Lady P - February 2020
Greetings and salutations my ravishing readers!
I am honoured and thrilled to be the travel correspondent for the global phenomenon that is emmaheaven.com. My name is Lady Perdita Fitzwilliam Tudor-Croft, Perdy to friends, Ditsy D to family and Dirty Dita to my unsavoury exes, but you can all call me Lady P.
Darlings, some of you may recall that I ventured to Chichen Itza, Mexico a year or so ago, where one had an epiphany, declaring forthwith to become an archaeologist.
As I’m amongst friends here, I have to be totally honest and confess that I didn’t quite keep up that endeavour, despite ordering oodles of kit and caboodle courtesy of the bank of Mummy and Daddy...
However, one was able to right that ‘wrong’ in the most serendipitous of ways! And all thanks to those charming gals at #TeamHeaven, although there was a teeny bit of a misunderstanding to start off with. The conversation went something like this…
#TeamHeaven: “Lady P - we’re just calling to follow up with you about your next assignment. It’s about your ticket to Amman.”
Moi: “Oh darling girls. Hoorah! A ticket to a man. At last. My prayers have been answered. I must tell Mummy and Daddy to book the church and flowers at once. They’ve been searching high and low for a man for what seems like an eternity. And I will be able to say in all honesty, with hand on heart, that my match was made in heaven, by #TeamHeaven. What a hoot!”
TH: “Ahhh no Lady P. Not that kind of ‘a man’, but ‘Amman’.”
Moi: “Yes, yes. I heard you the first time. There’s nothing wrong with my hearing gals, especially when it comes to matters of the heart.”
TH: Sigh. “Darling ‘Dita - we know geography isn’t your strongest point, even though you are our roving travel correspondent.
Yes, yes, we know your ‘gifts’ lie elsewhere...Please. Go dust off your Lonely Planet collection; look up the Middle East edition; go to ‘Jordan’; Amman is the capital.
Found it? Good. From there, your latest adventure shall begin. We emailed you the details. Last week… Ahhh. Been ‘laid up’ have you?! Ok, say no more, we’ll leave it at that, and won’t probe any further...Just read the email, grab your toothbrush and passport. Look forward to getting your report. Ciao for now sweetie. Bon voyage, toodle pip etc etc. Mwah.”
A swift search of my overflowing inbox and I soon located the email in question.
My next assignment? The ancient city of Petra, in Jordan. Oh yes my ravishing readers, I, Lady P was about to go all Indiana Jones. Again!!!
Now where did I leave my bullwhip. I last had it in the wine cellar of all places. Please don’t ask. And I won’t have to lie....
To brush up on one’s knowledge before embarking on my mystical Jordanian journey, I revisited a trusty old friend for more info - Google.
While researching my trip to Petra I stumbled upon some video clips of a rather angry man from Manchester - Karl Pilkington - who was visiting the seven wonders of the world.
He claimed not to want to live in Al Khazneh (The Treasury), which is a rather fabulous looking building in Petra. Oh no. He would far rather live in the cave opposite, so that he could admire the beautiful architecture. So he wanted to sit in a hovel with a fabulous view, rather than sit in the fabulous building looking out at the hovel.
Well one’s mind boggled, and I have to say that the title of his programme is more than aptly named ‘An Idiot Abroad’. I mean who on earth would opt for a hovel and not a palace? Although is it that different to my beloved cousin Pippa, who sadly has fallen upon hard times, and has declared that she prefers living south of the river in London in Battersea, overlooking Chelsea, rather than live in Chelsea and overlook Battersea?! Hmmmm.
Each to their own I suppose, and not everyone has a trust fund or generous benefactor to bankroll their lifestyle choices. Poor Pips - perhaps I should do a charitable crowdfund thingummyjig for her, even if only to help with her lapsed Chelsea Harbour Club membership...
Meanwhile, back to Karl and his preference for a ‘man cave’ with a view. I seriously doubt he has tried performing a morning yoga ritual in such a confined space as a small cave.
Now I’m pretty flexible and accommodating, but I think such an uneven, unforgiving surface would play havoc with my downward dog pose. It’s hard enough to do at the best of times, and that’s even with generous support from behind, courtesy of my yoga instructor. He says that as I’m a newbie, I need ‘hands on’ tuition to cleanse my chakras, and help to ground and stabilise me. All I know is that I end up far more breathless and sweaty than I ever did doing hotpod yoga...
