We have a day in Seattle. We skip breakfast and go early’ish into the city. We had been told about Pike Street and there is a market selling all good things to eat – best cheese, wine, cold meats, bread etc. We sat for breakfast in a small red Parisian- type café, and after about half an hour I asked if we could order. The server looked annoyed but let us order. Another half an hour passed with no sign of the simple breakfast we had asked for. So I asked again as our short day in Seattle was passing us by. She looked annoyed again and said ‘this isn’t that sort DSC_0035_2of hurrying place’ as if we thought we were in McDonalds, and after that refused to even smile grimly. I thought that after an hour’s waiting and no sign of even a coffee, we weren’t exactly hurrying her. But we then waited another ten minutes like the well- brought- up English people we are and at last were served. It was worth the wait – not that long, but half an hour would have been fine. Then we plunged into the market and bought all sorts of last minute presents – things that could be rolled into tiny bundles although we were going to have to buy a new suitcase anyway. Then we bought some of that nice food to eat for supper. By the time we got back it was four pm and we spent the next few hours trying to get our suitcases to the correct weight –all were over so we left some books and some clothes and some lotions etc. etc. etc… We have been leaving things in the last few hotels so I hope they have gone to people who could enjoy them.

After all this travelling and all the people we have met – old friends and new ones, it seems a strangely quiet way to leave America. We sort of slip out the back door while no-one is watching, on a plane to New York and from there to London, where we are met early in the morning by Barney. Looking through the tour photos we are again amazed by this country, by the beauty of Oregon, Santa Fe and Sedona, the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert, the Grand Canyon and, of course, my own particular passions – the freight trains and plants. Then the weather, torrential rain, flooding, tornadoes, dust storms, torrid heat and finally the Las Vegas experience.

It is good to be back but now the organisation of the autumn UK tour begins and I think that this tour, by comparison, will be a pretty tame affair.