Monday 15 April 2013

Mists, mellow fruitfulness, Massachusetts and more...

Definitely autumn today, with drifts of leaves on the deck, a sudden downpour of real rain and blackbirds flailing about in an ungainly manner on a bush covered with bright red berries. The cat has moved into my bed at night now and, in the absence of sun through the window onto her favourite spot during the day, has relocated to sitting at the left thigh of me the mother, which has the added advantage of placing her ears in the warm blast of air from the laptop fan.
The photo was taken one October in the Berkshires, Massachusetts, where Vs of geese were winging south, their honking surprisingly musical. Most of my trips to the US have been taken at that time of year, when everything's looking mellow, there are pumpkins everywhere, and the trees are - in New England especially, of course - brilliantly coloured in the low sun. It's no penance that the temperatures are cooler and sometimes it's cloudy; it's not as though I'm an English office-worker escaping for my annual holidays to get a blast of sunshine on my pale skin and top up last year's melanomas. Coming from somewhere that has, usually (and spectacularly so this year) reliable summer weather, it's quite liberating not to be reliant on good weather when I travel.
But this year I'm heading back to the States and Canada in June, so - summer! Except that the state this time is Alaska, and it's a cruise beginning right up in Seward, and there'll be glaciers. And in Canada it'll be the Rockies, with more glaciers. Layers: that's what it's going to be all about. Anyone who's ever been on a Silversea cruise has had that drummed into them; and this is going to be another one with them, a glorious compensation for having to turn down the offer of a little flit on the Silver Whisper from Wellington to Auckland earlier this year, because I was going to Gore.
But going to Gore got me offered a second trip to Southland, and the Hump Ridge Track which I've written two stories about today; and other lovely places down there. And I'm going to Wellington on Wednesday anyway, to take the train back, an offer that came about on a trip to Hobbiton, and I've referenced hobbits today. It's so satisfying when everything links together like this!

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