Sunday, 17 April 2011


Yesterday was Postman's Knock arrival day and the postman did knock, at about 9.30 while I was writing a few blog comments.  He had this package for me.

I patiently photographed it before opening and carefully cut the paper not ripping it off, which I usually do. Inside was my second window postcard, this time from Jane
It was 3D and depicted a beautifully draped window - very realistic, with clear cellophane panes looking out at a beautiful garden.  There is no way I can photograph the view without dismantling it, so I am the only one privileged to fully appreciate the work that has gone into this lovely card.

 Clicking on the pictures should give you a close-up view.
It is lovely.

My contribution this time was to the theme "Yee Ha! Ride'em Cowboy" which got me rummaging in the back of the cupboard for the bag of memorabilia I had kept after my epic USA trip in 1977, in which I travelled round the US on the Greyhound buses.  My old bus pass, timetable and a map centred on Colorado formed the main body of the postcard and an old book about cowboys belonging to Mr T provided the buckaroos. As the US is such a large place I wanted to convey this, so made a folding card to get as much map as possible.

I then distressed it as I wanted it to look as if it had been stuffed into a traveller's pocket for a few thousand miles!

The fact that I had kept my bag of memories intrigued a few comment writers on Postman's Knock so here are a few more details.  In 1976 after being in a long relationship and encouraged by an adventurous flatmate I advertised in Time Out magazine for a companion to spend 4 weeks the following summer touring the USA. It was something I really wanted to do with my new freedom, but none of my friends wanted to join me, I certainly didn't want to go it alone, so advertising was the only alternative.  After meeting several prospective travelling companions - male and female (But that's another story) I finally linked up with Cathy, another teacher from London.  I had relatives on Long Island, friends in Santa Cruz, Cal, and my flat mate had met a couple of lads from LA whilst she was camping in France.  We put them up while they toured the UK and I was invited to stay with them.  Cathy and I flew to NY and after a free night (due to a special deal with Thomas Cook) at the Statler Hilton (Telephone Number: PEnnsylvania 6-5000), now renamed Pennsylvania Hilton, we visited Dad's cousin on Long Island. From there we started our 8,000 mile round trip of the states.  I kept a diary as we spent many hours on the buses and the long straight roads made it possible to write while on the move - not usually possible on buses here. (Why didn't I keep a sketch book too? I ask myslef now)

Using the bus timetables it was easy to log our mileage as we went from NY to New Orleans - via Washington DC and Chattanooga (bit of a Genn Miller theme emerged here). Then to Houston - popping over the border to Mexico at Al Paso; then the Grand Canyon; a memorable night in Las Vegas;  Los Angeles and a stay with the lads we'd met; Santa Cruz; San Fransisco; Salt Lake City; Denver and a day trip into the Rockies; Chicago; Niagara and a quick pop into Canada for an hour or so; Boston and then back to NY - are you exhausted?  Think how we felt, as we spent every other night or so sleeping on the bus.  So perhaps you can see why I have kept all this stuff with my diary - and no I don't think it would make a very exciting book, although we did have a few adventures.
I met Cathy once after the trip when we exchanged some photographs, but not since. We got on well at the time, but had little in common apart from the trip. I quite like it that way. Somehow it means I own all of the memories. Shortly after I came back I met the future Mr T, who is not greatly fond of travel, so that was my GREAT ADVENTURE and I am getting plenty of mileage out of it still.