-to-be-born baby is not happy about who his real father is, or the plot mom and real dad are hatching.

See you at the beach…

July, 2018