Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Wednesday writing - what I got up to in the States

I'm back from my 12 days in The States! And boy did I experience US weather from sultry hot days in South Carolina (well, sultry for UK people like me who have had the wettest summer for 100 years! My friends found it quite cool), to stunningly autumnal (sorry, FALL!) leaves in Cincinnati (I love this picture of my friend Tatum!) to flying out just ahead of a hurricane in New Jersey!! If I had left it one day later I would still be stranded there………

The trip was busy from beginning to end. In South Carolina I visited cotton fields (see left), swamps, plantations, colonial towns and Fort Sumter (below). This latter was terrific as I had visited Gettysburg on a previous visit so it was great to do the beginning as well as the end of the Civil War! I was very amused by the man giving a presentation in the Provost Museum in Charleston who said that the 250 or so British soldiers who deserted at the end of the War of Independence were ‘warmly welcomed by the ladies of South Carolina!’

In Cincinnati I seem to have had a gastronomic extravaganza as we went to the Cheesecake Factory where I had a chicken salad which was four times as much as I would have served myself at home (and I am NOT exaggerating for once!), a cupcake shop, and an ice cream parlour where I had a black raspberry chip ice cream (yum!). (Actually the whole trip was food orientated as I was served biscuits and pork gravy in S.C – which seemed very much like our dumplings only with a crust – and pumpkin pie in N.J!)

Food aside, I did visit fountains and markets and lots of shops in Cincinnati as well as the magnificent art nouveau Union Terminal which was something straight out of an episode of ‘Poirot’ the British TV series which has been running for years!

Moving onto NJ (where I stayed with an old friend who would have killed me if I had gone to stay with just my new writer friends in the States and not visited her!) we went to the amazing Fonthill Castle in PA which looked just like a castle for hobbits with higgledy piggledy rooms, corridors and staircases! Add to this the ghost hunting trip we went on and watching some pumpkin carving you could tell the time of year I was visiting!!

I had a terrific time getting to know my two writer friends, Angela Wray and Tatum Throne who I was meeting in the flesh for the first time. It's one thing to get to know someone over email, and quite another to meet them in real life. I wonder if I was what they were expecting? (We'll see if I get invited back or not!). (And why are they both so short - I'm really quite small myself!!!)

I had a laugh when I emailed Tatum to say that I could quite get used to being called 'Miz Jen' and 'Mam' as Angela's kids called me. The southern gentility was quite wonderful. Her response was that they are a grouchy lot in the north! *sigh* it was nice while it lasted. What was amusing was the amount of people who told me how much they liked my accent, even down to one waiter saying 'cheerio' as I left the restaurant!

On the bad side I got an infected insect bite in South Carolina which spread to 10ins x 7ins and I thought I was going to have blood poisoning and have my leg cut off! Thankfully I arrived home with all limbs intact and my thoughts go out to all those I left behind now experiencing the full force of hurricane Sandy.

Oh, and another thing that happend was on my journey from Cincinnati to NJ the airport security decided to cut my lock to check out my suitcase (I would have opened it if they had asked!) I wonder what it was they thought was so suspicious?? The only thing disturbed was my bag of souvenirs including a certain object I had bought in an 'adult' shop. It wasn't that big! Nothing like the 14" one I was so tempted to buy..................

Thanks to all my friends for looking after me so well and giving me a terrific holiday (this last pic was in Walnford in NJ) – I just now need a holiday to get over the holiday……………..



  1. Fabulous pics, Jennifer, and a lovely report! I went to the East Coast of the US a few years back and I remember being shocked by the food - the quantities, the amazing variety, the choices you had to make with every dish (this was in the days before Subway got to the UK, so your only choice was brown or white bread, black or white coffee. Being faced by rapidfire demands for pumpernickel, rye, half-and-half, etc was just too much for our poor Brit brains). Americans can certainly do food!

    I want to hear more about the ghost hunt though!

  2. I had a great time Jen! Thanks for visiting! :D

  3. Looks like you had a fab time in the States, Jen, and I'm glad you made it back in one piece!

    Jan x

  4. Thanks for your comments, ladies. I did have a great time.... and am still recovering!