Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sweet Home Alabama

Okay, okay I know I’m behind several weeks. Thank you to those of you who feel compelled to remind me that I have not updated the blog for some time. Take note, I’m writing! I decided that before I start the new job I should grab some down time and have a little holiday as once back in the big bad world of American working life the word “holiday” has little meaning. So Jay and I trekked down to Huntsville, AL to stay with mummy and Jerry for five days or so. It was wonderful even if every single mosquito in Alabama decided that my sweet English blood was to be their breakfast, lunch and supper for the entire duration of my sojourn. I do miss the bugless environment of Arizona! Anyway so Jay and I had five days of luxuriating in 80 plus degree weather, swimming every day and generally being very lazy. We did manage a day out at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens which I have to say far surpassed my expectations. They are truly excellent and equally rival many I’ve seen in Europe. They have a fabulous children’s garden that is just brilliant and one of the best water lily selections I’ve ever seen. We got talking to a woman who was one of the founders when they started the gardens in 1998, (I think) and she came out several times a week to work on the daylilies and hosters. She later revealed that she was 86! I would never have guessed it. Which goes to show how therapeutic gardening is. I knew the English had it right! I also got “dragged” along to mummy and Jerry’s favourite and much frequented antiques shop owned by the lovely and very darlings Mark and Leslie. Much to my bank account’s despair they were having a vast sale of paintings. I was very good though and bought only a small oil original by a local artist. It’s of strawberries in a blue and white Chinese dish and made me think instantly of English summers. I also happened to have just the space of my sitting room wall for it. Ma and Jerry acquired a rather impressive oil of a Conquistador that has been affectionately named Francisco. Jay decided he had a close enough appearance to that of a pirate and when I think about it, have to say that he’s probably spot on! So goodnights then included not only Mammy, Grandpa Jerry, ADATS (the golden retriever) but also Pirate. As I said, we managed to swim every afternoon which was heaven. The first day Jay was a bit dubious but quite enjoyed it and naturally by day five could swim brilliantly with his inflatable ring and blow quite impressive bubbles. Although his favourite water pastime still remains launching himself off the side into mummy’s arms. He is such a boy. I took him swimming at the local pool when we got back to Indiana at which he was totally unimpressed due to the fact that he was not allowed to wear his ring nor was he allowed to jump in. I think he reckoned there wasn’t much point in swimming after that. All in all my trip to the south was most enjoyable and as always just super to see mummy and Jerry. I love their house, my mum has the enviable ability to decorate and furnish a house so that it looks like something out of Homes and Gardens or Veranda, but manages to do it with such ease of hand and effortlessness it makes me want to come home and throw all my stuff out and start again! And Jerry is the perfect Southern host, cooking up a storm and making us feel hugely welcome even if they both are aghast at the sudden disaster zone of toys and legos everywhere and picked flowers when no-one is thought to be looking. My trip was only marred by the lengthy journey back which was fine until I reached Louisville, KY and then was stuck behind a police car all the way from Louisville to Indy. I don’t think I’ve ever driven the speed limit on that road – it was more than painful. Made only marginally less so by the rather dishy chap (definitely foreign) in the silver Mazda 3 who was positively aching to put his foot down on the gas and obviously as annoyed as I was. We were finally able to put our cars to the test on the Indy ring road, my speed held down only by the fact that I can’t risk another speeding ticket and that I had a horrible notion that his car was actually faster than mine. Though I refuse to believe that! Still at least it wasn’t an American made car – that would have been utterly shameful. Now Keith’s going to tell me that the Mazda is made in somewhere like Indiana or Michigan or somewhere equally prosaic. I know in another life I am supposed to be a racing driver. Perhaps I can do rally driving. But then I'd need a co-driver...Regardless I will do the Dakar race before I die, although the race itself is likely to kill me I'm sure...

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