California - 26th July 2010
At last - the day had arrived for the start of the whole purpose of this trip, to meet up again with Kristin and to find out what sort of further friendship might evolve. I'm writing these next few pages some time later - as what could and should be written, if anything, was unknown at the time.
Kristin had arrived back from the beer festival the night before, and had let me know I'd be welcome any time after 2pm. I can't now remember what I did that morning - but I can remember feeling a strange mixture of calmness and excitement.
Off I duly set, and as I neared Kristin's house I wondered how the greeting would go - reserved or more unrestrained - and I was immediately relieved to share huge hugs, smiles and barely controllable grins.
Kristin's good friend Stacey had provided an excellent air mattress for the spare room, where I dumped my stuff - Kristin was amazed that I could contemplate three weeks away with just what could have been a carry-on bag onto an airplane and a small scooter bag. Yes, I've learned to travel light, I had enough 'things' for a week, but ARRGH! I'd left all my clean clothes at cousin Pauline's. Never mind, I had three days worth of 'used' stuff, so that went in the washer, we'd pick up the other gear later on sometime.
Some food (and booze) shopping had to be done, so off to Walnut Creek for lunch. Yes, the IPA would be good, yes, a pitcher please - which turned out to be about 4 pints (UK) between us, though there's no way of knowing as glasses tend not to marked. Burgered up, it was Trader Joe's for food - enough to keep us going for a little while - and then BevMo! for beer.
Now those who know me know I like my beer, and those who know Kristin know she does too - but coming from slightly different directions as to flavouring and temperature. Whatever, there was an excellent choice, and I vowed to try as many as possible while I was there. Best bottles to be taken back (empty) for Rae at the Masons Arms in Teddington.
Note to self for the future - Trader Joe's is the best value for single malts, beating BevMo! into a cocked hat. Surprisingly, after the first couple of nights, I drank no more whisky for nearly two weeks, and didn't miss it one bit.
Back home, and we planted ourselves out on the patio. The late-ish generous lunch sufficed for the whole day, but the beer needed attention, and we jawed for hours.
Kristin had organised three days off from work starting the day after next, to firstly stay with her sister Holly, and then with an esteemed mutual friend of ours Gay-Ann, who we met on the Italy trip. What routes? Decide tomorrow. ;)
Rather late to bed, and I at least slept very soundly, at peace.
No pictures today, far too much to concentrate on!
© Jim Crowther and Kristin Gallagher 2010