Monday, April 20, 2009


Oh boy, I just love America. Despite the fact you all talk pretty weird, drive recklessly and completely shamelessly on the wrong (listen to me here, it's downright dangerous) side of the road, and also have surely got to have got the most crappiest and banal TV ever to grace the airways - well, despite all of that, it still has so, sooooooooo much going for it, not in the least of which is the very real, sincere and generous hospitality that you guys are famous for.

So where were all the car-jackings, drive-by shootings and pan-handlers the "True-crime" channel promised, eh? You know, the kids all clubbed together before I left to buy me a bullet-proof leaving vest; proper disappointed they were to have it returned back, as new.

Oh, and yeah - hey c'mon, I'm a Brit - we're not used to folk smiling at us in the street. (The dour Scot in me questions if you all aren't on the happy pills?) Shop assistants and waitresses not only make eye contact, they actually give you what you ask for, and sometimes, just for the sheer hell of it, they even look happy about it. (Maybe it's something in the water?)

Thought it was supposed to rain in Seattle? All I got was sunshine and blue skies. Oh and my God, your food - I simply gorged, I'VE DISCOVERED MEXICAN (no, not the take-out variety, the proper home-cooked stuff) it beats my porridge any day! My hosts laid on a veritable feast over Easter, we all converged at the farm in Oregon to where a real fine time was had by one and all. Here they are, say "Hi"!

A finer bunch you have yet to meet. Christina (seen stood strangling Max, the dog) and her fiancee, Jason (bravely attempting to restrain her from behind) are hoping to visit London in a year or so's time, I sure do hope to see them again when they do. Her Gran, Sharon, is in the centre, she is the one who was responsible for hosting our get-together - she works as a nurse, and Christina, well she teaches children with special needs.. These are good people, honest and true. My friend Mary is the one kneeling down with Teddy, the little Dachshund hanging from her arm.

True to form, I did have a little mishap at the airport, but they let me in eventually (I refuse to go into the detail for fear of proving how dumb I am - end of.) Frazzled and late, I finally met a very understanding Mary whose first act of mercy was to turn me out loose for a much needed nicotine hit. It was pure joyl all the way from there on out. I can honestly say time simply flew, I've had the time of my life.

Aww, God bless America, eh?


So here I am back in old Blighty again, and certainly all the better for having had my little adventure. After almost two weeks of not having to so much as watch the clock, never mind think about what to serve up for the masses to eat, I am only now just slowly getting back into the daily routine again.

It sure was good to do a runner - much as I love my family, what is it they say about absence making the heart grow fonder?

It's good to be missed.



Marty said...

Glad to see you had fun Shrinky! Missed you...

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! (I love Mexican food, as well.)

SJ said...

Yes those two things the variety of cuisines and the friendliness of the people are the two things that I remember about my US visit.

Ditto the wrong side of the road. You would have thought that after all this many years that they might have learned.

Also they seem to have too many jokes on their regional differences. I dunno but they all sound/look the same to me. :)

Glad to have you back at the blogs more so considering I have been rather lazy myself.

TheWritersPorch said...

Well now had a great time in the far North West of America. You should come see me in the Deep South of America and you can have a grand time discovering
Southern and Cajun Crusine!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

So great to have you back! Fun to see America through your eyes...thanks for the glimpse! Cheers! ~Janine XO

Lover of Life said...

So glad you enjoyed our little country. Come back soon!

Akelamalu said...

Sorry I just can't accept it. You are so not getting away with not telling us what happened at the airport! You were arrested weren't you? Come on fess up!

Glad to have you back - more pictures please. :)

Suldog said...

Welcome back to Blogland. If I had known what time you were flying east, I would have stood outside of my home in Massachusetts and waved at you flying by overhead :-)

So, you don't like our TV? Can't say that I blame you, for the most part. Heck, one viewing of WIFE SWAP is enough to last anyone a lifetime.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

I'm with Jim on this one...I so adore British T.V. It's even worth the nasty cost of a T.V. license ...(Is that still a requirement in GB?) Thank you so much for your visit, and kind comments!!!! I think YOU are beautiful! I always wanted to be a blond...and your long locks are every little girls' dream!!! So wonderful to have you back!!! You've been thoroughly missed! ~Janine XO

Lola said...

Welcome back! Did you gain weight in USA? I would climb down the airplane stairs upon touching down at JFK, and already be 2lbs overweight. But that Mexican food is too good to be true...

Anonymous said...

Welcome back to blogland. (hugs)
Visiting a real farm, eating Mexican and picking up phrases like "Yee-Haw"? (chuckle) I think you're turning American.

All the crime takes place in my city. Just this past weekend we've had our 6th MURDER since January.

~Babs said...

Experiencing America. How fun that must be!
Mexican is my #1 all time favorite food. When I come to check out your area I will make you some.
Don't I just wish I were coming to your area! I AM glad you found it pleasant here,,,,,for the most part we're a friendly Yee-Haw kinda bunch!
Glad you're back,,,,

*Goddess* said...

