So we are in Washington, in March, and the first thing to observe here is that it rains, and it rains and then it rains some more. Apparently Washington is famous for it, or infamous, I don’t know which. Back in the UK I am sure there would be weather warnings and flood alerts by now. But we were not to be deterred.
People, Dogs and Llamas
We decided to ring the local Whatcom County office to ask for advice on local trails we could wonder. We were recommended a trail just off Chuckanut Drive, slightly north of Bellingham and were given a zip code to help us find it. So we put the zip code into our satnav, and let the annoying, and I believe to be moody female voice lead us the way. About half an hour later the sat nav voice (I have named Lorise) told us we had “arrived at your destination on the left.”
We hadn’t, Lorise was wrong. Firstly as we pulled onto a small track going uphill we were faced-off by a herd of llamas. This, I had not expected. Then suddenly a snarling, barking, vicious dog came running over to our car, then another, and then another. Now I’m no dog whisperer, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t want us to be there. The foaming mouths and big teeth indicated this. We then saw the owner stood by a trailer about 50 meters away, seemingly not concerned by the situation before him.
Well, I have heard about American residents’ penchant for ‘packing heat.’ I decided to turn and go forthwith. As I put the car into reverse I then looked over to Sacha, who had the window down and was photographing llamas, apparently unaware of the big doggies….’mental’ I thought.
We did find a track to walk further down the road, but it was wet and we did not go far before turning back. Besides there were crazy people with dogs about and…erm…llamas.
Sacha’s Golden Homies
Well this story starts back last Christmas when my mother gave Sacha the gift of knitting needles and some balls of wool. Sacha, instead of suggesting that my mother may have confused her gift with my Grans gift, in fact looked excited, if not a bit ecstatic about what was to be her new hobby.
So for the next couple of months when we visited my parents’ house, she would sit on the Living Room couch with my mother learning to knit. As I watched TV it did feel as if I was sat in a retirement home. Worrying still, was the deranged expression on Sacha’s face as she knitted. Cross eyed, non blinking, she would knit holding her new project half a foot away from her face. She looked like she had found her drug of choice and my mother was the dealer,…I just hope they were not sharing needles.
The problem Sacha has however, is that if she makes a mistake she needs my mother to rectify it before she continues. Well to continue for this arrangement to work now, a transatlantic journey would need to be undertaken every other day. This is unfortunately, not practical.
So one evening in Washington we were playing pool in the Club House, when some old ladies started to trickle in. We said “hello” and in very stereotyped old American lady voices, told us that “Happy Hour” was about to begin.
Apart from one who was enjoying a white wine, it was probably more like “camomile tea hour”. They also told us that Tuesday was their weekly coffee morning at 10am. Well we smiled politely and said “we would try our best to make it” as if we were giving it a real consideration. Well thats what I thought anyhow. No, Sacha had spotted an opportunity to get to know some likely knitters or knitterers or whatever the plural is, who would be able to fix her dropped stitches. This addiction has a powerful grip.
So Tuesday came and I was rudely awoken, very early I will add, and dragged to the Club House. What followed was cringeworthy at best. As I practiced playing pool Sacha knitted, then a few minutes later the first of the elderly residents made their way in. Well Sacha looked up as if surprised by the sudden activity of old ladies and exclaimed “oh of course, it is coffee time I forgot, I just came here to knit where it is quiet.”
Well for the next hour or so we sat around a table drinking coffee, eating delightfully sugary homemade cakes (all made with green food dye for upcoming St Patrick’s day) and playing a word game, which not everybody seemed to fully understand, myself included. In the end I left Sacha to mingle while I went to play some pool and where I was challenged for a game by Bert, who is clearly a man past the age of retirement. Bert seemed nice, if not slightly hard of hearing. I warned him we might have slightly different rules to each other, but I would ceed to his greater knowledge and play his rules.
We certainly did play with different rules. I had assumed he understood that I would play his American, or even local Lynden rules of pool. Not ‘Bert has to win by any old means’ rules which he seemed to excel with.
So I potted my first ball and before I could walk around the table for my next shot, Bert reached into the pocket and put the ball back on the table. I looked at him bemused, but he didn’t even make eye contact. OK I thought, maybe this happens over here I will go with it. So I potted another ball and Bert duly placed it back onto the table. When I missed the next ball Bert proceeded to pot one ball after the next, non of which he felt the need to place back on the table. It seems Bert may have retired from work but not from hustling the younger generations.
When we made our way back to our house, Sacha told me she had made some knitting connections to help her with her new scarf, and I.. well I just felt stitched up.