16 Oct

West Sussex Again

The weather forecast for Dallas was for rain. On Sunday there were wisps of cloud around in contrast with the perfect blue dome the previous Wednesday. I can’t rate Dallas/Fort Worth airport very highly; my pre-flight wait was pretty boring. After arriving in good time at Detroit our plane had to wait twenty minutes for someone to find the illuminated wands a ground staff person uses to guide the plane to the gate. Then there was no one to drive the air bridge from which we deplaned. All in all not very impressive. Unusually, the rail journey to Worthing was fast because the train had a fault, making it 19 minutes late out of Gatwick, so the slow stops along the coast were cut out so it could get back into step with the planned timetable. Is this a boring post? Not as boring as modern international travel; airport taxes on this journey from London to Dallas were higher than the cost of the ticket itself. And we all know why that is. Who is winning what war, I ask? Outside our home are a fir, an oak, a silver birch and a sycamore (E&OE). The gutters are deep in rich brown leaves. Autumn is here.

16 October, 2008

12 Oct

Target Not Reached

I never made it to the Target store. While in transit from the hotel to the meeting place the van crossed the bridge over the seemingly impossible junction. There is a pedestrian walk way over the bridge, so it is theoretically possible to go to Target on foot. Instead I was taken to the Apple computer store in Plano, where I bought some software for the Apple computer I plan to buy soon. While fully appreciating the discipline necessary to run a company’s IT, I get fed up with Microsoft’s bloated software and storage needs. Currently my Outlook 2007 at home takes a couple of minutes to open up its files and nearly as long to shift an email from one file to another. Don’t ask why I do that; I know my cyber-life could be simpler. With an Apple it may be complicated, but it will look nice. Apple has great visual impact; by my keyboard is the business card of Todd, the young man who helped me earlier. It is clean and classy. Unlike the floor of the eating place this evening, which is strewn with empty peanut shells. See my earlier post. While we waited for an empty table, pigeons and some black birds waited for any peanuts that might come their way. As the sun went down, hundreds of birds started gathering on the high voltage electricity cables on the far side of the highway, beyond which lies Target. It looked like it could turn into a Hitchcock event if those HT birds decided to really get more peanuts. My steak was delicious.

12 October, 2008

09 Oct

As a Walker in Texas

Walking is a minority activity here. Yesterday I saw only four other walkers. One was not really walking, just standing in the middle of a road turning, dressed as Father Christmas alongside a resurrected Elvis in white cat suit. They were jiggling sign boards around in the hope drivers would turn in to see the pre-Christmas sale of apartments, standing back a quarter mile from the main road. Most of the time I used side walks (pavements in UK, but here the pavement is the roadway–important to know that) but sometimes they just ended either side of some green space. At junctions with bigger roads there are pedestrian signals with a time span favourable to quick reactors and the nimble of foot. At access points to parking lots I have found drivers invariably courteous, holding well back so I could walk on. I did see one man leaning over to peer at me as he turned right ahead of me. So, are the drivers holding back for my safety or theirs? Solitary walker, huh? What do I make of him?

9 October, 2008

09 Oct

Texas and Large

Texans’ reputation (in British humour) is that everything in Texas is bigger than anywhere else. I walked down for supper to Logan’s Roadhouse, the nearest one to the hotel. It was fine, with crackly floors. Each table has a galvanized bucket of unshelled peanuts where Brits might expect bread. Emptied shells are dropped on the floor. I saw no spittoons. As a Brit, I find the portions huge and there are no other vegetables than potato. I had potato soup to start, nice with cheese and bacon. Then thin slices of beef on Texan toast, which was really just white bread toast, next to a heap of mashed potato cradling thick brown gravy in a dip. Not a solitary veg; nothing green, orange, red or yellow. Except in the mini dessert of cheesecake, served in a miniature galvanised bucket, the kid brother of the peanut holder. Apart from dessert the portions are huge, no wonder so many people there were overweight. A South African Feba colleague once joked that when beef is on the BBQ his vegetables are pork. In India I learned: After lunch rest a while, after dinner walk a mile. Which I did, stalking out the Target store for the weekend.

9 October, 2008