As for Karl and his cave, I swear the man is truly bordering on barmy!!! Having said that, he does seem to enjoy quite a high profile, famous even, so it might be prudent to find out if he is single and loaded?! Daddy’s already spitting feathers that none of us received the tip-off in time for me to attend that bankers’ and gazillionaire conference in Miami where my beloved ginger prince took to the stage.
Forget ‘Miami Vice’, it could’ve been ‘Miami Splice’! Now *THAT* would have been matchmaking heaven on earth. Sigh...
Anyway I digress. Back to my experience of Petra.
Petra, originally known to its inhabitants as Raqmu, is a historical and archaeological city in southern Jordan and has been inhabited as early as 7,000 BC. Petra is famous for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system. It’s also called the Rose City due to the colour of the stone out of which it’s carved. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. UNESCO has described it as “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage”.
I’d been advised that a two day visit was essential in order to explore and experience Petra properly - apparently a lot of walking would be involved, so one would need her trusty hiking boots, headscarf, SPF 50 to keep one’s porcelain skin protected, oversized designer sunglasses (Gucci dahhhlings) and LOTS of drinking water. Lady P at the ready, raring to go, Petra here I come!
First impressions were “gosh, it’s jolly hot”, especially after leaving behind the UK’s chilly climes. One would need to make many rest stops if one was going to explore the surroundings thoroughly and survive with a modicum of decency. Thankfully one’s tour guide was fully prepared with fans, along with a strong shoulder to lean on for when one felt weary. Which was often...
Petra is a collection of tombs, temples and ancient living spaces of the Nabatean civilisation and one was about to make a beeline for The Treasury - the tomb of a Nabatean king - however I would need to be patient as there was a long way to go before we reached it. Patience is not my greatest virtue, and I’m hard-pressed to think what is my greatest virtue at this particular juncture, unless spending and shopping for one’s Queen and country is considered to be one?!
There are many narrow walkways, through rock walls, and one was being entertained en route by the audio guide, recounting the history of Petra. I was so engrossed that I didn’t notice that our tour guide had stopped so that we could admire The Treasury.
I ploughed straight into him, taking us both off our feet, sprawled on the dusty floor in an unladylike heap, with a tangle of limbs entwined in the most compromising of positions! Gosh, we’d only been formally introduced a few hours ago, and had barely shaken hands, much less any other limbs...
Oh the shame and humiliation when people started to laugh and point, filming this unseemly spectacle and taking photos on their phones! Now I know I’m no stranger to a few little controversial photos or video clips on social media, however, that’s just amongst friends; my ‘Circle of Trust’. And one does have the loveable Ditsy Dita name to live up to.
Strangers laughing at my expense and being suggestive on the other hand is just simply not on. One had to phone Daddy immediately so his team could go to work on damage limitation! This debacle could seriously put off any potential suitors, potentially sending Daddy to an early grave, thus rendering one a spinster for the rest of her life.
My beloved ginger prince’s paramour has already had her share of critics about online shenanigans, and our family name has been besmirched enough over the centuries, without me adding fuel to the fire!
After we had untangled our flailing limbs (thankfully no bones broken) and dusted ourselves down, we resumed the tour, to witness the beauty and awe of The Treasury.
Alas I was still a tad flummoxed, and could think of nothing else but where could this gal get a fortifying drink? One needed a tipple to help restore one’s equilibrium, but not surprisingly there wasn’t a bar in sight.
Fortuitously, one still had one’s trusty hip flask in her bag from a previous expedition (so what if it was from a trip to the races?! In my defence it was bitingly cold...) As I sipped the velvety cognac, my discombobulation dissipated, with calm and elegance soon restored.
Thankfully drinking alcohol in Jordan is not forbidden. I told you I did my homework before each trip, although that’s mainly at Daddy’s insistence, as he says he cannot afford to bail me out of any more trouble, nor defend the indefensible. His patience is wearing as thin as his hairline...
Composure restored, I was able to appreciate the magnificence of The Treasury, which featured in the blockbuster film ‘Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade’, starring the seriously swoonworthy Harrison Ford. Now he is one dashingly handsome ‘solvent’ chap and ‘action man’ I wouldn’t kick out of my boudoir or tent!
