travelogue has been transcribed from my diaries written at
the time. I have kept the entries largely unchanged in
order to capture the feel of the times.
1st October, 1978
new shores today. It started off not too well but by the
end we were well and truly ensconced in our home for the
next three weeks and had met some really nice, friendly
people. Neither of us could sleep and I seemed to wake up
every half-an-hour. In the end I got up at 5.30 a.m and
had a shower and , despite the jet lag, didn't feel too
tired. So shortly after, we went down to the hotel
restaurant for breakfast which was expensive.
that we booked out and waited for a bus to take us to the
airport. We were all loaded up and had just set off when
it broke down and we had to wait for a back-up vehicle.
Eventually we made it in plenty of time and checked in and
waited for the flight to Baltimore which was very
straightforward and only took just over half an hour. So
we were at the airport.
then took us half an hour to get change for the telephone
and telephone through to the Davenports. They told us to
go to the terminal and wait. So we went to where we
thought they meant and waited and waited and waited until
a message came through for me to cll the operator. I did
and got directions as to where the car was waiting.
we then met George and Betty and set off for their home
which turned out to be deep in the country, about 20 miles
from Baltimore. It turned out to be quite a large place in
10 acres of land. It was massive by our standards and
after a very nice dinner, spent the afternoon wandering
around the property and being shown where everything is.
as there was a party at 5 p.m we got ready and waited for
the people to come and it turned out to be tremendously
successful as we were kind of guests of honour and
everybody went out of their way to be friendly and I think
by the end of the evening we had about three invites out
to dinner and as many offers to take us out for trips.
Because of that we will now be going to Baltimore on
Friday and Washington on Saturday. We will also be going
to a race course sometime and Gettysburg on another
occasion. By the end of it all there shouldn't be much
time to spare at all. By the time everyone had gone it was
8.30 p.m and I was beginnng to feel very tired indeed with
everything catching up on me at last. So we have decided
to have a quiet restful day tomorrow. By the time we went
to bed it was very early at 9.15 p.m.
fairly restful day but once again we found how just how
friendly American people are. Surprisingly I was awake by
7.30 a.m and up at 8 a.m in time to have a shower before
quite a lavish breakfast. Afterwards we set out for a
guided tour of the neighbourhood with Betty. She took us
to her bank and the bank manager was so kind that not only
did he offer us any facility we wanted but also opened up
a closed compartment especially for us.
there we went to the post office and then a general store
and returned home for a short while before driving out to
meet another neighbour who hadn't been at the party last
night. Again she was very friendly. They really make you
feel welcome out here. Once back from that it was time for
dinner and then the afternoon was quiet.
and Betty were booked onto a flight at 8 p.m and so set
off for Washington Airport at 3.30 p.m and we were left
with the peace and quiet of the countryside and the fine
old house. We didn't do much else except go for a walk on
the property and then have tea and finally spent the
evening watching television which is a total mixture of
garbage - so many programmes to chose from but they all
have adverts every five minutes. Both being very tired we
went to bed at 8.30 p.m hoping to finally knock off the
jet lag this time around.
got used to driving an automatic car and also driving on
the right hand side of the road today. It wasn't a totally
enjoyable day but got better as the time went on. Up
fairly early and had a leisurely breakfast before seeing
to the dogs feed and then setting off.
onto the I83 Expressway which gave me the chance to get
used tot he car and then, after stopping at a tourist
information place, continued northwards into Pennsylvania.
We headed for a place called York which was the first
capital of the United States. Parked the car and had a
look round and was rather disappointed by it. We decided
to leave after half an hour but that wasn't as easy as it
sounded. We wanted to go to Lancaster and the Dutch
country but there were no signposts anywhere and we
started going round in circles and got more and more
frustrated. In the end we made our way to a shopping
centre and had a hamburger dinner at a Wendys. After that
did some food shopping and then asked a couple the way and
they led us to the right road and so we continued for what
turned out to be quite a long journey.
things that struck us are that there are no roundabouts
and the roads are far too pitted and narrow to take the
massive cars. We finally got into the Dutch town which is
an area inhabited by a religious sect who shun the outside
world but farm their own land and make large sums of money
so doing. It was a bit of a let down as we visited a farm
that seemed just the same as any other farm. In the end we
left and drove on and visited a number of small
communities with quaint shops, where we bought quite a few
souvenirs and presents.
