Friday, 25 July 2014

Yee Haw

Back this week from the first part of our summer holidays, well back on Sunday but it has been so hot and I have been so knackered, I haven't blogged. I have turned the computer on, felt drained and turned it off again. Our holidays tend to be either  city breaks or road trips, this was both - Atlanta, Savannah, Charleston and Nashville, all in a week. As I travelled round I thought about what I was going to write, but the sad circumstances of the last week with the two plane disasters have somewhat tempered the humour of it. The plane sat on the tarmac at Aldergrove for 2 hours because the exit sign light wasn't working. I had thought, that in a disaster there would be no opportunity to use the exit doors anyway, and as we sat in our hotel watching the Malaysian air disaster unfold, I was right. Anyhow, we arrived in Atlanta and then began the sprint across Newark to change terminals, I have to report that although I have lost a stone in weight, I am not noticeably faster. We just got to the gate as the chap shut the doors and Alan called on him to wait, everybody burst out laughing, the flight hadn't yet boarded. We were in time but unfortunately our cases weren't. Lets just say, I am getting a little long in the tooth for sleeping as nature intended! We didn't see much of Atlanta, being just there for one night. All I can say is, it seemed very stylish and our hotel seemed to be central casting for Housewives of Atlanta City, very well heeled.

Next stop was Savannah. Loved Savannah. Have you read Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt? I have read it 3 times now, and find new bits every time I read it. The novel is the story of the gothic Savannah and its characters, incredibly atmospheric. The genteel southern ways, the big houses, the oak trees with the dripping Spanish moss - just gorgeous. We had some lovely meals, in particular in The Old Pink House, and the lovely waiter showed us around and told us the history and ghost stories. Very spooky. ~ Savannah is supposed to be the most haunted city in the USA, and you can understand why.

do you see the moss hanging from the trees?

From there we drove to Charleston. The Tea Shop books by Laura Childs are set here. These are a much lighter read than the John Berendt novel, but Theodosia and her tea shops just sum up Charleston. A waitress in Savannah told us Charleston  was Savannah's older snooty sister. That just sums it up perfectly. Savannah is much more the party city, Charleston is very refined, lots of art galleries, churches, more beautiful buildings and equally enjoyable. ~ Again lots of that Southern charm and hospitality. The "posh" restaurant in our hotel were only too happy to make our daughter chicken and chips, when she felt unwell.
Whilst there we went to the Slave Market Museum. This is a small museum, mostly boards to read, but very, very interesting and  we left deep in thought

En route we went into a plantation, Middleton place. From an historical point of view the plantation was interesting and gardens beautiful. They are listed in my book of 100 Gardens You Must See Before You Die;_ylt=A9mSs2..vtJTECMAorlLBQx.;_ylc=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-?gprid=5e_.aym5QAmD3BHC8rOd2A&pvid=fuoD6zIxMi7_BsczUv.AKxJAODYuMVPSvr7_vGCI&p=1000+gardens+to+see+before+you+die+&fr2=sa-gp&fr=linkury-tb&type=hp18000 Needless to say I can't die yet, I haven't seen my quota of gardens yet.

The Southern folks have a lovely way with them. Our Savannah hotel had a bar which turned into a nightclub, and we sneaked in whilst it was a bar. I guess all the people over 40 had sneaked in earlier like us. Well, there were 3 different hen parties going on. In Europe these hen parties would be drunk, brash and loud, to make a rather broad generalisation. In Savannah, they genteely sipped their drinks and flirted gently with the over guys aged over 40 who had accidently sneaked in earlier. A little chat, a photo then another little drink. All very civilised. Something I did notice was the importance of being in your tribe, one group had tiaras, one group had fluorescent rings and another light up necklaces. Then I thought I was overthinking it and had another glass of wine.

I love America, or most of it, I love the way everybody feels they can succeed in life, they just need the opportunity. Everybody in Hollywood is an actor, everybody in Nashville is a musician. I chatted with the elderly cleaner in our hotel in Nashville and she told me how she loved James Galway from Belfast (the flautist) and how she had been a flute major in high school. Nashville is brilliant, good clean fun, only I am not sure how much drinking beer and listening to country music is good clean fun. Basically there is one main street, Broadway, and the pubs all operate an open house policy, provided you can show the bouncers you are over 21. I love it when they ask me if I am over 21. You start off on one side of the street, drink a beer by the neck, listen to the band, throw a dollar in the bucket and move on to the next bar. When you have covered one side of the street, it is simple, you cross the road and do the other side. I have never thought of ourselves as being country music lovers, the whole Garth Brookes thing has passed me by. I do love country in Nashville, all sorts of country, blue grass, electric, country rock, there is something for everybody. Great fun. And I am a cheap date. I drink an inch off the top of my bottle, pass it on to husband or son, move on to next bar, drink an inch off the top of my bottle, repeat. There is only so much beer I can drink (and still function the next morning). Don't ever go to Nashville to shop, cowboy hats, check shirts and that's about it, apart from statues of Elvis, and we went to Memphis last time. There are however lots of interesting museums, this time we went to the Johnny Cash museum and the Song Writers Hall of Fame .

hillbilly band at the Blue Grass Inn, Nashville
I didn't buy a hat this time, I still have my hat from last time, and another hat from the Stampede in Calgary, Canada (another great holiday) and there is a limit to how many cowboy hats a girl can have. I have however included a photo stolen from my facebook page of me practising before we went, but with wine instead of beer.

One regret though, I buy a Christmas decoration whenever I go somewhere new. I got a little street scene in Charleston and a banjo in Nashville, but not Savannah. So, if you happen to be passing by Savannah and see some Christmas decorations, remember me. I will think of you every time I look at my Christmas tree.

(very soon I will work out how to do a proper link, "here" instead of the big cumbersome links I can only do at the minute).(I will also work out how to save photos and send them from one thing to another, my windows surface is refusing to co operate with me, first my hotmail, then g mail and now facebook have gone "weird" so back to the old laptop)



  1. Sounds like you had fun Helen! :)

  2. What a fantastic trip - I feel like I have travelled along with you!

  3. Look at that last stylish pic! :-) I'm going to grab some wine right away too.

  4. what an interesting and varied the hat!


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