We really enjoyed our stay in Martha’s Vineyard.  Apart from being bombed by giant acorns (had the tree cottoned on to the fact that we built our library shelving from white American oak?) it was altogether a delightful experience all round.

We met so many interesting people there, including John, who was really friendly and full of good ideas of where we could travel next.

1 John at Marthas

He used to live on the Vineyard, but had to move out to raise and educate his daughter, but he really wants to move back.  He used to be a lighting engineer and worked with such greats as Van Halen and then Carly Simon in the famous Hot Tin Roof Club on the island. He also had a workshop where he restored fine old cars and , despite being very rude about the electrics on British cars said that his best ever car was a lovely old Rolls Royce.

3 Leaving Marthas

We got to the ferry way too early (again), but they were much busier so we had to hang around until the actual 1.30 sailing. 

4 Leaving Marthas 2

5 Leaving Martha's 3

6 Leaving Martha's 4

We drove back north to Clinton, a small town to the north-west of Boston, where an old school friend had offered to put us up.  This was tremendously kind, as I hadn’t seen him for about forty years and had only got back in touch via Friends Reunited some years back.  This visit had first been suggested about three years ago, and we were finally going to meet Mike again together with his wife Sally.  The visit was a tad complicated by the fact that Mike’s father back in the UK needed some help, so they were going to be away for the night that we arrived.  They very kindly arranged for us to get in their house, providing everything possible to make us feel welcome and comfortable.

We felt that the least we could do was to cook them a meal when they got back the following evening and we had a great time finding out about their lives over the last forty years and hearing about their lovely family.  Tim said that it felt like we had been friends for years.  Mike started out as an apprentice in the print industry back in the 70s and has since made a very successful life for himself in the computer industry, travelling all over the world and working in some truly fascinating companies, including his own.  He met Sally when working in South Africa and, as it was almost love at first sight, they married and have since lived all over the place.  Sally is a true powerhouse of energy and enthusiasm and is currently holding down two jobs in education administration at a pretty high level, trying to find a successor to take over one of them and to sort out a new computer system for which her predecessor has left no notes.  They both volunteer for the church, have helped teach things as diverse as skiing and motorcycle riding, are involved in the prison chaplaincy and Mike is currently studying for his doctorate in Theology.  Phew, they must have more hours in the day than us, but on top of all that they gave us a great time.

We managed to catch the eclipse of the supermoon

6 Supermoon eclipse

and I am starting to get the hang of this night photography malarkey.

7 next star picture

I confess I was suffering from tripod envy while we were photographing the moon, as mine was so small I was kneeling down on the ground, while Mike was standing up, looking way more comfortable and effective.  (He didn’t actually say that his was bigger than mine, as he is way too nice)  I was, however, pleased with my results.

On Monday we caught the train into the centre of Boston and were much taken with the place.  There is a red brick line, called the Freedom Trail that weaves its way through the pavements of the historical heart of the city and you get to see many of the buildings that are important from the beginning of the American Revolution. 

10 Boston 2

11 Boston 3

They are lovely places in their own right, although some are very oddly situated amongst the modern sky scrapers.

14 Boston 4

This pair of statues told an interesting Irish tale.

15 Boston 4

17 Boston 6

And I found this memorial (consisting of hundreds of dog tags) very moving.

16 Boston Memorial

We stopped to watch a group of New York street dancers who were very talented , slick and highly amusing.

34 dancer

There was a fair amount of tat there as well

12 Boston tat

although I am not sure why you would want a nurse mermaid on your Christmas tree…..

After finding a pub called

2 Nelly's

with no food worth mentioning, despite this sign

35

we had a nice lunch at the Green Dragon pub (one of those places where the pesky rebels did their plotting) (oops, no, where the brave freedom fighters put one over on the nasty English).

16 Green Dragon

On Tuesday, in between trying to book in on-line with British Airways, as per their email request and meeting a permanent ‘No you can’t’ message (I suspect that if I were to pay the £140 to upgrade, I would have no trouble at all) we went out to see the Fruitlands Museum, where Louisa May Alcott grew up, but, weirdly, it shuts on a Tuesday.  The views nearby were worth the drive

21 Cool building

37

and then we found a lovely little nature reserve and strolled around, enjoying the trees, a good variety of wildlife ( we saw woodpeckers, kingfishers, a heron, frogs, toads, some great fungi and just maybe a beaver) despite the cacophony of gunfire from a local army base.  

33 walk

22 bird

23 toad

Mike then treated us to a tour of the area, ending up at a beautiful reservoir and another nature reserve. 

40

42

25 reservoir

It is a lovely area and the trees are just about turning, just waiting for us to return to the UK before they display their full glory and then drop.  Meh!

During the day I managed to Skype both my mother and another old school friend, Rodi, who I had also not seen for 40 years.  It is strange how easy it is to talk to someone you haven’t seen for so long.

On Wednesday we had an earlyish flight from Boston Logan Airport so Mike very kindly got up at 4 30 to drive us there.  The weather had broken and the rain was hammering down all through the hour or so that it took to navigate through the surprisingly heavy traffic.  The flight home was fine, the taxi driver was waiting and we were back in our own home by 10pm that evening.

I think Tim can say that his 60th has been well and truly celebrated, having had a couple more meals out, including a lovely family get together at our favourite restaurant, Cassons and a fabulous five course meal cooked by his sister.

Heaven in a glass

Heaven in a glass

Picnic in the park

Picnic in the park

31 pub

Out with the bikes

It’s been lovely to catch up with family and friends, but not so great doing the whole dentist, optician, hairdresser thing.  Two weeks have been barely long enough to fit everything in, but we are ready to fly back to Boston to reunite with Camel and start the next part of our journey.

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