5.30 p.m we decided it was time to set off for home and
the journey took one and a half hours. The speed limits
over here are strange. The top wack is 55 mph and most
roads are 40, 35, 30 or even 25. Makes England seem like a
race track. After arriving home Anne cooked a meal and
then we watched television for a while before going to bed
very tired again at just after 9 p.m.
day of taking things as they came mainly because of the
weather. It was a long rainy morning and we had a slow
breakfast and then decided to set out for Annapolis - the
capital of Maryland. It is on a river and supposed to be
picturesque. We had gone a few miles down the I83 when we
decided to shelve the plan because of the heavy rain.
we drove off to Timonium which turned out to be very much
like so many other towns - a long through road containing
a mess of shops and places to eat. We parked the car and
had a wander round and a cup of coffee at a doughnut
parlour. Then got some groceries and came home in time for
we decided to go for a short drive in the close locality.
The short drive turned out to be something like 150 miles.
We went into Maryland's heart trying to find a number of
places of interest. We failed to find a number because of
the appalling signposting and eventually ended up parking
in Frederick. Called into the information bureau there and
got the usual historical spiel. This place is steeped in
history. We then had a look round the few shops that exist
before driving into the country. Stopped at the Washington
National Park which was largely uninteresting and then
tried to find some underground caves but they were closed.
Then on to a battle field at Antietam before deciding to
start off for home which tok a long while.
got lost on a back road to Harpers Ferry and then finally
made the Expressway and had a long drive round Baltimore's
Beltway to the I83 which was very busy. By the time we got
home it was 8 p.m and I put the dogs away for the night
before having supper and then watching television before
going to bed nice and early again at 9.30 p.m.
day started very dull and misty which didn't matter too
much as we were planning on a quiet day with an invitation
out to dinner in the evening. So we had a leisurely
breakfast and dealt with the dogs. Then we gt a call from
another of the neighbours inviting to take us out on a
trip on Sunday week. She chatted for going on an hour
after which we decded it was time to go out to dinner.
we drove to Cockeysville to have a look round the outdoor
market and Anne found a Christmas shop which delighted
her. We then carried on down the road and found a pizza
place for a very substantial lunch. Had a good laugh there
with the waiter over our accents and whether we still
referred to America as our colonies. At 1.30 p.m we drove
back to Hereford and called in at the post office, drug
store and then got some petrol before coming home.
a leisurely two hours watching the baseball on television
and finding it as confusing as ever. At the end had a
shower and got ready to go out. There was another phone
call asking us out to supper again tomorrow night. The
people round here are so kind. We left home at 6.15 p.m to
go to the McDonnas. Got slightly lost trying to find them
but eventually managed to make our way there after asking
a couple of people. It was a pleasant evening spent eating
and chatting about America and England and we stayed until
10.15 p.m. Americans seem to go to bed fairly early and so
we set off for home. The journey wasn't pleasant as we hit
the middle of a storm with electric lightning and
torrential rain making driving conditions very very
difficult. I managed by keeping my speed down to get home
without trouble and we went straight to bed.
to venture into Baltimore by ourselves today because early
morning we got a call from the lady who had promised to
take us saying that she had hurt her back and couldn't
make it. So after a leisurely breakfast we got ready and
set out. We stared by going to see the lady just round the
corner who had invited us to supper. She showed us a map
of the city and we agreed to see her later in the day. We
then set off and, although I undertook the journey with
trepidation, it turned out to be fairly straightforward
although we had to park on the outskirts and walk quite a
way into the centre.
a strange place - a mixture of old and new, slums and
smart areas. We started by climbing up the 200 steps in
the Washington memorial and getting a view of the city.
Then it was into the shopping area and I had one piece of
luck in getting a Harry Chapin songbook - something I have
always failed to do in England. Then we had a general look
round the city and shops and had lunch at an inexpensive
McDonaldburgers. Then walked round in a circle and so back
to the car in an attempt to get out before rush hour. We
took a wrong turning trying to get to the Express Way. It
took quite a while to get on it but we finally made it and
arrived home just after 4 p.m. I then watched the baseball
game on television and I'm quite enjoying that as
something completely new.
the end myself and Anne had a shower and then we set off
for our evening dinner date just round the road. As we
went we noticed a strange white Pontiac car parked outside
the house but couldn't find anybody near it. When we got
to our destination the people were good enough to call
round and find out it belonged to a chap who apparently
had permission to exercise his dogs on the property.
that we spent a very pleasant evening and had a nice meal
and it culminated in looking at the son's collection of
over 1,000 beer cans which gave me the idea of doing some
articles on this holiday when I get back to England, after
all if the Belper News can carry national politics and
crappy hand out features I am sure it can also carry
Amercian travel stuff! We left quite late and by the time
we got home it was 10.30 p.m. We went straight to bed.
