The nicest thing happened to me today, Monday.
I had wanted to buy a particular CD player by Sony that I knew was good, to play my Open University Audio discs on whilst sitting at the keyboard at the same time as listening to Aural exercises. Suffice it to say that that was a lot easier than sitting beside my computer or music centre.
I found what I wanted on Amazon.com and since I am in the US decided to order it to be delivered here, in Santa Rosa. (We’re now back by the way, more of which, anon). It was sold ‘used’ so I put in an e-mail request to the seller, mentioning my departure date and asking how quickly he could send it. He replied very quickly that it would take about 3-5 working days and he would post it at once if I ordered it. So last Friday afternoon I went ahead and put in the order.
My friends sucked in their breath a little thinking that it would be touch and go to be here in time. But I found that the seller sent me another e-mail after I ordered the player and said that he had posted it on Saturday and spent a few extra bucks and sent it Priority so that it would come in time. Isn’t that kind, and thoughtful? And I had not paid extra for the extra carriage rates. And it came this morning! All just as advertised and working well. What a lovely thing to happen just before I leave and what a happy memory to take home with me. I think he should be paid commission by the Tourist Board. And the fantastic seller’s name? theboardgameguy.
So if any of you out there come across this seller on Amazon.com or elsewhere, go for it. He is pure gold.
Clearly we made the return journey OK on Sunday: the car was packed like a surgical wound, suitcases abandoned by my friends who packed their stuff loose around my cases, or left stuff behind to collect in a couple of months. It was tight! Little room for things to fly around in any potential accident, all packed in far too securely. We decided that we would stop as often as needed to transfer stiff legs around the car, change drivers, sit in new positions etc. and it was snug, but the car is an elderly Infinity with leather seats and comfortable ride, and home we got, albeit with some difficulty getting out of the car on arrival. Various limbs had set in place and we were reminded of ‘frozen butt’ syndrome common amongst bikers.
Huge amounts of traffic for early on a Sunday morning: it stayed with us all the way up to where we joined I 5 but soon turned off heading for an Amusement Park.
The air quality began to deteriorate as soon as we began to head due West on I 10 after Palm Springs. It was shocking by San Bernardino and no visibility at all over to the sprawling LA area. It only began to clear as we started to climb the pass between the Los Padres and Angeles Mountains: quite clear over the top but as soon as we descended to Tejon we met it again. We kept passing large birds of prey but I could never get a long enough view to ascertain sufficient detail for recognition. However as we went through the pass we saw a wondrous site: wild flowers in profusion. Poppies of various colours and blue lupins. At least ten cars had turned off and come back to find somewhere to stop to take photos but we were anxious to get on with such a long journey ahead of us. Today friends rather wish we had taken the time to stop for photos, since they had never seen the like before, and rather feel they may never see it again. However I took several photos out of the car window as we sped by and I’m afraid I am going to bore you with a selection here. But oh, to stop, a tripod and a long lens. What results in that case.
The rest of the journey was eneventful: we stopped for lunch at a Rest Stop, which I gather is the Californian equivalent of Services on the M1 or A1 etc. at home, but with a difference. Drinking water stop taps for filling water containers and watering pets:
‘special’ loo area for pets: special loo areas for human: drinks and snacks machines: parking. But all set in a grassy area with trees and surrounded by open country and hills. Just a bit different from what I am used to, take a look:-
Orchards of mandarins hanging on the trees!! So exotic to my eyes.
At one stage we passed two vintage cars and I tried to take their photos but failed. However I include the fragment here because I know at least one blog reader who will be both interested and able to work out what species they were.
Later on we began passing clouds and clouds of wild fennel growing by the road sides, with bright green feathery foliage and heads of bright sulphur yellow.
The gradual return to the North of California showed up by the increasing greenness of everything and the profusion of trees: we began passing Walnut orchards which I did not notice on the way down and have not seen before either.
Although my friend was sad to return to the wetter, cooler climate of Santa Rosa, I found it just as lovely as before, only different. But perhaps I just like change: coming from the UK our climate is always changeable. Anyway, the sun was shining brightly and exuberant vegetation was gorgeous. I think they have it just right, winter in the desert, summer in Santa Rosa. It is just the ten hour drive that makes it tedious for them.
Thinking ahead to the end of the week and my further traveling I gather that BA, and in fact most of Europe is shut down for the moment following the volcanic eruption in Iceland. Is no journey to be incident or trouble free this trip? I’ve looked on the website and all they say is that due to this grounding of aircraft there is to be no online check-in until further notice. Oh well. Paciencia as the mother of a friend has always said. So far things have worked out in the end.