"also have surely got to have got the most crappiest and banal TV ever to grace the airways "

They got you hooked on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, didn't they?!

PRH....... said...

Not to worry about the rain in Seattle Shrinky...we had it all in the Midwest, it will be their turn soon.

Glad you had a great time.

Hilary said...

Glad to hear that you had a great time and looking forward to hearing more about your adventure. Maybe one day, Canada will call your name. :)

Scott from Oregon said...

The food in california is even better, silly. "Cause we grow most of it in the valley...

You were in Oregon? Cough cough...

I thought I detected a ripple in the breeze...

Alex L said...

So do you plan to escape again at some stage?

i beati said...

Seattle is a pretty pretty place so is where I live in Florida. the diversity of geography is special in America,but oh are you ever right about the tv hahahahSandy

Jay said...

So pleased they let you in and you had fun! Pleased to see you back home, too!

I love America too. I have some good friends over there thanks to the internet and we go quite often! :)

San said...

Wow, Shrinky--you've been in the U.S. of A.??? Seattle. A dear friend of mine recently re-located there from Santa Fe. I keep meaning to visit her. No, I've never been.

So you've discovered good Mexican food! Wait until you return, only next time visit New Mexico. Northern New Mexico cooking is in its own category. Delectable.

Cath said...

Well, despite my lateness, *ahem*, please be assured that you were missed. Very much. Glad you had a good time though. :) Sounds idyllic with great folks.

Btw, while you were away, I had to go private on the blog. I'll resend the invite - but the blog list or google reader does not update when it's a private blog so it looks like I haven't posted for weeks when I have. I am considering my next move because I don;'t want to be private forever, but I don't want to lose touch with you all so please pop over from time to time. xo

Marypoppins said...

Pleased to hear you liked the Northwest. I'm glad "we" presented our bounty well and showed good manners!

Shrinky said...

I had a blast Marty!

And who could blame you Michael? Grin.

Hi sj, I also couldn't believe how cheap the food was - wow - I'd be weighing in at 500lbs if I lived over there.

Oh Carol, I have to say that is an offer very tempting to accept!

Hi Janinne, oh yes, you have a country to be very proud of, I have fallen in love with the place.

The diet starts today Lola (sigh).

Lover of life,I have every intentions of coming back soon, watch this space!

Akelamalu, ha! My lips are sealed (wink).

Jim, much as it pains me to admit to it, we have our own Brit version of Wife Swap too. Sigh..

Haha! Carol, I always wanted to be a blond too, that's why I dye my hair (giggle). Yes, the TV licence fee is alive and well I am afraid, but at least the BBC doesn't run any Ad's, it helps a little I guess.

Chewy, SIXTH MURDER THIS YEAR?? Blimey girl, you go easy and take good care of yourself over there, you hear? ((x))

Bab's, gee girl, with cooking promises like that I'd happily even SEND you on your flight ticket - climb on board!

Goddess, I was completely HOOKED on court tv (we're not allowed to even report on on-going cases, never mind film them).

Hi Pat, ah, the rain waited at home to welcome me back hon, never fear! (Pout.)

Hi Hilary, my sister almost married a Canadian, she tells me she fell more in love with your country than with him - smile.

Hi Scott, hey, I plan on revisiting soon, how about it, you up for a meet? Cool!

Oh yes Alex, I have every intentions of doing just that, and soon too..

Hi Sandy, I guess you are right, the landscape changed dramatically just with the four hour drive from Seattle to Oregan - all good.

That's fun to hear Jay, that's how Mary and I first met too! Which parts do you visit?

San, your country is so vast, mine would fit into a tiny pocket of it. One day I may very will visit New Mexico, I have a very long "to-do" bucket list (smile).

It was, Cath. Sorry you are still having troubles hon, and thanks for the invite, it's much appreciated.

Actually Marypoppins, I was very struck at how good mannered you guys are, it left a great impression.

Anonymous said...

okay, the driving in England was the craziest ever! Ever...

Really, you think we drive crazy here? :)

LOVE Mexican food. But, beware the bad places abound.

Anna said...

I didn't even know you were gone. Well glad to have you back, nice photos too Shrinky. Anna :)

david mcmahon said...

We, your loyal readers, demand to be told what happened at the airport!

(sign petition here) .....

David McMahon

Robin said... absolutely not.

i have waited over TWO WEEKS to hear the mishaps of this trip. i won't be denied.

stop winking and start typing. please. have i told you lately how beautiful you are?

i have no idea of who these happy, smiling and courteous people are of which you wrote.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

WE talk funny? Honey, buy a tape recorder, talk into it, and listen!:)Thank you sincerely for the compliments. It isn't real often anymore an American gets to meet anybody that doesn't hate the ground we walk on.

Had you worn that bullet proof vest to would understand why they are a needed item in America.