Unfortunately I think the isolation and size of the house
is upsetting Anne slightly. When we got home tonight we
found two lights on that shouldn't have been. I suppose we
left them on accidentally but it does seem rather spooky.
day in the country's capital of Washington and it's quite
a magnificent place. Got up at a fairly leisurely time and
had a shower and breakfast before seeing to the dogs and
then at 11 a.m we drove to a nearby farm where a horse
show was being held. It's a neighbour of the Davenports
who is 94 and a bit of a battle axe. It was a very boring
show and after having a snack we drove back and got ready
to leave at 12.15 p.m to meet Penny and Frank Grant at the
supermarket at the end of Mount Carmel Road. We were there
well on time and they drove us to Washington, a journey
that took about and hour and a half. We were there at just
after 2 p.m and we parted company and agreed to meet at 7
p.m. which gave us five hours to look at as much of
Washington as we could.
started at one end of the Mall with the Capitol Building
and then walked along the museums towards the massive
George Washington Memorial. The queue for that was too
long so we wandered through a number of museums, all of
which were very boring apart from the space one. By that
time it was getting on for 5.30 p.m and so we called at
the National Archives Building and then set off to walk to
the White House which was a long way and turned out to be
a little disappointing. By this time it was getting dark
and we were both tired. So much so that Anne started
moaning about walking back to the art centre where we were
being picked up. Nevertheless I didn't give in and we made
it exactly on time just as the Grants were coming.
then took us to a delightful part of the city called
Georgetown. It is the young people's sector with plenty of
hops and restaurants. In fact it's the closest to an
England shopping centre that we have found. We were
directed to a restaurant that sold crepes and had a meal
there. Rather unusual and rather expensive for a couple of
pancakes with filling in them. Nevertheless it was very
pleasant. At the end we set off for home and myself and
Anne fell asleep which helped the journey. Finally arrived
back and drove the short distance home and went straight
to bed feeling very tired.
day spent round Hereford but nevertheless by and large an
enjoyable one. Slept fairly late because of yesterday's
exertions. Got up at 9.45 a.m and made breakfast which we
ate in the bedroom. Then saw to the dogs and had
shower and got ready to go off to the local church.
Supposedly the service started at 11 a.m but when we got
there a few minutes early it was already underway. The
service was quite enjoyable until a lay preacher got up
for the sermon and became very boring. Of course at the
end everyone wanted to know who we were and what we did
etc. Finally got away and came home for an hour before
setting off for the old ladies for dinner.
must admit neither of us were particularly looking forward
to that but it turned out to be very pleasant. There was
another middle aged couple there who were extremely
friendly and nice people. So we had dinner and sat and
chatted until past 5 p.m when we left and came home with
yet another invite out to tea under our belts. Problems on
returning home when we found one of the dogs had been shut
in an inner room and the little bugger had ripped the lace
curtains, broken a decanter and chewed away the door. That
rather spoilt the day and we had to clear the mess up.
After that I put the dogs away for the night and then had
quite a full meal and a restful evening watching
television before going to bed relatively early again.
26th birthday and one spent just around the neighbourhood
getting ready to set off tomorrow on a long haul down to
Virginia to the mountain area. Got up at the usual time
and fixed breakfast and after that set up the dogs and
then when Anne got up we set off for six hours out.
started by driving almost as far as Baltimore to Towson
which is a town on the outskirts. It was quite enjoyable
because it was easy to park and there was quite a large
department store which was interesting. By the time we had
looked round there it was time for dinner. So we found a
cafe style place and I had a hamburger. Then from
there we set out on a drive round the countryside.
object was to find a place called Stevenson supposedly
full of quaint shops that turned out to be shut and it was
boring. So we continued along the road and stopped at a
larger modern centre which was much more fun. Then I took
a wrong turning and we ended up driving through the
countryside trying to find a way home.
driving seemed to be deteriorating because at one point I
hit the kerb and then at another turned round in the road
and drove for a while on the left without thinking.
