Greg's Occasional News & Views

2 December 2018

Well, that was fun. We’re back in the UK following a very successful Thanksgiving excursion to visit family in the States and “yes”, we ate far too much (or at least I did).

We had a smooth ride out to Boston and then, following a two and a half hour coach journey, we arrived in New Hampshire to be collected by my brother Steph. The weather was “brisk” shall we say with a smattering of snow on the ground. Little did we know what was coming!

Ben, Brex-Anna and Max the Magnificent flew out from Los Angeles and joined us on the Monday evening. It was great to see them all and wonderful to see that Max is clearly thriving following his too-early start in life. He is solid with a healthy appetite – clearly he gets that from his British grandfather.

On Tuesday morning we awoke to find that the snow on the ground had been joined by a significant amount of additional snow which had descended from the skies – and it continued to snow for much of the day. Thankfully, the folks who live in New England are used to a few snowfalls during the winter and, in contrast to those of us in the UK, everything carries on as normal. The roads get ploughed and salted and everything is fine. Nick flew out on the Wednesday and dodged (most of) the snow flurries which accompanied him on the drive up from Boston.

Then, just for an amusing little treat, the weather decided to turn from “brisk” or “fresh” or even plain, old cold to “F***ing Freezing”! The temperature had been hovering just about freezing so on Wednesday night it decided to show us what fun a New Hampshire winter can be. It dropped to – 16 degrees Celsius (just over 3 degrees Fahrenheit for those of you still using old money). OMG was it cold! That didn’t stop us from enjoying a couple of saunas while we were there although this time there were no plunges into the rapidly freezing Mascoma River, just a bit of a roll around in the snow. It’s astonishing how cold one’s feet and bottom can get with just a few moments exposure to some fluffy snow.

Visiting with my mother was wonderful and she continues to do very well at the Kendal Finishing School in Hanover. She was delighted to meet her twelfth great-grandchild and Max was pleased to meet her. She braved the cold and freezing conditions to come out to my brother’s home for Thanksgiving Day and we all had a great time.

Brother Sandy and his wife Pam came across from Castleton with their granddaughter Azalea boosting the numbers for Thanksgiving dinner to 13 (albeit, one of those was Max who thankfully didn’t eat too much). I needn’t have worried, however. The various chefs responsible for producing this magnificent offering had catered for about 40 so no one went hungry.

The turkey was huge, the various stuffings numerous and delicious, the creamed onions (one of my favourite sides for Thanksgiving) were very tasty, the mashed potatoes were flawlessly prepared and even the green beans were perfectly sliced (that was almost my only contribution to the preparations). There was a magnificent mushroom torte for those who prefer not to eat meat and I could go on but you get the general drift. Just to ensure that there was no danger of our under-indulging, there were eight pies for the 13 of us and Azalea had brought a dozen beautifully decorated cupcakes from the bakery in Castleton. Oh my goodness!

We hoovered the dinner up in about ten minutes and afterwards there was a choice of entertainments. There was American football on the television and Azalea had also brought various card games so the afternoon was spent either vegetating on a sofa (me) or playing Go Fish, Old Maid or Crazy Eights. A splendid, splendid Thanksgiving Day.

A few days later we were on our flight back to the UK which again was smooth (apart from a few very disconcerting pockets of turbulence in the middle) and comfortable. As an aside, we did experience a significant difference between the immigration procedures of the US and the UK. We were in the queues getting through customs in Boston for almost an hour (and that’s with both Penny and me going through the “fast” channel as a US passport holder in my case and a returning ESTA visitor in Penny’s); we were in the queues getting back into the UK for about five minutes. Quelle differénce.

Love to you all,

Greg

 

 

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