I've always wanted to see London, but y'all drive like maniacs on the wrong side of the road, you have those cars that have those funny horns that sound like they were made by a toy company, it rains all the time over there.....who the hell would want to endure all that?

At least one darn nice person can ber found!!! Hugs, and welcome home! Don't eat too much Mexican at the same time you drink beers. It makes your back side sound funny.:)

Oh - and NEVER smile in an American airport. Those bleeps have given their lifetimes to make us as miserable as possible, and to see a happy person pisses them off to no end!!

jinksy said...

The airport story sounds like a must have... xxx

Ian said...

I love America too and they seem to love us. It's a mutual love-in!

On my first rip to the States I was sitting in a bar and a lady overheard my English accent. She went outside and fetched her daughter, then turned to me and said, "Now say something in English."

Mojo said...

I've read one or two of your airport sagas, and if even you won't fess up to this one it's gotta be a good one. C'mon girl, dish!

As to driving on the left, do you know how that practice originated? Seems to me that here in the USA we don't need to promote random violence any more than we already do.

And your next trip, you really must come south. White sandy beaches, purple mountains majesty (not to many fruited plains though) and all the hospitality you can stand (and probably a bit more sometimes).

And I'm hardly surprised you fell in love with the food. As wonderful as the people might be in the UK, the native cuisine is... well... there's no polite way to put this... it's wretched.

Mojo said...

Oh damn. I forgot to congratulate you on your POTD nod. So congrats! Well earned!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Congrats on your POTD! A great way to welcome you home!!!! ~Janine XO

ellen abbott said...

Yee-haw? I expected you to be in Texas. Mexican is good, Tex-Mex is better. Glad you enjoyed your visit.

Jewels said...

Americans ARE crazy drivers. The grand US of A is only a stones throw away from where I am in Southern Ontario, Canada, but the difference is immediate as soon as you cross the border. In Michigan, the posted speed limit is only a suggestion! lol. They're fearless.

Great Post!

Pouty Lips said...

First things first, Shrinky - half of Americans are on happy pills. Secondly, all the pan handlers live in the warm climates without rain. Who wants to stand on a street corner with their hat out in the pouring rain? Thirdly, what is it with you and airport mishaps? I beg you to post about it.

Cheffie-Mom said...

Congrats on the Post of the Day Award from Authorblog! Yee-Haw!

Maggie May said...

Been to America? Great!
Welcome back! Great post!

Kirti said...

I like your writing style...sounds like you're talking to me and so funny! Congrats on your POTD mention!

Carolynn said...

As a Canadian, my allegiance is meant to be closer to our British roots, however, with our neighbours to the south so close and all, I have taken quite a shine to them. Glad to hear you had a good time way over here across the big blue ocean.

Congratulations on making the POTD on Authorblog.

Fellow Runner-up

Shrinky said...

Things we carried, yes! The driving was mad - no one stays in the same lane for more than a few seconds, it was like driving the dodgems..

Thanks Anna, I have tons of photo's left to process, I'll get there eventually.

All in good time, David (grin).

Aw robin, you are such a sweet-talker, you! (Hugs) Seriously, I've never met so many friendly folk, it was quite a culture shock, believe me!

Hey Dan, it was so funny watching people do a double take when I opened my mouth, I felt kind of freakish at times, but it was lovely to discover us Brits are so welcome over there. I have to confess my friend did throw her hands up in dispair when we were out and about, apparently I have no radar for danger (giggle), advertise my wallet, and generally am a walking advertisement to be mugged. I just think she's paranoid..

Jinksy, ah, I'm sure I'll fess up and confess to it in time!

Hi Ian, oh isn't it funny to feel like a performing seal? I got a little shy of talking to strangers, their reactions were always positive, but the attention was a little embarrassing..

Hi Mojo, yeah, I guess ANY cuisine has to be an improvement on our regular plain fare, though thankfully we have now at least imported a fair amount of continental dishes to our menu. Apparently curry is now our most popular dish! Ah, don't tempt me to return, for two pins I'd pack my case and jump on a plane back. In my single days I travelled the world - I don't recall ever feeling so at home anywhere else.

Hello Jannine, it certainly is a wonderful welcome home to have all my friends in here to return to. Smile.

Hi Ellen, hey, to us Brits all you guys sound the same - from Texas to Seattle, there's no difference whatsoever!

Jewels, tell me about it! The ride from the airport was an education unto itself. I was very happy to be a back seat driver for the duration of my stay (though I still kept stamping on the imaginary brake).

Hey Pouty, oopsie - I think you make a good point point or two there.. giggle. The airport fiasco will have to wait for another day, but soon, I promise.

Cheers Cheffie-mum!

Hi Maggie, sure have, it was something to behold.

Hello Kirti, how lovely to see you in here, and thank you for your kind word of encouragement, it means a lot!

Hello Carolynn, thanks for stopping by, and many congrats on receiving a mention in post of the day, too! Yeah, I agree, there is definitely something worth knowing about those Yanks over there, huh?