Finally made it and had a quiet couple of hours reading
and watching television before getting ready and setting
off at 6.30 p.m to go to the steak and ale house at
Timonium. That provided quite an enjoyable evening. The
meal was good and there was plenty of it and I was given
my very own birthday cake and they all stood round and
sang happy birthday.
thing I have come to learn is that Americans eat earlier
than us. When we went in at 7 p.m the place was almost
full. When we came out at 9 p.m it was almost empty. At
the end we drove home and went straight to bed well before
10 p.m yet again.
of the nicest days of the holiday although it did contain
a little too much driving. In fact it was the first day of
a three day journey into Virginia. We had intended getting
an early start but delayed it to have a leisurely
breakfast and ready ourselves. Set off about 10 a.m and
had to drive round both the Baltimore and Washington
Beltways so there was plenty of traffic to handle.
then carried on and stopped for a short while at a nice
riverside place in Virginia. Then carried on to Mount
Vernon - the ancestral home of George Washington. Joined
the tourists in wandering around and of course I find that
kind of thing rather boring. Afterwards we got a quick
snack at the cafe nearby and then decided to drive on to
Richmond, stopping only at a tourist information centre to
get some leaflets. The object was to get to George and
Betty's eldest daughters and we arrived nice and early at
4.30 p.m. That started a super evening.
and her husband Bud were really nice people and they had
three young daughters including a darling two year old
named Anne Gordon. Taking into account the fact that the
family name is Goodykoontz and its a pretty strange family
for names. They made us feel really welcome and of course
brought the neighbours in to meet us.
at 7 p.m we were taken to the local tennis and sports club
for dinner which was very pleasant and they refused to
take any payment for it. Their hospitality was tremendous.
At about 9 p.m we returned to their house and spent the
rest of the evening watching baseball on television. In
the end it was almost midnight when I went to bed. We had
one of the children's rooms with twin beds. So ended a
really nice day and especially evening only spoiled
slightly by a headache during the evening, obviously
brought on by eye strain caused by too much driving.
was a little bit disjointed and for the second day running
we did over 200 miles of driving which as far as I'm
concerned is too much. I slept well in the single bed with
Anne in the other single bed and it was about 8.30 a.m
when we got up. Toodie prepared us a nice breakfast and
was full of kindness again and it was obviously with
slight mixed feelings that we left them after such
set off through the middle of Richmond which is like a
slum. We then made it onto the country road with the
intention of getting to Williamsburg for lunch. On the way
we stopped at the Berkeley Plantation which is one of the
most historic areas of ground in the United States. So it
was another history lesson. We stayed there for going on
an hour and then continued on the rest of the journey and
arrived in Williamsburg. It was a bit of a disaster really
as we started at an information centre which was crawling
with tourists. Then we drove into the historic area which
consisted of streets empty of cars, old colonial dress and
was all a con because you had to purchase a special ticket
to go in many shops. We decided to have dinner there and
went to quite a pleasant little garden place and the
colonial biscuits of ham and turkey with chips sounded
nice. It turned out to be two small rolls with crips and,
along with a drink, it cost some ridiculous amount such as
£4 for the two of us. That done we had a quick look round
and decided to head towards the Blue Ridge Mountains, well
over 100 miles away. Our target was Charlottsville where
Anne wanted to see Monticello, the home of Thomas
Jefferson which was quite picturesque but slightly boring
as it was another wander through a house. At the end we
drove into the town centre. There we found quite a nice
restaurant and had a filling meal before setting off to go
further towards the mountains before finding somewhere to
stay for the night. That's where it got frustrating.
found a holiday motel but it was full and then drove
aimlessly around until we finally found a motel near the
mountains. Not too expensive and quite nice especially as
I was beginning to get worked up. After getting to our
room, had a shower and then spent the evening watching the
baseball on television.
a few more sides of America today. The Washington life and
the traffic hold-ups. Got up at the ridiculously early
time of 7.30 a.m in order to set off on our return journey
home through the Blue Ridge Mountains and then Washington.
I wasn't feeling in a particularly jovial mood, setting
off so early and with 200 miles travelling ahead and no
skyline drive turned out to be very disappointing and not
of particular interest and we were quite glad to get down
onto the Expressway which left us with 100 miles to
Washington. On the way stopped at a diner for breakfast
and then drove to the Arlington Cemetery near Washington.
