Sunday 1 March 2020

The opposite of codswallop

In the ongoing absence of any actual travel - I would have been gearing up this week for a flit to San Fran, but that's not happening now - I will have to resort to what is, after all, the ostensible function of this blog. That is, to demonstrate how the places you've been to become part of your personal history and knowledge, and pop up constantly, if you're paying attention. Today's example is this little house I pass every Sunday morning on my ritual walk to the dairy for the paper and a coffee to drink on the bench overlooking a lovely sandy beach.
The house is cute and pretty, and has a gorgeous view, and makes me think, every time, of the houses I saw on Cape Cod in 2006 - so long ago now, but the memory is still vivid. So were many of the houses, physically, painted in bright colours, but lots too sported weathered grey shingles like the one here on Waiheke. It was a lovely trip, done several years before this blog began - it was part of a Massachusetts junket that included, of course, the gorgeous Boston, but also an inland exploration of the Berkshires in all their autumn glory. Maybe I'll write about that another time - you'll never guess the nightly reminder I get of one of the places we stayed there.
Cape Cod: we flew in a little Cessna to Provincetown at the tip and drove south to what the locals, confusingly, call the upper cape, where it joins the mainland. We were immediately entranced by the pretty houses, the turrets, the striped lighthouses, dinghies pulled up on sandy beaches, windmills, lobster restaurants, salt-water taffy shops, fishing boats... it was, I thought, like Disneyland, with taste. It was an easy and beautiful drive, with lots of stops for photos and drooling, and no hassles at all - apart from the anxiety of negotiating the Orleans Rotary. That's a roundabout, fellow Kiwi readers: a road feature so uncommon in the US that this one had a name. You'd think using it would be second nature for us, from a country that's full of them. It's quite a different story, though, going round one the wrong way - very disconcerting, and unnerving.
We could have spent ages exploring the Cape and I quite understand its popularity as a domestic holiday destination (though I was glad we were there in October and not summer). But of course, this was a famil, and I had a time-tabled itinerary to keep to so, as usual, we flitted past it all, heading for Nantucket. That, too, can keep for another post. But rest assured: about Cape Cod, Wallace Seder was absolutely right:

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