Anyway I digress, yet again…
Apparently an Egyptian pharaoh once hid his treasure there - alas you are not allowed inside to sneak a peek, which is probably all for the best as one learnt that a recent excavation unearthed a graveyard! I’ve already had my fill of being surrounded by unearthly spirits, spooky old men and the living dead, not least from the times Daddy has his friends around for some fraternal club which was formed yonks ago, during their boarding school days.
They still talk about rituals and handshakes, not to mention their obsession with one rolled up trouser leg. And as to where the apron fits in?! Really! Cook tends to go ballistic when the laundry cupboard gets raided by the chaps who’ve left their aprons behind! You would think their sort would keep up with the fashion world, non? I can’t possibly imagine Karl Lagerfeld condoning any of this! Or maybe he would! He did like to push the boundaries of fashion and who knows, a half mast trouser leg and apron could yet become the next big thing.
Back to Petra - besides The Treasury, there is a Monastery and isolated mountain temple, a theatre and government buildings. I also saw Karl Pilkington’s cave which he raved about, and I can categorically say there is absolutely NO WAY would that be a better property to live in, let alone be able to accomodate my humble needs.
Architecture and archaeology aside, there were lots of marvellous market traders selling trinkets and souvenirs, and I stumbled upon the rather fabulous author, Marguerite van Geldermalsen, of ‘Married to A Beduoin’ fame, selling silver jewellery, not far from the cave in which she once lived with her Bedouin husband. Their story is a fascinating read, moreso for an incurable romantic like myself.
I stocked up on some rather fabulous pieces to add to my ever-growing jewellery collection; and hope springs eternal that one day, I shall have a suitor place a heavy-duty rock on my left hand!
There was also the aptly-named Indiana Jones gift shop, selling the most beautiful shamags (head scarves) which one was drawn to, like a moth to a flame. One’s arms were almost trailing down to one’s feet under the weight of all the bags. Thankfully our strapping tour guide came to this distressed damsel’s rescue.
My wistful romantic nature couldn’t resist draping one of the shamags around me, as I reminisced about one of my wonderful ancestors, the spectacular explorer, archaeologist and adventurer, Lady Hester Stanhope. By all accounts she left England after a ‘romantic disappointment’. I can’t imagine why I so strongly identify with her…
Head out of the clouds, and back down to earth...Shopping and sightseeing done, it was time to return to one’s hotel to devour some Jordanian delicacies. One indulged in some delightful falafel, maqluba, shawarma (a variation of a chicken ‘sandwich’), lightly roasted nuts (which one is quite partial to), washed down with some Bedouin beverages.
The coffee was so strong that I didn’t sleep a wink for the remainder of my trip. Thankfully I had our tour guide to keep me company while I tossed and turned; he was terribly concerned I may have been badly bruised from our earlier entanglement, so he insisted on regularly massaging my more tender parts. And some were more tender than others by the time I had to check in at the airport...
As I while away an hour or so in the airport lounge, my fingers are feverishly searching for belly dance classes in Blighty. I’m reliably informed that my ‘dance of the seven veils’ went down a storm at base camp the other evening, to the cries of “I can’t believe it - she’s a natural - look at those hips”. Video footage from the evening has already gone viral.
Daddy’s just WhatsApp’d to say that viewing figures have almost caught up with Shakira #HipsDontLie and J-Lo’s recent performance. Perhaps a new career beckons?! Just imagine what I could do with a bit of hands on tuition?!
Must dash. Daddy wants us to FaceTime. Although I never know what kind of mood he’ll be in. Maybe one more complimentary cocktail and then I’ll call him back. Oh no. I’ve been called for boarding. Daddy will just have to wait until I land...
*** Note to #TeamHeaven***
Thank you darling girls for helping me resurrect my archaeological ambitions. I’m all for excavating fossils and unearthing hidden treasures! And this trip didn’t disappoint.
Now that my ginger prince has retreated from public life, much as I would love him, whether a prince or a pauper, Daddy says I have to seriously reconsider my options, not least because the roof, stables and east wing are disintegrating at an alarming rate after the recent storms.
I can just about bring myself to say it, but I may have to ‘get a proper job’ and work for a living.
Daddy has made it abundantly clear I have to ‘do something’ to contribute to the family coffers. So if you have any little jobs which need doing, please do say the word. Party planning, clothes shopping etc. Am available anytime after midday, preferably finishing in time for cocktail hour.
Cheers sweeties. Mwah!
Tags: Lady P