There we bought a bus rover ticket to take us into the
city centre and had a tour of the cemetery which included
the graves of John and Robert Kennedy. It's hard to think
that if President Kennedy was alive today he would have
visiting their graves we had a driven tour of the rest of
the cemetery and then caught the townmobile into the city
centre. We disembarked at the huge Washington monument
which we decided to go up and from the 500 foot we got a
fine view of the capital. Then we decided to have lunch
and found quite a nice grill place that was pleasant but
quite expensive. We had our meal and were about to leave
and I left only a small tip so the waiter who had
obviously been watching said "Excuse me sir but was
there something wrong with the service, only service
charge is not included". Cheeky sod. It strikes me
that there are two types of Americans. Firstly the country
folk who are warm and friendly and secondly the city
slickers who are out to con you.
that we had a look round a rather snobby department store
and then I got two more Harry Chapin piano books before it
was time to get the tourmobile back to Arlington. It was
rather a squeeze and we only just got on. Back at the
cemetery we picked up the car and that's where the fun
started. I found there was no way out except through the
middle of Washington and in rush hour at that. Perhaps one
of my greatest driving feats. I did very well until I took
a wrong turning well outside town and ended up going in
the wrong direction. It took ages to counteract that but
we finally made it to the Expressway only to be held up
later on the Baltimore Beltway. When we finally got home
it was 7 p.m. I was rather tired and was happy to relax
for the rest of the evening just watching television and
it was just a little over 9 p.m when we went to bed.
the least enjoyable day of the holiday although there
wasn't anything particularly wrong with it except I felt
very languid and had a headache, probably the result of
all that driving over the past few days.
was designed to be a day of rest and I stayed in bed until
9.30 a.m when I got up and had breakfast. Shortly
afterwards drove down to the supermarket to get some food
and then spent the rest of the morning sitting in the
garden as it was an extremely hot day. Had a small lunch
and felt so tired afterwards that I fell asleep until 2.45
p.m when we decided to drive to Timonium for a craft fair.
It turned out to be rather dull and, apart from a watch
strap, we didn't buy anything and didn't stay there long
before returning and spending the rest of the day doing
very little. Had a decent sized tea and then spent the
evening watching television before going to bed at 10 p.m.
a really nice day showing once again just how friendly the
people are out here in the country. For the first time we
overslept slightly but it didn't matter because we were
still awake at 9 a.m. At least I felt as though I had more
energy than yesterday and, after having a shower, I got
ready and saw to the dogs and was rearing to go. Luckily I
didn't have any driving ahead of me as the Davenports'
daughter Julie offered to take us to Annapolis - a harbour
village which is the capital of Maryland.
set off with her at 10.30 a.m and, despite getting
slightly lost, reached our destination fairly quickly.
Annapolis turned out to be a very pleasant place of charm
and character and we had a good wander round before
stopping at a nice restaurant for lunch and then leaving
shortly afterwards. Julie drove us into Baltimore and
completed our tour of that city by taking us to the inner
harbour area. Quite pleasant and we were able to clamber
aboard an historic ship - The Constellation. After that
stopped at a soda shop for some refreshments and then came
home to do a very quick change before going out for yet
another meal at a nearby residence. This time to the farm
of Bee Lee. Quite a remarkable woman, she has twice
recovered from cancer and has a huge farm. There we met
her daughter and brother in law and grandchildren and had
a very nice and very English meal of roast beef. We took
two cars to that and so at the end we drove home under our
own steam at just past 9 p.m and went to bed to read and
rest up for another long day of sightseeing tomorrow.
really nice day and probably the nicest of the holiday so
far. I am sure when we go home we are going to miss the
friendship and kindness of the people around here. Got up
at just after 8 a.m as we had a fairly early start
planned. After seeing to the dogs and having breakfast we
set out to drive to the Fishers who were taking us to
Gettysburg for the day. It was just a matter of 50 yards
up the road. When we got there they had a couple of
presents for us - a set of miniature flags and a full size
Maryland flag. Shortly after arriving we set off for
Gettysburg and the journey took a little over an hour.
there we had a walking tour and then a driving tour of the
battlefield which is quite massive. In fact far from being
boring, it was highly enjoyable and we got steeped in
American history. The day included clambering over rocks,
hiking up towers, looking round gift shops and eating ice
creams. At lunch time we had a hamburger dinner and then
finally left the site at about 4 p.m. Drove homewards for
the next part of the day's entertainment.
