Yes, it was AMAZING. Very quick round up:
1) Cunard transatlantic liner – I thought I’d find it tiresome dressing for dinner since I essentially live in jeans and stress about any kind of clothes; I really enjoyed it. We’d loaf about reading during the day or going to the Planetarium or LINE DANCING (to my eternal shame, I loved line dancing) and then dress up, go for cocktails (there was a harpist or string quartet in either of the bars we went to) and then for dinner. Then often a big band in the evening (me singing (quietly) Chattanooga Choo choo made me very happy) and watch the ballroom dancers or a film or the theatre.... All very civilised. And I didn’t stress about the way I looked (although I wouldn’t let P buy official photos as they were so awful of me) but really just enjoyed it.
2) San Francisco – again I loved it. It’s so much nicer and friendlier and prettier than Noo York. It does clearly have a bad homeless problem but generally it’s just a lovely city. We went to a couple of lovely places to eat (Boudin, Tony’s and Colibri especially)and one dire Chinese and a hilarious pitch black ‘secret’ prohibition themed bar where we drank ridiculously strong cocktails to 40s music (thanks Dizzy Girl!). Our hotel was central and friendly. We did a movie themed tour of the city and went to Alcatraz and otherwise just walked about or got trams! Again, P stopped me singing the Trolley song – I bet Judy Garland was quaking in her grave. And I have never seen so many Starbucks EVER. Not an endorsement - I prefer independents but it was a really obvious feature of the city.
3) Sonoma – we loved it. We did a wine tour which has given me a lot to think about and went to an amazing restaurant (Girl and the Fig) that was our best meal of the holiday. It was a really laid back, happy place and we’d like to go back. We also went to possibly the most beautiful winery ever and an amazing deep south style diner.
4) Lake Tahoe – Beautiful place with a lot more there than we had time to do. We did a long boat trip to really enjoy the dramatic colours of the lake - emerald, violet and teal. And we had an hilariously and enthusiastically themed cowboy room - even the loo roll holder was a spurred boot and the curtains were denim, held back with scarlet bandanas. Most other things featured cowboy hats, boots (even the vase was a pair of boots) or horseshoes. We had 'Howdy' spelt out in barbed wire above the bed!
5) Yosemite – again, very beautiful and HOT. We did some hiking which was very tough at 8,000-9,000 feet as you just can’t get enough oxygen into your lungs. And my hands and wrists massively swelled up. I wouldn’t go back just because it’s a really long drive to get anywhere but I’m glad we went. Although to my sorrow, we never did see a bear.
6) Big Sur – beautiful coastal scenery (think Cornwall at its best on a BIG scale) and bonkers Hearst Castle. We had a cabin (shed) in the woods with a fire pit that sent P into frenzies of adolescent pyromania and ate at the v posh Nepenthe where we watched agog the table next to us “interact” by taking it in turns to make a short presentation, a eulogy for the girl whose birthday it was and to explain their choice of gift. The waiter and P exchanged much eye-rolling and the waiter explained that everyone from Silicon Valley was like that.
The flight home with BA was horrendous – I’ve flown with them twice in the past 6 months and both flights have been my worst two ever. It’s embarrassing that this is our national airline. Other than getting that hell over, it’s very sad to be back. We’re choosing our next holiday as a way of fending off the post-holiday blues and fancy Virginia next year – anyone been there or know it? It has a national park, vineyards and history – sounds like a winner.
I must say, I’m fed up with our horrid wet, cold summers (which are predicted to be the norm) and quite fancy emigrating to the US. Not sure that’s terribly easy though. I’d certainly love to work in the wine industry there (although not necessarily in California – I’d rather live in New England. Where I strongly suspect there are no vineyards, sigh.).
I am sure I put on weight although I did not go mad and the portions were not as crazy as New England. On the boat it was possible to eat well but moderately as the portions were quite small – which suited me. And you can always have more if you want to. I think I only had pancakes for breakfast 4 times in 3 weeks which I think was very restrained! I did eat quite a lot more carbs than usual though – mostly bread.
So, back to a concentrated effort at dieting. My plan is to do ideally 3 starve days a week (occasionally 2), the other week days will be low carb with small portions of healthy food and the weekends will allow for some wine and a little carbiness. I don’t think I’ll be weighing any time soon since it seems to plunge me into an abyss of misery and despair; I will just do this and see how my clothes feel. By which I mean I hope that they will get looser! I have a whole wardrobe of clothes that are too small for me which I’d really like to be wearing. And I have to lose some weight to get into my winter coat comfortably before winter starts. Which I hear will be the weekend so is possibly a bit ambitious.
I had a largely successful starve day yesterday (first day back at work) which wasn’t as painful as I’d feared and tomorrow will be a starve day too. Then the weekend at last which looks a bit dull – personally as well as weather-wise. Hmm, time to check out that emigration dream!