10th July – Santa Monica/Pasadena/Downtown, Los Angeles, USA

I drive the folks downtown. With Simon and Kasia aboard and everyone with a Starbucks in hand we drive to Pasadena and the Rose Bowl flea market. It is incredibly hot today, the baking sun heats up the Tarmac and we are soon all dehydrating. It doesn’t prevent us from enjoying rummaging amongst the treasures on sale, pointing out the weird and the wonderful. The Rose Bowl gates are open today so after a breakfast burrito we get to stand inside the famous stadium.

With the heat so intense we are soon craving the air conditioning that the car provides driving the short distance to the golf club. We enjoy a beer and lots of water in the clubhouse then Mum, Kasia and I watch the boys tee off before heading into Old Pasadena for an Italian lunch and a bottle of red.

We spend the afternoon shopping. Once we’ve exhausted the old town shops we head to the Americana Mall, a busy and rather glamorous shopping experience that boasts the campest water feature I have ever seen. Fountains dance around an oversized metallic gold Adonis.

The boys catch us up and we all dine together at a lovely Italian restaurant.

After dinner I jump in the car with Simon and Kasia, Joe takes mum and dad home. I’m glad I get to visit the downtown apartment once more before leaving tomorrow. We meet the others at Bodega wine bar in Santa Monica for a nightcap, Moses joins us and the staff make sure we all have a celebratory shot with them before we leave.

29th June – Santa Monica/Downtown, Los Angeles, California, USA

I have a terrible night’s sleep, I’ve been awake since 5am and now feel totally jet lagged.

Today I’m helping Eric. He has come to the end of his lease at his Santa Monican recording studio and needs help loading all of his equipment onto the hired van. We spend a few hours playing truck Tetris, attempting to fit all of is stuff into the cramped van space. Then we drive all of his stuff Downtown to his new studio in the hub of the fashion district. The studio is yet to be completed but the landlord has kindly agreed to store Eric’s belongings for a few weeks. I act as security guard downstairs while Eric and two helpful guys make numerous trips in the elevator to the eight floor. Job done.

Back in Santa Monica we make one more trip to the recording studio to load the rest of the equipment that Eric is going to set up temporarily in Joe’s garage basement. Eric leaves and I collapse exhausted on the sofa, not from hardwork but from extreme tiredness.

For helping today Eric treats me to dinner at Ashland Hill, a cool little restaurant on Main. I’ve learnt a lot today about recording tv jingles and very much look forward to seeing Eric in action when he starts working in Joe’s garage over the next few weeks.

We finish the night in true Santa Monican style with a nightcap at Bodega wine bar.

1st June- Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California, USA

Porridge and a fruit smoothie is followed by a Cholo walk and a bike ride for coffee at the Coffee Bean. I sit by the outdoor fire pit and get inspired researching for writing. I’ve arranged to meet Simon for lunch.

At home I make us wraps, they are massive with about a million ingredients. I cycle to Doves and Simon takes me into the shop next door that at 3pm sell off all their $4 homemade muffins for a dollar a piece. We sit on a bench in the park and eat our wraps and muffins, I have blueberry – it is lush.

After I cycle home I spend the evening writing. Eric picks me up at 8.30 and we drive around the block to Bodega listening to his latest music composition – it’s good, very Zero7ish. At Bodega we grab a table and chat about his Italian vacation waiting on Simon’s arrival to order food. It’s $20 a bottle of wine so Eric and I sink a bottle of red. Simon has to drive Downtown so refrains. We eat and chat until it’s time to go home.

25th May – Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California, USA

I walk to Swingers for a yummy fried egg sandwich, filled with bacon, avocado and tomato, served with breakfast potatoes – it is a big plate of food that I tell myself I’ll never eat, but of course do!

I make my way down to 3rd street promenade to top up my phone, then walk along Main to meet Simon for a coffee. I sit in Dogtown with my latte waiting for Si to break for lunch when I notice a familiar lady a few seats away. It takes a minute for the penny to drop but it is Alison Lockhart from The Affair, the to series Becky and I binged on back in Sydney. She’s eating soup and keeps catching me gawping. If she hadn’t been chatting on the phone I was going to tell her how much Becky and I loved both the series and that we were hoping there would be a third, and of course ask for a selfie, but alas she left still talking on her mobile. Embarrassing fan moment averted! Simon and I have a coffee and when he goes back to work I write on the patio.

When my coffee is done I stroll to the beach where I find a nice solitary spot and bask for a few hours in the sunshine writing some more. I’m so lucky to be on this beautiful beach watching the world go by with the Santa Monica pier funfair in the background.

When I’ve had enough sun I walk to the pier and then onto Equinox for a healthy smoothie from the gym’s cafe. The Equinox gym is full of fitties, and as an eager fit wannabe I decide to ask about membership in the hope that I’ll get a complimentary pass. What I wasn’t anticipating however was the job interview style one on one meeting with a membership officer. A tour of the four storey super gym completed I leave with my 3 day pass and vow to start yoga classes tomorrow.

I walk home and do some reading listening to Joe Djing in his office. When Simon finishes work he picks up Joe and I and we all have dinner at El Cholo’s restaurant just a few blocks away. cholo the dog was named after this place. I have a bowl of tortilla soup and Plato de carnitas (the waiter’s recommendation) roasted pork, avocado relish, escabeche onions and nopales. It is massive, but yet again I polish off the lot!

We finish the evening, in typical Joe and Simon style, at Bodega. The glasses of wine are huge. Simon leaves as he has to drive back Downtown. I sit and chat with Amar, a Bodega regular who hails from Mumbai via Manhattan and now LA. We talk Indian food. Filled with wine Joe and I walk home and I go straight to bed exhausted.