consisted of a very nice meal and a highly enjoyable
evening playing games. They have a very nice house
including what so many American country houses have in a
downstairs basement type area perfect for a den or games
room. In fact theirs included a pool table and table
tennis table and during the evening we played both. Added
to that there was plenty of drink and television to watch
and at 10.30 p.m Anne decided it was time to leave,
although I could have stayed much longer. We have arranged
to pay them a return visit on Wednesday night before we
leave for New York on Thursday. After coming home we went
straight to bed.
nice leisurely day spent visiting one or two people. It
really feels now as though we are on the run down towards
leaving for home. It will be nice to get home but in many
ways it will be sad. Had a lay in before getting up and
having a shower and then getting breakfast and then
watching television for a while before leaving at near
midday to go to Timonium with the idea of visiting the
large department store there.
found it quite easily and had a look round and then drove
to Shakeys pizza house for another full meal which was
over by 2 p.m. So we drove back to Hereford and decided to
visit Lydia for two reasons. Firstly to ask her to take us
to Baltimore Airport on Thursday and secondly to take a
picture of her sons' beer can collection for my proposed
articles. As usual it was difficult to get away from there
as they tried to ply us with food and drink. Finally we
got off and set out for our next port of call which was
afternoon tea with the Grants. They had phoned up just
before we left this morning.
found their charming old farmhouse in the country without
trouble and stayed for over an hour chatting away. By the
time we left it had started to rain quite heavily and so
we came home with the intention of having a quiet evening
watching television and doing very little. In fact I felt
very restless although it was just after 9 p.m when we
went to bed to read.
final day in Washngton today making it three visits in
all. This time I made no attempt to drive into the middle
as we decided to stop at a railway station on the beltway
and get in that way. So we were up at 8.30 a.m and after
breakfast and seeing to the dogs we set off. The traffic
was fairly light and we got through Baltimore and onto the
Washington Beltway in good time. Found the Amtrak station
and got a very slow train into Washington.
was costly and took too long because there was only one
track in operation. Makes British Rail seem passable. We
finally arrived and walked through to the art centre and
had an early lunch at 11.45 a.m before having a quick look
round the art exhibition which I found quite interesting.
From there we waltzed around a number of the museums and
got the bag I was carrying searched at each one. Then from
there it was onto the shopping area and I bought two Rod
McKuen albums for just over £1. Then we had a drink in a
coffee shop before having a look through a large fashion
store before setting off to get back. We took the metro
back to the mainline station. We were luckily just in time
to get the train back to the Beltway station. Throughout
the 23 minute journey Anne was worried that it wasn't
going to stop. It did and we made it to the car.
the problems started again. I found the road I wanted to
go on closed, no detours, no signs and of course I lost my
way twice. When it comes to helping motorists with
indications, the country is in the dark ages. It took
quite a while to get back on course but we finally did it.
Battled through the traffic and got back to Hereford at
just after 6 p.m. Had tea and then spent a quiet evening
watching the baseball on television. In fact I went to bed
after that was over.
evening summed up a great holiday. It was spent with Bud
and Mary-Lou who showed all the kindness, interest and
honest friendship that has gone with our trip to Maryland.
By the end I was really sorry at the thought of leaving
Mount Carmel Road tomorrow.
was largely a day of trying to visit people, although we
were not 100% successful as both Mrs Boyce and Mrs Lee
were out. Got up fairly late at 10.30 a.m and after a
shower fixed breakfast and saw to the dogs. Spent a very
quiet morning doing one or two chores and then had an
early lunch. Afterwards had a rest before going to the
bank to change our remaining travellers cheques and to do
a little shopping. Then on finding Mrs Lee out we went to
see Lydia to finalise details for her taking us to the
stayed there for well over an hour. Then it was time for
our next port of all after a short return home. This time
to see Charles and Pat Rhine. Once again a massive and
beautiful home tucked away in the countryside. They made
us truly welcome and we stayed with them until just after
7 p.m when it was time to set off for our last visit of
was glad to be able to spend our last night with Bud and
Mary-Lou as they are such great people. The evening was
spent eating, drinking, playing table tennis and pool and
as it continued I began to feel sadder and sadder at the
thought of leaving the area. All good things must come to
an end and we left at about midnight having had a rather
splendid piano recital from Mary-Lou. I think the main
thing this holiday has done is to re-affirm my belief in
humanity after I had lost it working for Raymonds. By the
time we got back and to bed it was approaching 1 a.m.
effect the last full day of the holiday which is sad. At
least it brought the experience of being in New York which
is a tremendously unique city. I wasn't looking forward to
the day's travelling but it didn't turn out too bad after
all, although there was nowhere to leave the cases at the
feel too hot when I woke up but felt better after having a
shower and breakfast. Saw to the dogs for the last time
and then waited for Lydia to pick us up to take us to the
airport. She arrived at 10.15 a.m and an hour later we had
checked in and were waiting in the departure lounge of the
12.14 p.m to New York. It left practically on time and
again the trip took about 40 minutes and we were in New
York by 1 p.m. After picking up the cases we took the
airport bus to the Laker Terminal in an attempt to get rid
of some of the baggage. Found that to be impossible and so
had to cart them round with us.
then got a combination of bus and train to downtown
Manhattan and 42nd Street. It was rather silly because on
the bus to the rail terminal there were just three of us
and on the train just two. So we chatted to a real live
New York cop equipped with gun and we finally reached 42nd
Street. Our hotel was on 44th street so we staggered the
two blocks and were lucky to find our room had been booked
and was ready for us. A rather decrepit hotel it was
nonetheless adequate. We stopped briefly at our room to
drop off the luggage and make a quick change before
setting off to look at some of the shops on Fifth Avenue.
York is like nowhere on earth with massive skyscrapers
dominating the skyline. Unlike all the TV serials and
books it doesn't seem to be a city full of violence and
there were masses of people walking about. Obviously there
are seedy districts just like in any other major city.
Firstly we had a look round the Guinness Book of Records
exhibition centre and then took an elevator to the top of
the Empire State Building. Unfortunately cloudy conditions
made a rather hazy view. But we didn't stay long and
returned to browse through some more stores. Then we
decided to have a meal.
had heard a lot about the Rainbow Room at the top of a
skyscraper but when we got there we were refused admission
because I didn't have a jacket or tie. So silently
sticking up two fingers we went to the 666 building
which also has a restaurant at the top of a skyscraper.
This time we were able to get in and had quite a pleasant
but extremely expensive meal which was made worthwhile by
the view of New York as all the lights came on giving it a
fairy tale appearance. We had a leisurely meal and then,
on the way back to the hotel, stopped at a cathedral and
another department store. Arrive back at 8 p.m and shortly
after went to the hotel bar for a drink before returning
to our room to bed down for the evening.
first of two days which threaten to run into each other as
we wind down for the return to Britain. It was not a very
pleasant night's rest because the room was so hot and
stuffy and neither of us could sleep and so we were glad
when morning came and we got up fairly early in order to
have breakfast and a walkabout before setting off on a
conducted sightseeing tour.
we walked to a coffee place and had breakfast and then had
a general walk around and a quick visit to the UN building
before picking up the sightseeing coach for a four and a
half hour tour. The tour was extremely good and without a
doubt the best way to see the city. It took in all the
areas from Harlem and Chinatown to Broadway and Fifth
Avenue. A tremendous place of contrast with the rough and
smooth, rich and poor all clustered just a few blocks
away. Stops included a visit to a two-thirds completed
cathedral which is the largest in the world, opposite the
Statue of Liberty, and Chinatown. In many ways New York is
a classy place but in others a disturbing one that
underlines many of the things wrong with our world. In the
end it provided a very interesting look into the life of a
we arrived back at the starting point in Times Square at
about 2.45 which gave us plenty of time before the airport
limousine left from the hotel at 5.40 p.m. So we filled in
the time by getting a quick snack and then walking round
before returning to the hotel well in time to be whisked
away to JFK Airport. We found out earlier in the day that
the flight would be delayed from its schedule of 7.15 to
11.30 p.m. It was as if we were in a hurry, however,
because the driver went like a maniac. He switched lanes
and never seemed bothered about whether he was in the
right one after overtaking. Eventually and rather
surprisingly we arrived in one piece.
checking in we received food vouchers for three dollars
and spent those in the cafeteria before buying some duty
free goods and then entering the departure lounge for the
long wait. In fact it took until 11.15 p.m before we got
on the plane and it was just before midnight when we took
off and so Friday 20th October merged into Saturday 21st